How Do You Cope With The Tough Times? #SelfHelp

How do you cope with the tough timesWe all experience tough times at certain points on our life journey. This may be due to health issues, financial problems, grief, pain, or loss. However, it’s how we deal with them that defines us.
Too many people disappear into victim mode when presented with a challenge. Whereas others find an inner strength that helps them forge through the anguish and hopefully come through these tough times with more wisdom, clarity, and vigour than ever before. Through my books and blog, I hope to share with people all my tough times – the gritty side of life – and then show my readers how I was able to emerge from the pain as a better version of myself.
I’ve changed so much over the past few years. My attitude, desires, fears and even my voice have altered beyond recognition. Instead of mourning the loss of the old me, I’m trying to embrace who I’ve evolved into and continue to learn how to live in this new shell.
To travel through the tough times, you must embrace whatever it is you’ve been through. It’s part of who you are. I saw a glimpse of the new me while sitting on the edge of a rock as my legs dangled over the sheer drop at Devil’s Den Yellow Rock Trail in Arkansas. That single moment in time has become a tool to help me on my road to recovery and self-discovery.

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Devil’s Den, Arkansas

I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled a fair bit over the summer months. With this ‘down time’ comes the inevitable hours on a sunbed, swimming in the sea, or staring into space over a café con leche when your mind wanders, your thoughts swirl, and you contemplate the meaning of life.
No, I haven’t discovered the meaning of life so don’t get too excited. What I have found is a burning desire to be free. Free of routine. Free of the voices in my head. Free of the overwhelming ‘stuff’ that swamps me on a daily basis. I’ve ‘done it all alone’ for so long that it’s finally worn me out.
On my recent trip to America, my aunt asked me how I could take that ‘I feel like my old self again’ feeling and recreate it once we got back home. I didn’t know the answer to that question and still don’t, but I’m doing my best to work it out.
I sat at my computer yesterday and began typing. Not for any work in progress I have in the pipeline, not for a blog post, nor an interview, but just random thoughts, likes, and feelings. I surprised myself with what I’d written because it was a mission statement for a brave new world. There were glimmers of hope that I haven’t utterly forsaken my self-care, even though I feel like it at the moment. Travelling was a huge part of this new dream, not necessarily overseas, but actually exploring this beautiful island we call home and embracing nature, walking, and the outdoorsy life.
camper van feetThere are dreams I’ve had for many years, such as owning a VW camper van, which bubble to the surface more and more often these days – there’s that need for freedom screaming to be heard. My children are growing up and need me less and less which means I’m spending more time on my own. When we are all at home, they have their own interests and lives, and I’ve begun to realise I’m rarely alone but quite often lonely. How do I combat this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly happy in my own company but sitting at my desk every day and then on my sofa night after night just isn’t cutting it.
I know this post is a vague ramble through the dark fog that is my brain, but I also know that some of my friends feel the same way and so I wanted to share these jumbled thoughts in the hope that we can all find that elusive answer.
Getting my mojo back, or maybe inventing a new kind of mojo is what I hope to achieve as I move forward on my personal development journey. If I find out how then you’ll be the first to know.
I’d love to hear how you cope with the tough times, or if you’ve found your mojo then offer up your top tips. Please feel free to leave me a comment below.


  1. I think you have to challenge the ‘reaction’ to the hard times…write down what you are feeling and see if it is valid. Martyn and I recently went through a terrible time here (not mentioning it) where we were not sure we were going to emerge ‘whole’. Challenging the feelings and working on keeping a pragmatic stance was vital. Also helped: Book called ‘How to be a Stoic’. The premise is: if you can alter your situation, do it. If you can’t, accept it and work round it. Kind of ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’.It isn’t always possible to react positively, and I think we are sometimes told that we should be able to survive anything, and of we crumble, we are failures. I believe this is not so. I DO think one is programmed to react in a certain way, though… I instantly stop eating and go into shut-down mode under stress…I think we are all ‘ a work in progress’ aren’t we? xx

    1. What a fabulous comment, Carol. I love the idea of altering the situation if you are able. You’re so right about the positivity part too. I base my life around self-help, motivation, and feeling upbeat but that’s not always possible and so we need to understand that ‘down days’ are just as normal – I guess this is why I also share the foggy times, upsets, and depression fuelled rants! Yes, we are all a work in progress but just at different stages along the path. I hope you and M are okay and emerged (or are emerging) intact. Big hugs to you both xx

    1. Losing myself in a book has always been my ‘safe place’ so I can relate to that, Ritu. I also love going to the cinema on my own so I can immerse myself in another kind of fantasy world for a few hours. 🙂

  2. I love the goal of owning a camper van! What a great life goal. 🙂
    I’m a list-maker, and crossing stuff off my lists and finishing lists helps me feel in control and gives me a sense of accomplishment. It also helps me prioritize. My daily “to do” list always starts with the hardest thing I anticipate having to do that day. Once that’s out of the way, I know it’s down-hill from there. That helps me relax and not be anxious about the length of my list(s).
    I second the people who have said that feeling down sometimes is totally normal. I do. Everyone I know does. It’s just part of being human in a world that seems increasingly hostile to human beings.
    When I feel I’m spiralling downward, I have a couple of things I do which lift me back up. I have a killer playlist that I put on and dance around the house to. Between the feel-good music and the endorphins from dancing around, that usually picks me up. If I’m feeling down about writing, I have a “nice words” file from beta readers and workshopping my novels that I re-read, which reminds me that people like my work and I have a reason to keep fighting the uphill battle that is publishing. Sometimes just a small change of scene really helps. It doesn’t have to be a holiday, although a mini-break (trip to the movies, a one-hour facial or even just going to a park for a couple of hours and leaving my phone off) can be really energizing. Something as simple as leaving the house and going to a coffee shop for my Saturday afternoon writing session can be a big lift. Finally, I’m a huge believer in naps. When I’m feeling grumpy and low, sometimes the reason is that I’m just tired. Taking a one-hour nap on the couch is massively refreshing. Napping on the couch instead of in bed means I don’t sleep too deeply or too long. I often lucid dream when napping, which is tons of fun. And a short nap doesn’t disrupt my nightly sleep cycle.
    We can’t all be positive all of the time. That’s for robots (and small dogs). Recognizing when you’re getting down is half the battle. The other half is picking yourself back up. 🙂

  3. I’m not glad that you’re feeling a little jumbled, but I am glad that you’re willing to share it. My “job” as a human being, I believe, is to keep learning and listening, not to have the answers. I feel jumbled too sometimes, and the best cure for me is to downshift. Watch, wait, listen, connect with people that matter to me, expect a little less from myself, seek beauty and moments of gratitude, eat dark chocolate. And then the fog lifts, not because I did anything special, but because that’s what fog does, and the sun comes again. I doubt you need my “advice” you already know what to do. I’m only here to support you doing it. 🙂

  4. I love this blog & your jumbled thoughts make sense to me. I am learning how to cope with CBT and change my thoughts to learn to live with my black dog & chronic illnesses. I am learning to seek out the good from bad situations, even if it’s just a glimmer. I love your dream of travelling free to roam in your camper van. I always am pulled to the coast when internal thoughts become confusing & tangled. Just emptying my mind on a beach watching the waves, no matter the season – in a waterproof & blanket or t-shirt. Somehow the combination of sand sea & sound of waves instantly calms me and helps me to focus. I am hoping you can realise your dream and can find a balance to life that brings back your sense of being just where you want to be xx ????

    1. Thank you so much, Tanya. I can totally relate to that need to be by water. There’s something truly calming about the sea (or perhaps we were mermaids in another life!) I always feel the brain fog begin to lift when I’m near the beach. I also get a similar feeling when walking in the forest. Nature is a wonderful tonic if we allow ourselves the freedom to explore x

  5. I don’t feel this is a vague ramble at all Shelley. It’s OK not to know. To allow ourselves space and nurture whilst we transition into a ‘new’ is an adventure all in itself. I feel the more we try to pin ourselves down to so called certainties, we are simply building a new cage complete with traps. Happy adventuring X

  6. I have just returned from a weekend at our local Buddhist centre (I’m not a Buddhist). For me, there’s nothing like meditation for bringing a new perspective.

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