How to Persevere During Troubled Times

Have you ever experienced situations that made you finally understand the saying that “what goes up, must come down”? Or perhaps, you’ve experienced enough life events that helped you come to the conclusions that ‘seasons change’. It’s true- the pendulum will continue to swing back and forth until it no longer swings at all. So how do we adjust to an unexpected turn of events? How do we persevere during troubled times? How do we manage all the emotions and stress while also trying to reach our goals? How do we find ways to land on our feet?

Here are two ways to do so.

1. Stay in Control of Your Thoughts

When things seem like they are taking a turn, our mind can produce all kinds of outcomes for the situation. We typically give ourselves anxiety from hypothesizing the worst scenarios we fear to happen. But usually, the worst doesn’t happen. 

When your season is changing and you’re entering troubled times, it is critically important to be aware of how far into undesired feelings you can delve before you start entering a danger zone. When you start entering a bad space mentally, that’s a danger zone. When you start coping in unhealthy or unproductive ways, that’s a danger zone. When you start retreating into a shell, stop communicating with people, or performing basic hygiene routines- that’s a danger zone. 

How we respond to a situation is half the battle. What is your outlook on this turn of events? Are you acknowledging that it is undesirable but are doing what you can to mitigate potential damage? Or, are you acknowledging that the situation is undesirable and are unintentionally adding to the potential damage?

Have you heard of the ‘sink or swim’ analogy? Let’s say you’re on a ship that you just discovered has a leak. Most of the time, survival skills would kick in and you’d try to stop the leak. But every now and then, instead of tending to the leak or making preparations to abandon ship, you’ll stomp around and curse the ship. You’d complain about the leak. You’d blame the ship manufacturer or captain for the leak. You’d spend copious amounts of time panicking because you’re thinking about a ship that sank because of a leak. You’d blame yourself for getting on the ship in the first place. You’d start thinking that things like this always happen to you. You’d think maybe this ship leak is what you deserved. You’d wonder what you’d done- and meanwhile, the hole has gotten bigger and more and more water is getting into the ship.

Am I saying that you can’t let your mind run amuck? No, we’re human. But multitask, a turn of events is coming and you need a plan!

2. Make a Plan

When I say make a plan, I mean game-plan your next steps. You’re going to do this not just for the turn of events, but for your self-care and mental health as well. When we are going through troubled times, we don’t just need an exit strategy, we also need to come out as unscathed as possible. So, in addition to writing out all the ways you can land on your feet in this situation, also write out how you can take care of yourself in this season as well. When things are bad, we know what personal-care things we let fall by the wayside. We need to prepare for that and do what we can to make sure we don’t go too far off the deep end and enter a danger zone.

When you are going through troubled times, do you stop bathing? Do you stop eating? Do you stop talking to your best friend? As obvious as it may seem here, these are signs that you are not doing okay. Because of that, we have to be intentional about still doing these particular things even though we are going through troubled times. Why? Preventative measures can be a lot easier to perform than restorative measures. It’s a lot easier to not let ourselves get to a certain state than it is to try and pull ourselves out of that state. If you know that sleeping all the time is a sign that you aren’t doing well, what can you do to make sure that you aren’t sleeping when you’re normally up and active?

Once you’ve planned how you’re going to persevere during this troubled time mentally, then it’s time to game-plan how you can still land on your feet. 

What do you need in this season to be okay? How can you go about getting that- in a healthy way?
Remember, stay in control of your thoughts in this season and make your plan. Do these two things and you will land on your feet.

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