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Life Sucks: 8 Things To Do When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom


“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

No matter how well and carefully we may plan, things often fall apart. The degree to which they fall apart and fail can vary greatly, but fortunately those moments at the bottom do not have to be the ones that define us. The truth is that life sucks sometimes. For all of us, at any given point, for any reason, it can happen.  

Time and time again we see ourselves and others in those “life sucks” moments. But leaving them behind, learning, and growing in them is essential to personal growth and life progress.

Life Sucks: 8 Things To Do When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

1. Find your bearings.

Take a look in the mirror. Evaluate yourself and your situation. Is this truly a “life sucks” moment? How did I get here? What happened? Was it an external influence or did I simply not reach my goal? Can I try again?

Asking ourselves these questions and being purely honest with ourselves is crucial to escaping these times.  Without being honest with ourselves and taking responsibility for these times (if it is ours to take,) we cannot find the root of the situation and prevent ourselves from finding “life sucks” moments again or plan differently in the future.

You can spend a day wallowing if you need to. But allow yourself no more than one day. The deeper you sink into a pile of negativity the longer it will take you to crawl out of that hole.

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2. Reassess your life goals.

The next thing to do after your finding your bearings in a bad situation is to take a look at your goals. How does what happened affect them? Are you off course? What do you need to do to get back on course? 

We as individuals define and create our own successes, and those are measured by our goals. While there are other external factors that often come into play, one thing we must keep in mind is that the best thing we can control is our own actions. 

After looking at your goals you may find that there is a better phrase to describe your situation than life sucks. Or it could just be that you’ve gotten entirely off course and this moment came around to put you back on track!

Don’t have any goals set yet? This can be the perfect time to set them! It is much harder to move in any direction if you don’t know where you’re going.

We have a goal setting worksheet that can help you find clarity here

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3. Ensure your needs are met.

Now that you recognize how you got here and where you need to go, how bad does life suck? Are your needs met? Do you still have food? A place to sleep? A way to pay bills? Are you currently able to provide for those that depend on you? If not, address these needs first. 

You cannot do anything more or better for yourself unless you’re taken care of.

Also, take a moment to breathe. Give yourself credit for what you do have. Even if you’ve lost everything, you still have a chance to get up tomorrow and try again. There is always a silver lining.

Have you heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? This essentially says that our physiological needs need to be met before our safety needs can be met. Those needs must be met before we can meet our love and belonging needs. The pattern continues like this through esteem and self-actualization. Gathering a better understanding of this pyramid can help you understand and tackle where your needs are not being met.

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4. Invest in yourself.

There is a story about a young woodcutter that was very fast about his work. He started off the first day cutting a record amount of trees, and motivated by this he set forth to break his own record the next day. Despite his best efforts, he fell short.

This continued on for days all the while he became more discouraged. Eventually over the course of a day he accomplished virtually nothing even though he was giving his all. On the verge of quitting, the young woodcutter sought advice from an older woodcutter. He simply reminded him that you cannot cut wood well with a dull axe, and so the young woodcutter sharpened his axe and was better than ever again.

This should be a reminder to us that we need to take time and give it back to ourselves! There is absolutely no better way to slow yourself down from escaping that life sucks moment than trying to do more when you’re burnt out.

Take a personal day. Take time to decompress. Do whatever it is that just gives you a healthy dose of you. At the end of the day the only person who can or will make sure that you are okay or that you have everything that you need is you, so do it! Whether you are only self-soothing or you are practicing true self-care, take at least an hour out of your day for yourself. And if you feel like you can’t spare an hour, take two. 

If you put yourself on the back burner no one else can or will ever take you off of it. If you’re ever struggling to find the first step to get out of a bad situation, maybe that first step is just to sharpen your axe!

[Tweet “If you put yourself on the back burner no one else can or will ever take you off of it.”]

5. Create a positive mental attitude.

 If you’re constantly telling yourself that life sucks or that “my life used to be better,” you’re only attracting more of the same into your life.

By having that negative outlook you will view everything as negative, and nothing positive will ever be good enough.

By changing your outlook (which can admittedly be far from simple,) you can take a big first step at turning things around.

Instead of saying “life sucks,” tell yourself that life is good even if things are less than ideal at the moment. There are always things that could be worse and looking at positives gives us a chance to grow and a little bit of faith in ourselves. 

Related: How To Combat Negative Self-Talk In Your Own Head

Practice rewriting your thoughts as they pass through your head. As you do this, you will weaken the neural pathways that are enforcing the negative mindset. And at the same time, you will be strengthening the ones that leave you with a positive way of thinking.

6. Get a pet.

Believe it or not owning a pet can be a great aide to get out of a bad situation. According to the CDC, pets can help lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of loneliness, and even increase opportunities for socialization. 

Most of all, they force you to get moving! Owning a pet does not allow time for you to be stuck in bed all day, which can really be the first step towards getting out of a rut. They need to be fed, watered, groomed, and vetted. While all of those things do sound like a lot of work, all of that time you put towards those things you’re creating a bond with your newest, closest personal friend AND you’ve gotten back up and moving.

With all of that being said, this is only truly recommended if you can provide for your new friend. If your “life sucks” moment includes a physical or financial hardship, this tip may be something to revisit at a different time. 

7. Practice finding the positives.

I know this is easier said than done, but you have to build yourself up. Make a list of all of the positive things in your life and focus on those.

If you are struggling to get the negatives out of your head, write those down. And then flip them positively.

For example, if you lost your job, write that negative down. Then flip it positively by saying “I have an opportunity to pursue a new path.” There is often silver linings and new beginnings to be found when we feel like life sucks.  

8. Put yourself out there and try again.

No matter what may have happened, do not ever be afraid to get up and try again. Allowing yourself to be defeated by “life sucks” moments will never get you anywhere. And as long as you’re trying again, there isn’t anyone who can fault you. 

Give everything your best attempt so that when it is all over, you know that you did the best you could. Leave nothing in question. If you can look in the mirror and say, “I am going through the worst phase of my life,” you should always follow it with “but it will never change if I don’t do something about it.”

Even if you are absolutely at the bottom and you truly have found a life sucks moment, the only way to go is up! There are plenty of ways to go about getting yourself back on track, and the only person that can find the best way to make that happen is you!

Sometimes life is hard, and it’s okay. It happens to everyone. Those times don’t have to define you unless you let them. Stick to your goals, and make sure that you’re the best you along the way so you don’t find yourself saying “life sucks” again anytime soon

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.