Self-Care: 5 Ways to Cope With Setbacks

Seema R.
Seema R.
Mar 21, 2018 · 3 min read

Its hard to be a happy worker bee when you feel like you failed. The stinging feeling can linger. As you settle into rote tasks, your brain might return to the memories of your setback. You might not be able to shake the feeling that you suck.

Do you Suck?

I don’t know you, but I am guessing you are an okay person. It might just be life.

Life is a bit like pinball. In the classic arcade game, you pull hard to launch a ball into a brightly lit, tilted box and then wildly bang on levers in hopes of getting the ball to go where you want. But, as in pinball, you can only do so much to effect the outcomes. Your perceived failures are often just a result of a series of other situations out of your control.

Or, maybe you sucked on this one thing, and the results didn’t end up positive. You might get away with not doing your best sometimes but not always. And, then when your half-best fails, you feel like you double-suck: poor performance and poor response.

Sucking is often about the world or your actions, but rarely does it mean that you suck to the core. So, what can you do to rebound?

How do you get back on track after setbacks?

  1. Focus on your failure: Prevailing wisdom holds that you should just get back up about a fall. But, if you don’t figure out the cause of your trip up, I assure you, you will be back on the ground in no time. Take time to think about the reasons for your failure. Think about your own actions and how you can improve them.
  2. Feel the Feelings: Holding in emotion is a great way to pickle your soul. Negative emotions are normal. Ignoring or denying your challenging emotions will not make them magically disappear. Consider talking out your feelings with someone or writing them out.
  3. Time’s Up: Mistakes and misteps can fester into failures if you don’t change your actions. Set a time limit for your wallowing and dissecting, and then move on. Make an appointment with yourself, on your calendar, to plan next steps after this failure. Until that appointment, you can be focused on the failure. At that appointment, you start to move on.
  4. Plan the Next Thing: The future is the most exciting and scary place you will ever go, because it doesn’t exist yet. Long term planning can be overwhelming. After a misstep, focus instead on the next step you want to take. Then plan out all the little steps and tasks that you need to get to that next step.
  5. Divert yourself: Throw yourself into completing all those little tasks to your next step. Celebrate each element that comes off your to-do list as you start slowly shimmying your way to that next thing. And, when you get to that next thing, you might have even forgotten you ever made that misstep.

Written by

Seema R.

Tech, Games, Inclusion, Museums, Nonprofits, Change, Twitter @artlust Website:

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