Just when you thought you were making progress, something unexpected happens.

Maybe you had a big project lined up at work but suddenly you had to put the project on hold, maybe you had to compromise your pay raise, or apply for unemployment, or perhaps your child was supposed to reach a milestone like graduating…but COVID has changed a lot in our lives. Whatever the circumstances are, it certainly does not feel good to deal with setbacks and disappointments – especially when you thought you were past them.

Similarly, just when you think that things have calmed down with the pandemic, you see the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise again. Maybe you had just gotten comfortable with going back into the office but now not so much – or perhaps you had a trip planned because you finally felt it was safe enough to take a vacation but now you are considering canceling. You wonder what this means while continuing to struggle with feelings of uncertainty, frustration, and disappointment.

Life may not come with a map, but everyone will experience twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with a more lasting impact. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, emotions, and uncertainty.

If this resonates with you, there are some tips on how to deal with disappointment when it feels like you’re taking two steps back.

Remind yourself how much you’ve already managed to adapt to…

Look at how resilient you’ve already been. There is no right way to respond during these times. Give yourself some credit and grace for rolling with the punches.

Acknowledge the disappointments…

Create a list of things in your life that have been affected. Allow yourself to feel the range of emotions that comes with these disappointments and use this as an opportunity to see what you’d like to rebuild.

Vent it out…

Chances are you’re probably not alone in this. Maybe people you know aren’t going through the same exact thing, but everyone has encountered setbacks in their lives at some point. Reach out to friends and family to talk about what has happened and how it is making you feel.

Step back and evaluate…

Getting specific with the issue can be helpful in identifying and understanding how to find solutions. Ask yourself questions like: What is the problem? Am I the only one facing a problem like this? How does this problem look at an individual level, national level as well as global level? How is this going to impact my life in the next year, 5 years or even 10 years? Questions like this can help us put things in perspective and allow us to problem solve.

Focus on actionable steps…

It’s about regaining control of the situation and life through action. Think about what you can improve and change, instead of what you can’t change. Think about some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound) goals you can identify and plan to achieve. If you were laid off at work, you may not be able to convince your boss it was a mistake to let you go, but you can spend some time each day developing your top strengths or working on your resume. Taking initiative will remind you that you can muster motivation and purpose even during stressful periods of your life.

Learn from the setbacks

Reflect on questions like “What did this situation teach me?” as well as “How can I improve from this?” For example, if you have had to cancel a trip during this time, a lesson from this set back could be looking into travel insurance the next time you plan a trip.

Whatever you’re facing now, see it as an obstacle to overcome. With every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that will emerge along the way, and you don’t have to face them alone! There are many resources and help available to help you. Reach out to a Crisis Counselor today to support you through this.

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