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6 Practical Ways to Cope With a Stressful Situation

Here are six practical things to try that will hopefully help you feel a little more resilient.
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woman with headache, migraine, stress, insomnia, hangover in casual dress
woman with headache, migraine, stress, insomnia, hangover in casual dress

Life throws us curve balls. Some of them we see coming, while others either seem to sneak-up or completely blindside us. However the pressure comes on, sometimes life puts us in situations where we just have to dig deep and handle it.

Like all of us, I've had my fair share of times where I've had to knuckle down and call on shear resilience to get me through. I've been heartbroken; I've had periods in my career where I've felt completely overworked and unappreciated; and I've had to support myself while supporting those close to me through illness.

We feel pressure for so many different reasons. It may be that your job is doing your head in, but you just can't leave right now. Maybe you feel like you've literally just got too much to do and you can't balance it all. Perhaps the relationship you once relied on to support you has completely crumbled, or you are facing an uncertain future and are struggling to stay focused.

We will all face difficult periods in our lives where there is no immediate 'exit strategy' and that is when we will have to find a way to cope.

Here are six practical things to try that will hopefully help you feel a little more resilient.

• Take Regular Breaks to Revive
If you are faced with a difficult situation that is draining, or an exhausting work environment, do your best to take regular scheduled breaks. Take short walks and soak up the fresh air, or brew yourself a cup of tea when you recognize you're starting to become overwhelmed. Also make sure you are prioritizing getting enough sleep, as pressure always feels even more overpowering when you're tired.

• Acknowledge Your Strengths
If you're dealing with heartbreak, a difficult work situation or your to-do list looks impossibly long, all too often you can slip into forgetting your capability. Your confidence can take a knock. To help counteract that make a long list of all of your strengths and achievements. If you need an extra boost, it can also help to ask those close to you what your strengths are.

• Up Your Commitment to Self-Care
When the pressure is on, there are significantly more drains on your well-being tank. Simple math suggests that in order to counteract the extra withdrawals, you need to put more in. Write an extensive self-care list and focus on doing a couple of things each day that will help lift your spirits. You can read more about how to do that in the post: How to Find the Time to Take Care of Yourself.

• Decide to Have a Growth Mindset
Rather than focusing on the difficulties you are facing, focus on what the experience can teach you. If you're going through a break-up for example, perhaps it is an opportunity for you to learn how to set healthy boundaries and truly love yourself? If you are dealing with a health crisis or supporting someone else through one, perhaps it is highlighting to you the things that really matter in life. Make a conscious decision that you are going to look for the lessons.

• Recognize What You Can & Can't Control
When we are facing difficult or trying situations, there are typically many things we cannot control. It may be the behavior of another or the amount of work piling up. But look specifically for the things you can control or change, and plan accordingly. If you can control nothing more than how you react to a situation; that is still something. If you have an extensive workload, make a solid plan about how and when things will be done. Or if you're in a romantic relationship that continues to be exhausting and depleting, have the courage to ask yourself if it is time to move on.

• Practice Gratitude
I have never found gratitude to be more useful than when I was going through some of my hardest times. It is like a balm for the pain. When the pressure is on, up your commitment to gratitude. Make a concerted effort to look for all the good things in your life. When things feel incredibly low, you'll be surprised at how many things both big and small you can find to be thankful for. By making it a commitment to look for them daily, you will keep yourself more focused on what really matters.

Kate is a Life and Executive Coach at www.thrive.how. She helps people who want the good stuff out of life, get it. Through her individual coaching programs, she helps people clarify their thinking, grow into their potential and re-gain balance. You can learn more about Kate by following her on Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to get a copy of her free guide with 8 Tips on How to Thrive in Life.