This is the second article in my Tough Times Series. I thought that this was a good topic to tackle, and it applies to everyone, not just when you’re going through burnout. Most of us at some point find ourselves in desperate situations in life, whether it is related to family, abuse, loss, finances, you name it, but those long dark tunnels can be built on many different grounds. Traversing those tunnels and staying focused through though times is the question we will address today.
I would not call myself an expert, but I have had my share of dark, gloomy tunnels, so I am glad to use those experiences to help people today. I think that the best use we can give to bad experiences is not to bemoan them but use them. Find a lesson in them to help yourself and others.
How Can You Stay Focused Through Tough Times?
I’m not going to say that it’s easy, because it is not. There is no magic formula. When you are grieving, then you have to give yourself the time to grieve. If someone hurt you, you need time to get over that.
How much time can you give yourself, though? What is a reasonable time and what can be called reasonable? There isn’t any rule on this, it all depends on ourselves, doesn’t it? There inevitably comes a moment, though, where you know that the dark cloud has been hanging over your house for too long and it has to move, allow the light back in.
There comes a moment where we have to decide to get back up and face the world again.
Keep Things Running When You Can Barely Run Yourself …?
When something dreadful happened to me in the past, I always allowed myself to cry over it. You have to. There is no point in being the tough, badass chick or guy, showing everyone how you can handle everything. Doesn’t that just isolate yourself more and increase the burden?
It’s OK to tell people that you’re all right when you’re not if you really don’t want to talk about it, but I do not see the point in pretending to be on top of things when you’re not. If you’re not feeling OK, and someone asks you, would it be so bad to admit how you are really doing? Well, depending on how close you are to that person, of course. I am not saying to tell a random stranger your whole life story, but when people are close to you, I think that it’s OK to open up.
Throwing myself into work often helped keep my mind off things, but what do you do when you run your own business? When you have to create content for your website or be a pleasant voice on your daily or weekly podcast?
If you need to take a break, then do that, but do not take too long. There is a time to fall, but the time to get up again also arrives, and we cannot miss that moment, otherwise we may end up staying down.
Focus on the Good
I know, you may not feel like doing that when something terrible has happened, but you should. “Focus on the good” is an expression I wrote on a post it and which I attached over my door, so I see it every time I go outside or I pass by there. I admit, there are days when I see it and I think “meh”, but even then it inspires me.
I focus on the wonderful things that I have on that particular day, the blue sky, the song of the birds, the terrific lunch I prepared, my dog who comes to give me some love, or a new comment on my blog post. There are always good things happening, no matter how bleak things sometimes seem to be.
That one is so easy to do when things are going well, but a tough one when things are not going so great. It is, however, at times when we are at our worst that we should practice gratitude. It is similar to focusing on the good.
There are days when you feel that nothing goes right and you just want to curl up in bed and forget about the world. I don’t know if you are a fan of Friends. There was one episode when Ross was dating Julie, but he still had feelings for Rachel. Chandler advised him to make a list of pros and cons about both Julie and Rachel. It was hilarious when Rachel discovered that list and called Ross out on it.
We don’t have to make such a list concerning our circumstances, but gratitude works kind of like that list.
Terrible things are happening, you feel like nothing ever goes right, you feel lost … then how can you be grateful about anything?
There is a lot to be grateful for, if you are healthy, then you should be grateful for your health, because many people do not have that privilege. Food on the table, as simplistic as it sounds, but do you want to cry with a full or an empty fridge? I take the full fridge any time. Your freedom to move around, the music you can listen to, the gentle sound of the waves – or if you don’t live near the ocean, the flow of the river, or the sounds of the forests.
There is still much beauty to be found.
But Stay Focused?
Nonetheless, even if you find gratitude and some sparkle in life, will it be enough to stay focused on your plans, business, goals, or whatever it is that kept you going until now? If it is important enough not to let go, then do not give up on it.
If it is hard to keep your concentration, write down a list of tasks you want done every day and keep it short and basic. Do what is necessary, but do not overload yourself. Like this you will keep things going, and your business or projects will float instead of drown in sorrow.
Didn’t Freddy Mercury sing such a long time ago “The show must go on?” He had a good point there.
With the Bare Minimum You Can go Back to Your Full Potential
With a list of the minimum amount of tasks you could accomplish every day it is possible to keep things going while giving yourself time to get over past events and not letting your projects suffer because of it.
Make sure you write down your tasks every day, and then check them off one by one, as soon as you get each of them done. Reaching those little goals on a daily basis will also help you feel better. In the end, saving your work and goals may well end up saving you. Hopefully soon, you can go back to the way things were.
21 thoughts on “Staying Focused Through Tough Times”
This post is very appropriate right now. It can be so hard to focus on gratitude when you can’t get your mind off of the problems you are facing but it does help. It could be worst, so be grateful for what you have. I believe life is happening for us not to us. With every problem we face, we get stronger or a new opportunity comes from it. Thanks for sharing this post.
Very true, Justin. Thank you for your comment!
An interesting read about burnout. I was suffering from it myself at one point in my life. I think the current Covid-19 situation across the world is giving everybody a chance to take a step back and just chill, though it might also be making some people even more stressed out! I guess in every situation, we can do one of two things, obsess over the bad, or place our attention on the good and keep it there.
Very true, we can either obsess over the bad or focus on the good. It’s a choice we make.
Thank you for your comment!
Hi, This is true, sometime it can be hard to focus on gratitude.
I sometimes heard people say ” I need a break, I want to stop working.” Know with the time we have with the pandemic those same people say the contrary and have what they always ask for and no graditude for what they ask. (this is just a example)
I learn over the years people have more gratitude than they had before at a younger age.
Thank you for this great article I enjoy reading it.
Thank you for visiting my blog today!
Thanks for this post especially during this unprecedented time when so many people are down looking for a way out. I hope they all have the opportunity to experience the comfort I received reading this post instead of remaining down or worst taking the easy way out.
It’s wonderful that this post brought you comfort. I hope that it can bring comfort to many.
Have a great day!
this is a beautifully written article and you deserve full marks for it. I also believe that it really hard to get over with time especially when you are not mentally strong.
The way you have explained in every part how can we stay focused and can help ourselves to divert our mind from the worst things and should focussed on good things is great. The best thing for us is that we all should not lose hopes and especially when we know life is not too short, everything happens for a good reason and God has better plans for us so we should not give up easily in our tough time.
i think you would have a lot of people visiting your website and gaining from your experience and knowledge about the topic.
I hope that many people will visit my website and find help through my articles 🙂
Thank you for your comment!
Fate must have brought me to your website for this article today, I have been feeling a bit on the down side lately. Your article has improved my mood today, so I can’t thank you enough for perking me up and reviving my motivation to staying focused through tough times
Thank you! I am happy that it helped improve your mood today and revived your motivation 🙂
This is highly useful post and it applies to a lot of us during these tough times because of the covid-19 global pandemic. I loved reading your whole post thoroughly and learnt that it’s important to see all the good things that are also happening and be grateful for those. Also being kind to yourself is another key point we need to remember. WE can get through whatever it is, if we don’t overthink and only focus on the solution instead of the problem.
You’ve shared some amazing ideas for self care.
Very well said, Habib, we can get through this if we focus on the solution 🙂
Thank you for your comment!
Christine, what wonderful advice you have provided. Crying is soothing as the tears really can help wash away some of the pain. Talking about what’s not right is such a needed action people need to use. Society has imposed its rule of never complain. We are conditioned to be tough, stoic and unbreakable. We were made by a Divine Spirit consisting of Eternal Love which means we too are made of an essence of being compassionate for ourselves and others. Let us all come together in Spirit and show compassion. Reach out… Thank You Christine:)
Thank you, Linda! That was beautifully said, and so very true 🙂 ❤️
Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here. I am sure the information in this post will be of great help to anyone who come across it. Sincerely, this post has just risen a dead confidence in me that if I can give more time and seriously work on it, I will be able to go through any situation without shaking.
Thank you for your comment. This is not really a review here. This was written to help other people, not to review something … I still hope that you somehow found this helpful …
This is a timely article Christine on staying focused during tough times, the world is currently facing difficult times and anything that can support individuals at this time is welcome indeed. The fact you speak from personal experience which makes this even more credible. I too have had moments of gloom, only to find that I have been able to fortunately see “light at the end of tunnel” even if at times, it has only been a speck of light for a while. Time, as you say can help overcome grieving and its important to allow yourself the time to do that. But it’s also important to face up to things. I used to like “running” but there is an old saying; “It doesn´t matter where you go, your view always remains the same”.
I particularly like your “gratitude” point & the idea of having a small list of things to do. So you feel satisfied and feel you are making progress. Checking off that check list really helps. Do you think, it ever makes sense to take medications of sleeping tablets when you are going through tough times? I find they compound the problem for me as I feel “drained” using them. I personally find walking in nature and exercise helps.
I would not recommend taking pills when going through difficult times. They will not provide a solution. Instead, it is better – like you mentioned – to go for walks in nature and doing exercise. Eating healthy also helps.
Hello, Christine, your article is a strong message and encouragement for everyone. I like very much your way of sharing this positive attitude, and I agree, we must focus on the good and positive things that we have around our life. And, to be grateful for the little things is a good step of realising our tasks and projects. I enjoy reading this helpful article and it is a good reminder for me to write down my daily tasks and check back at the end of the day how productive I was during my day.