It’s easy to feel like we’re treading water when life gets tough. We tell ourselves that things will get better, but the truth is that they might not. If we don’t deal with our problems head-on, we’ll only end up sinking deeper and deeper into them.
As anyone who has ever tried delaying dealing with a problem knows, life situations only get worse with time. Not just for the difficult situation itself, but also for your emotional well-being. The longer a problem festers, the more anxious and stressed you’ll become, impeding your ability to think clearly and work on a solution, leaving you stuck in a quagmire.
Facing difficult life situations head-on is the only real way to deal with them. You not only avoid the snowball effect of letting them grow out of control, but you also take back a sense of control and power in your life—allowing you to confront your fears, work through your challenges, and emerge stronger on the other side.
In this article, we focus on six specific, common situations that people face and offer some actionable advice on how to deal with them. Whether these situations apply to you directly or not, we hope they provide some clarity and direction on how you can better deal with difficult challenges in your life.
1. Losing Your Job
Job loss means losing more than just your source of income. You lose your routine, your purpose, and a large part of your social life. It can be devastating, not just financially, but emotionally and mentally as well.
The first thing you need to do is accept that this has happened. It’s okay to be upset, but try not to dwell on it. Remember that it is not a reflection of your worth as a person.
Once you’ve come to terms with the situation, take stock of your financial situation and figure out how much money you have coming in and going out. If you have a family or are supporting others, you may need to make some tough decisions about how to cut back on expenses.
Filing for unemployment benefits can help ease the financial burden, but it’s only a band-aid. Depending on your industry, you may be able to find a job that’s a good fit quickly, or it may take months. Take your financial situation into account when deciding how long you can afford to be out of work.
In the meantime, keep yourself busy and try to maintain a positive outlook. Spend time with friends and loved ones, take up a new hobby, or volunteer your time to a worthy cause. Keeping yourself mentally and emotionally healthy is just as important as keeping your finances in order during this difficult time.
2. Going through a Breakup
Breaking up is rarely easy, whichever side of it you’re on. If you’re the dumpee, you’ll be dealing with a whole range of emotions, from sadness to anger to relief. And if you’re the dumper, you might feel guilty, or like you’ve made a mistake. But there are ways to get through a breakup that can make it a bit easier for both parties.
If you’re the one being dumped, it’s important to give yourself time to grieve. Cry if you need to, or punch a pillow—just let it all out. You might not feel like it, but keeping busy can also help. Make plans with friends, go on dates, and try to keep yourself occupied.
If you’re the dumper, it’s essential to be honest with your former partner. Explain your reasons for breaking up, and try to do it respectfully. It’s also important not to lead them on or give them false hope; if you know the relationship is over, make sure they do too.
In either case, surrounding yourself with supportive people is key in handling these kinds of life situations. Whether it’s friends, family, or a therapist, having people to talk to who understand what you’re going through can make a world of difference.
3. Dealing with Family Conflict
Although families are supposed to be our support systems, they can also be the root of a lot of stress and conflict in our lives. Whether it’s disagreements about major life decisions, turf wars over who gets to use which bathroom, or simply different personalities clashing, family conflict is one of the most difficult things to deal with.
The first step to managing any kind of family conflict is effective communication. This means being clear and direct about what you’re upset about, listening to the other person’s perspective, and trying to find common ground. It’s also important to avoid attacking the other person or getting defensive.
If you’re having trouble communicating with a family member, it can be helpful to seek out the help of a mediator, whether that’s a therapist, clergy member, or another impartial third party. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to help diffuse life situations like this and get everyone on the same page.
Of course, there are some cases where family conflict is simply unavoidable. In these cases, it’s important to learn how to manage your stress and anxiety healthily. This may mean taking breaks from the situation, spending time with supportive friends or loved ones, or finding an activity that helps you relax.
4. A Family Member Going to Prison
It’s easy to feel helpless when someone you love goes to prison. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional fallout of such a situation, but you also have to grapple with the practicalities of life without your loved one.
The first thing on your mind might be how to deal with the anger you feel. It’s natural to want to lash out and blame someone, but it won’t do you any good in the long run. try to channel your anger into positive action, such as writing to your loved one or volunteering for a prison reform organization.
You’ll also need to find a way to cope with the financial implications of a family member going to prison. If you were relying on your loved one’s income, you may need to get creative to make ends meet.
Finally, you need to find a way to support your loved ones while they’re incarcerated. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that they are going through a tough time as well. Send them letters, visit them if possible, and just be there for them when they need someone to talk to.
5. A Friend or Family Member Who Just Won’t Grow Up
It can be tough to watch a friend or family member flounder while they refuse to grow up. They bug you to go out partying with them, they don’t take any responsibility for their life, and they generally just make things more difficult for everyone around them.
The best thing you can do is to set a good example. Show them that it’s possible to have fun and be responsible at the same time. Try not to enable their bad behaviour, but be there for them when they’re ready to make a change.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone matures at the same pace. Just because they aren’t where you want them to be doesn’t mean they never will be. Give them time and space to grow up at their own pace, and they’ll eventually get there.
Try to assess whether they are going through a phase or if they’re truly struggling. If it’s the latter, then you may need to distance yourself from them until they’re ready to make some changes.
If your life is being negatively affected by their behaviour, then it’s time to take some action. It’s up to you to decide whether that means cutting them out of your life or just setting some boundaries. This might seem cruel, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for both of you.
6. A Friend or Family Member Dying
When a friend or family member dies, it’s natural to feel grief and sorrow. Life goes on, yes, but it’s not always easy to just “get over” the death of someone close to you.
The most important thing here is to acknowledge what you’re feeling. Crying, getting angry, or feeling numb—they’re all okay. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or tell yourself that you shouldn’t feel a certain way. Allow these feelings to come and go as they please, and in time, they will lessen.
Try to maintain a sense of normalcy in your life. After someone dies, it’s easy to let everything else in your life fall by the wayside. However, keeping up with your usual routine can help you feel more grounded and stable during this time of upheaval. Make sure to eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly—it’s easy to overlook just how exhausting grief is.
It might also help to talk about your loved one with others who knew them. Just because they’re gone doesn’t mean you have to stop talking about them. Sharing memories and stories can be a great way to keep their memory alive.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. Grief can be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s helpful to talk to someone who can offer impartial support and advice. Just give yourself the time and space you need to heal, and eventually, life will start to feel normal again.
Dealing With These Life Situations
No matter how perfect our lives may seem, we will all face difficult situations at some point. The important thing is to remember that we are not alone in these struggles. Many others have gone through—and overcome—what you’re going through now.
The six life situations we’ve discussed are just a few of the many challenges we may face in life. But by following the tips we’ve outlined, you can come out the other side stronger, wiser, and more prepared to take on whatever life throws your way!
About The Author
Sophia Young recently quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words. She loves talking about fashion and weddings and travel, but she can also easily kick ass with a thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics, and can probably even whip up a nice heart-warming article about family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighbourhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.