How to handle setbacks in life

June and July have both been stressful for me in similar ways–I keep running into setbacks. I had foreseen a flat, easy path before me, yet these roadblocks kept popping up and, to be completely honest, stressing me the heck out! But one perk to all this is that I have started completing my manual to handle setbacks instead of letting them run my life. It’s a work in progress but it’s something to guide me so I don’t go diving off the deep end.

Your girl’s got anxiety. Your girl’s got an active imagination. Your girl’s got the rumination (an extreme version of overthinking) problem apparently all girls have because the world is not in our favor (news to none). But that’s precisely why we need this guide, made by a gal for all gals. (I honestly think the stress has got me a bit loopy because I can’t stop the cheesy talking somebody help me.)

I thought about outlining all the things that have been stressing me out, the actual setbacks, but then I remembered one of my resolutions for this year was to stop complaining so much. I don’t want to pass on that negative energy.

However, I should share a bit of info. Some people who follow me on Twitter may know it has to do with a theme I bought and installed. I purchased a new theme to up-level my blog’s aesthetics, but it was impossible to work with and customize. While importing the demo theme, it actually published a bunch of sample content, and for each one, it sent out an email to all of my subscribers! They all received about 60 emails in a row! I felt so terrible. When my friend texted me about it, my heart dropped and I wanted to cry (sigh, Pisces, what can I say).

Instead of actually crying, though, I decided to use this as inspiration for a new blog post, and so here we are! I channeled those frustrated energies into a guide for my poor followers.

When things aren’t going your way and you’re one distraught gasp away from hyperventilating, remember foremost that

a setback can't hold you back for longer than you let it. Click To Tweet

Here are some tips on handling them:

Do what you can when you can

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

– Theodore Roosevelt

You may want to tackle the problem head on like myself. I can impatient at times like these because when it comes to technological or any digital problems, I want them to be fixed right away. I get into a rage.

However, all I could do at the time was to delete the extra content the theme demo pulled in. I would have to customize and double check everything at a later time. I was strangely at peace with this…wisdom with age, let’s call it. But I knew that I couldn’t get into that stressful, super-focused rage anymore. It wasn’t good for me mentally, emotionally, or even physically.

I knew better now. I knew that the uncontrollable urge to fix everything asap was actually making me less focused and prone to further mistakes. I knew I had to take a step back before I handle setbacks. In that vein…

Leave the area and move your body

I deleted the extra content manually (with the help of my dear blogger friend Bry who was there for me despite being across the ocean), I apologized profusely via Twitter, then… I left my desk and went for a short jog outside. And it worked. Immediately, I felt better.

People’s instinct is to fold in within themselves. They don’t want to move and become despondent, letting their brain take over with its army of negative thoughts. You go into fetal position! Your butt feels anchored to your chair!

You have to remove myself from that dark cloud. You have to break the pattern by leaving the area that is filled with negative energy right now (for me, the desk) and move your body. A great way is to go outside because nature cures everything. Relax your muscles by getting the blood flowing through movement. That, in turn, will relax your mind. You know how tense they both get during stressful times! Sometimes, I like to do silly dances when I’m alone, and that always makes me feel better. Especially because no one is watching me make a fool of myself.

How to handle setbacks in life

Don’t blame yourself

You could go on and on with the “what if” and “should have” torture methods, but in the end, I knew I made a mistake and that was it. What was done was done, and, more importantly, I knew better for next time. This was my first time dealing with a WordPress theme that had demos I could import. This was a way fancier theme than the first one I bought. How was I to know? No matter how I prepared, there had been no warnings about the possible flooding of sample content and the subsequent spamming to my poor subscribers. If it was a dumb mistake–well, that happens, too.

See Also:  [Guest Feature] How Positive Thinking Helps Reduce Stress

I apologized, and there was not much else I could do except get rid of the extra content. I couldn’t clear out their emails of spam. I knew that there were only two things I could do after that:

  1. I could be grateful for the subscribers who would undoubtedly understand. Actually a couple of my friends I personally reached out to had seen the emails but not said anything to me which was thoughtful of them. I think they figured I was working on the problem, and one said he didn’t want me to stress out. I am also grateful for the friends who let me know right away. The first friend who told me showered me with texts making sure I felt okay about it when I started freaking out. As mentioned before, Bry offered to help me clean out and work on the theme, which was so sweet. If anything, this experience made me realize I have great friends.
  2. I could say farewell to subscribers who left, knowing full well they would have eventually left anyway. Either they forgot they were following me or they were done with my one big mistake and didn’t want to give me another chance. Who needs support like that? (Thankfully no one seemed to have left, so I’m back to Point 1: Gratitude.)

Return with fresh eyes

Despite doing all this, you may have noticed that my theme is back to its normal self before the change. It took a few days to get back here because it took a while to handle the situation with the online market. I had to take a break and then return to the problem at hand because I had not been ready to deal with it before in my agitated mental state. After calming down a bit, I was. I tried to make things right with the new theme and get tech savvy. When that didn’t work, I made a clearheaded decision to go back–and it might have seemed retrogressive, but it felt right.

This is all very important. You have to calm down in order to return to the problem and resolve the setback. For example, a writer who is suffering from a major block in the process, whether it is a novel or an essay, needs to get away from the desk. I like to get a head start on such projects if there is a deadline because I know there will be many times I need to take off a full day so I can edit my work with fresh eyes the next day instead of editing it to oblivion. This applies to anything.

You can only handle setbacks when your mind is clear. And that is how you can also reflect and learn from the setback, which is the ultimate lesson of all.

Ultimately, I tried to communicate with the theme’s support as thoroughly as possible. When that didn’t work, I got a refund and returned happily to my old theme with greater gratitude for its functionality. I think I may start studying up on CSS so I can make updates to this theme instead of thinking I need to buy anything fancy. I finally got the Instagram footer I always wanted and am next working on a post carousel.


So there you go! That is my guide to help you handle setbacks. It is okay to freak out, but do not let that panic and stress consume you. You will get back on track–but it is also okay to take a break and step back from the problem. Take care of yourself first. You are the most important factor. If only you can solve the problem, you need to make sure you are ready for it, right?

If you ever have any problems or need advice to handle setbacks, I am always available to help as best I can! Reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram, or through the contact form and I will try to help or at least encourage you handle setbacks! If you want to share your own story, I do accept guest blog posts, so feel free to reach out.

Good luck!

Gallantly,

gallantly gal
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