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Resources for Canadian Women

Dealing with Hard Times

By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW

Published: April 2014

Life is a long term process of change,  learning, and growth. We are faced with challenges that can be overwhelming, draining, and depressing. Read through the tips below for helpful ways to deal with hard times.

Be Realistic

Disappointment, heartache, and stress are natural responses to many of life's unavoidable challenges. When dealing with difficult situations, it is important to be realistic. Expecting yourself to pick up and move on quickly after a terrible upset is setting an unrealistic expectation of yourself. Consider your time of sadness or your desire to be alone a natural healing process. Take your time and allow yourself to express your emotions.

Use your Strengths

You are not powerless. When faced with a difficult experience, look inside of yourself for unique talents, abilities, and tools for coping. For example, if you are gifted with the ability to write very well, consider addressing your challenge by journaling your thoughts or writing a letter to the person(s) involved in your heartache. Are you a naturally athletic person? Get outside and run, clear your mind by channelling your energy towards fitness goals. The natural endorphins released during exercise can help to calm your stress levels.

Be Resourceful

You may be faced with a problem that can be resolved but you feel unequipped to handle it alone. Being able to recognize this is the first step towards resolution. Look to your friends, peers or relatives for support. If you know someone with an expertise that could help you, don't be afraid to ask for help.

When your inner network does not possess the help you need, seek professional guidance. Knowing where and how to access resources is key to managing stress. Resources are not limited to supportive people. A resource can be information, materials, or services which support you to meet your needs. If seeking a professional does not suit your circumstances or personality, then consider options such as online research, self-help books, or articles about the problem you are facing. Finding a new perspective about the challenge in your life can be refreshing and provide you with much needed direction.

Recognize your Resilience

Resiliency is your ability to bounce back from a situation, to overcome barriers, and make something out of nothing. Applaud yourself for this ability. Being able to work through a challenge is a strength. Take note of how you have overcome a problem in the past and build on your skill.


With every challenge is a lesson. Use your situation as an opportunity to learn about yourself and about life. You need to experience life in order to grow as a person. You will be amazed at your ability to overcome problems that you once thought would break you down. Each challenge makes you stronger, wiser, and more equipped for the life changing opportunities ahead.


About the Author

Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies for women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey. 

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