If you’ve reached a dark point in your life, the idea of feeling light and happy again can seem impossible. Looking at the work it will take to get back on your feet after hitting rock bottom is overwhelming — but it’s the only way to go.
People go through terrible hardships and make mistakes. Whatever you’re going through, know that there is another side, and you deserve to see it.
Here are some practical tips to help you start the upward climb after hitting rock bottom.
1. Seek and Accept Help
The first step in starting your upward climb is admitting you need help. The next step is asking for it. According to experts on Substance Abuse Treatment in Kentucky, ongoing support is essential for recovery. Services like counseling, individual and group therapy, and even medical support can significantly improve one’s outcomes.
While some people find it easier to reach out to a third party for support, others prefer to reach out to a trusted friend or family member. In reality, it will likely take a team of supporters to help you get back on track.
2. Practice Self-Compassion
There’s a common misconception that practicing self-compassion means refusing to take responsibility for your actions. In reality, you can hold yourself accountable while also refusing to engage in negative self-talk that will hinder your progress.
First, understand which events are within your control and which ones are not. For example, if you’re experiencing a deep depression after a trauma, the events that led you to that situation aren’t your fault. However, repairing relationships and taking charge of your life is your responsibility.
Acknowledge the mistakes you’ve made without insulting yourself, then consider how you’ll do better in the future. Remember to use the word “and” rather than “but” when engaging in this narrative. For example, someone experiencing substance abuse can say, “I’ve made mistakes and hurt people I love throughout my addiction, and I’m going to do the work to make it better.”
3. Remove Yourself From Triggers
It’s not possible to completely prevent triggering situations in life, but there are often ways to avoid them. If the people with whom you spent time are still engaging in the behavior or activities you’re working to avoid, it’s time to end those relationships. Additionally, staying away from situations where you know self-control will be a problem is beneficial during the early days of your journey.
4. Develop Coping Skills and Strategies
For the times you can’t avoid triggers — trauma anniversaries or unexpected encounters, for example – you should have an arsenal of coping mechanisms in place to help you process and overcome them.
These coping skills could range from taking grounding breaths to progressive muscle relaxation. Learning to recognize, label, and reframe your thoughts and emotions can also be incredibly powerful in challenging situations.
Learning healthy coping mechanisms is another reason why it’s so valuable to reach out for professional help. Skilled therapists and counselors will help you develop these skills over time.
5. Focus on Small, Attainable Actions
As you start your journey back to yourself, you’ll probably start thinking of all the possibilities ahead of you. Focusing on positive things is great, but it’s important not to set too high expectations for yourself as you get started. Instead, focus on small, actionable steps you can take to move forward each day.
Rather than thinking about the outcome, think about the process. Start each day with a small thing you know you can accomplish, then celebrate every tiny success.
6. Take Time To Reflect and Align
Coming back from rock bottom is a transformation. Instead of getting back to who you were, you may be trying to change entirely, leaving your old self behind.
As you figure out who you need to become, take some time to reflect and get in alignment with your values. What does the person you want to become look like? How do they act? What is their day like? What matters to them? Taking time for introspection can help create a sense of purpose that carries you through the hard days of your upward climb.
Remember, hitting rock bottom isn’t the end; it’s the beginning.