How To Be Happy During a Rough Time | Inspiration Indulgence

My junior year of college, I cried myself to sleep on a regular basis.

I felt very lost, stuck, and scared of my future. I was 210 miles from my boyfriend who I knew was “the one” and was incredibly homesick for him. I knew that I still had three semesters of my undergrad left, and was sick of driving four hours home every other weekend. In addition, I was a business major at the time and failing Accounting 102. I spent 15 hour days on campus, in class, then to my professor’s office, and then to the library, and still wasn’t grasping the concepts. I had never failed at anything before, and was stressed beyond belief. Because of this, my self-confidence plummeted. I had no idea if I was making the wrong choice with my major and I hated that I had no idea what was become of my life.

I know that in retrospect, I am incredibly blessed. I have never had a life-altering event like my health failing me, or a close loved one pass away. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever experienced these unfortunate and tragic events.

However, I still felt depressed, lost, and stuck at a dead-end. All I knew was that I wanted to get the heck out of college as soon as I can, go home, and start a new life. But I knew that what I truly wanted would not come for another year and a half, and that I had to stick it out.

So, dear friends, how do you be happy when you feel so stuck? So lost? Perhaps you’re struggling with a heartache, a death in the family, or a sudden negative change in your life. Here’s how I believe you can make it through the bumpy road.

Focus On One Day at a Time

Not that you should wish your life away, but truly focusing on one day at a time really helped me get through some of my toughest moments and days. Life goes by way faster than you think, and before you know it, things will look up. It is harder to deal with a hard time when all you focus on is the big picture in front of you.

Stop the Negative Thoughts

I have seriously found that my overall mood is better if I shut out negative thoughts. I remember complaining on the phone that basically my life sucked. I found that being more positive actually improved the quality of my life.

Have That One Close Friend

I couldn’t have made it through this tough time in my life had it not been for my mom or my best friend at school. Having someone to confide into about your problems truly makes all of the difference in the world.

Sweat It Out

Not only does physical activity create endorphins, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I find that even on my worst days, if I work out, I instantly feel better after. Don’t give up on your physical health and well-being just because you are going through a rough time.

Don’t Drink Alcohol

People often joke that they need alcohol to deal with their problems. But in reality, many people do choose alcohol as a way to escape. However, alcohol is a depressant. It alters your brain chemistry and disrupts your thoughts, feelings, and overall long-term health negatively. Not to mention that it drains the bank quickly!

Do What You Love

What do you find joy doing? For me, it was working out and keeping in shape. I also found that on days where I sent time aside to cook a good meal kept me in high spirits. Never stop doing what you love!

Remember Your Blessings

Put your life in perspective. Are you healthy? Do you have a supportive family? A supportive friend? Do you have a job? Sometimes we get selfish and forget how good we actually have it.

Using these above situations, I got through my rough spot. Two years later, I have now graduated college, figured out my life plan, am living with my boyfriend, have a wonderful job, and am the happiest I have ever been in my life. You have to get through the storm to see a rainbow! I have faith that with a positive attitude and a great support system, you can get through anything.

Remember: Happiness is a CHOICE. Nobody can make your own happiness; only you can!


Note: I am NOT a mental health professional. If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

  • This is actually a well-timed, helpful reminder. I’ve started to let my optimism about my future wane because I’ve been unemployed (and trying hard not to be!) for longer than I imagined. I found myself wishing I’d prepared for graduate life better etc. last night, but you can’t change the past!
    Your first advice line (focus on one day at a time) is so important and it’s what I’ve done today. I just made a kickass to-do list called ‘My super awesome Monday’ because I’ll just do whatever I can today.

    Also, congratulations on creating the life you wished for :) I’m happy for you, that you are living with your boyfriend and satisfied with everything now!

    Just to give you a heads up, there’s a typo in this line: I knew that I still had three semesters of my undergrad enough, (I think you meant ‘though’)

    ‘Love the post, as usual x

    • Aw thank you so much for reading Madie! And thanks for pointing out that typo..sometimes I get too excited to post that I don’t even proofread! lol! I’m glad that you found it useful and that you are making a list today…The ONLY way I can accomplish things is by making a list!! lol. And don’t worry about everything…you are young and things are still falling into place! :) It takes time for things to settle in. And thanks for your kind words :) Life is great now but I still have a long ways to go and have a lot to figure out…I’m in the middle of grad school interviews and it’s stressful not knowing exactly where I will be living in a few months..but trying to stay positive :) I hope you have a wonderful start to your week! :) xo

  • This is great advice! I need to work on changing my thinking and finding more positive thoughts to focus on. When we’re going through difficult times, the negative thoughts can consume us. It can be hard to escape that mindset and find the positivity in our experiences. My close friends have been great to lean on and confide in. As long as we strive to stay positive, we will get through those dark times. :)

    • Thanks for the comment. I know it is easier said than done! It took a really long time for me to get to this point. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that if you are in a situation that makes you unhappy…remove yourself. I wish I would have done this a long time ago! Thanks for reading! (Btw. I think you will like my latest post that I just uploaded =) )

  • You included some great advice for anyone suffering. I know that sometimes, due to suffering from anxiety, it’s hard to be happy and think positively. Sometimes it can be hard to picture getting better and getting through our struggles. However, as you mentioned, thinking positive, exercising, practicing, doing what we love, not harming our bodies, and focusing on our blessings can help us live healthier and happier lives. Great post!

    • Thank you so much! I know that it’s easier said than done. I’m really glad that you found it helpful despite how incredibly hard anxiety can be. Day by day…things will come together! Just have to keep faith :) Thanks for reading!!

  • Thank you for posting this up-lifting article. I went through the same thing during my junior year of college last year, and it is nice to hear perspective from someone who went through the same thing. I’ll definitely use this advice in the future :)

    • Aw I am sad to hear that you went through the same thing! Hopefully things are looking up. Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it! :)

  • I like the ‘do what you love’ point. Thank you for the helpful tips, Chelsea :)

    • Or when I’ve tried my best to do all the things above, I like to pamper my skin and just try to relax, also drinking jasmine green tea helps me :)

    • Aw thanks for reading, dear! I think we all go through a rough time at some point and abandon to take care of ourselves :)

  • All great tips!!! College can definitely be a rough time for anyone!!! I had a few semesters like that myself!

    • Thanks for reading, Kassi!

  • Thank you for sharing this. This has been a very tough year. Lots of change, lots of loss. Thank you my friend.

    • Aw Cheyenne I’m really sorry to hear that. Prayers that things start to look up for you!

  • These are great tips. It can be so easy to get weighed down by the rough times, but staying positive makes such a difference!

    • Thanks. It’s my only vice that I feel actually works! I just try to focus on one day at a time.

  • I would also add to stop comparing yourself to other because that can hurt even more! That’s something I had to learn and I’m still learning and it makes a huge difference! It’s so easy to see how great other people’s lives are when you feel like yours is not!

    • That’s DEFINITELY a huge component and something that I have been working on! Great add!

  • These are all so true! It’s amazing what small changes and a bit of perspective can do for our healing. I especially love the idea of taking it one day at a time. In tough seasons, it’s so hard to envision life getting better or think about talking through many more weeks or months of hardship. But you can always get through the next ten minutes or the next day, and sometimes that’s all you can do. Thanks for these beautiful reminders!

    • You hit the nail right on the head! Thanks for reading!! What got me through it all way just focusing on one day or one week at a time, and not envisioning the tough road ahead.

  • All excellent reminders! Especially shutting out negative thoughts. I am a firm believer in good thoughts brings positive energy which brings positive happenings into our lives. This also works with being around negative people. If you are in a tough spot in your life, don’t hang out with negative people! Glad you made it through your rough time :-)

    • Exactly!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I can’t stand being around negative people. Thanks so much :)

  • Angie@chasingmyhalo

    So many great points! Taking it day by day (or sometimes minute by minute) is a big one for me when things get rough. Also, when my room/house is super messy it further depresses me. I feel better when things look good around me. Happy Wednesday!

    • Okay good so I’m not the only one who gets stressed/ angry when there is a mess!! lol.

  • These are great tips. College for me was horrible and I often cried myself to sleep every single night every single year and drinking definitely didn’t help! I am thankful for friends that helped carry me through! I probably wouldn’t be alive without them! Thanks for sharing!

    • Aw I’m really sorry to hear that! But glad that you got through it :)

  • Stopping negative thoughts is what finally helped me. I was pretty lost after my divorce but after realizing that, things starting to turn around. This is such a great list of tips!

    • Chelsea

      I’m so glad things turned around for you, Nichole <3

  • Kerin Monaco

    Awesome insight. Will definitely share with my friends going through some challenges! Namaste

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much! xo

  • I love your point about alcohol.
    I have one friend in particular that always says she “deserves” alcohol after the hard day she’s had. It always makes me sad because she is setting herself up for future problems if she isn’t careful.

    • Chelsea

      Yeah…it can turn into a bad habit. I’m all for social drinking, but when one is drinking in excess, then I think there’s a problem…

  • Thanks for this Chelsea! Really needed to read it – going through a huge rough patch. It’s hard because I don’t have any “real life” close friends…just friends on the internet. I feel silly even saying that, haha. I do like one drink to unwind after work, not everyday but a couple times a week. Although I should always be on my guard, I know alcohol will never become a problem for me, because I’ve seen firsthand how it destroys people and their lives. But, seriously – taking it one day at a time & stopping the negative thoughts are hard for me to. I am a planner so I like to get everything figured out. I’m also a huge realist over an optimist any day, which never helps my case during a rough time haha. Thanks again!

    • Chelsea

      Don’t feel silly at all! Sometimes I feel the same way, girl..after I graduated college, my best friend lived 4 hours a way from me. To be honest, my closest friends are my family, boyfriend, and his family. And I’m okay with that, but sometimes I get a little sad. I think it’s part of the natural growth process of aging. But I know what you mean- I’ve been working super hard on developing friendships with new people that I’ve met recently through work and elsewhere.
      I feel like I am close with a few people via the internet because of these blogging communities…I mean when you think about it, do you have anyone close in your life who is passionate about blogging? I don’t. I don’t really know anyone else who blogs seriously. So naturally, I’m drawn to my blogging pals because we can relate and we share the same passion.
      We are so alike- I literally agree with you on every level here. First of all, I’m the same way with drinking. I have wine about once a week, and I’m a social drinker. Like you mentioned, it’s not a problem for you and I but I’ve seen it go WAY south for others.
      I used to be really negative but I feel like I’ve gotten better. It’s habitual thinking…you seem like a type A girl like me, so I know the struggle of wanting to plan everything. I really hope you get through your rough patch. I’m always here to talk if you want to discuss things in private :) xo
      P.S. sorry about the book!!

      • You’re so encouraging, Chels!! Thank you so much. You’re the best. I don’t really have any friends in real life that are passionate about blogging, not anymore, at least. That’d make sense why I flock to my blogging friends than! Developing friendships are hard for me because I’m an introvert, so I always feel awkward haha.

      • Chelsea

        For sure! Blogging consumes your life once you get serious about it, and no one can truly understand the community unless they are a blogger themselves. I wish we could meet in person someday! I bet we would get along so great! <3

      • We should totally make it happen. A huge meet-up would be awesome, even if we had to plan far in advance and save up. It’d be so worth it!

      • Chelsea

        That would be awesome! Where are you? Something tells me Pittsuburg? I feel like many of the Blog Passion girls are around the east coast!

      • 5 hours from Pittsburgh! I’m 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia. :) Where are you again?

      • Chelsea

        I’m in Wisconsin! Quite a hike but maybe never know! I’ve always wanted to attend a blogger reunion 😀

  • Really love this, and I’m glad to hear you made it through this rough time! Although I think that your point on alcohol really depends on the person. For some (myself included), drinking alcohol when used as a social activity (ie wine and cheese nights) is perfectly normal so stopping it completely might actually make things worse. I think it’s most important to keep doing the things that make you happy and social, regardless of what they are!

    • Chelsea

      totally agree, Liz! I’m a social drinker myself as well. I probably drink with my friends every other weekend; sometimes every week when there is a lot going on. I didn’t think about mentioning social drinking to relieve stress in my blog post! Thanks for pointing this out!

  • This is really great! I really like reading your blog! thanks for sharing!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks girl!! xo

  • Serene Mom

    These are really great tips that are tried and true. I really like the do what you love tip. It can help change your energy when you focus on something you really love.

    • Chelsea

      Exactly, it’s how I feel about blogging :) xo

  • Sara Strand

    I agree, happiness is totally a choice. I think people forget that because it’s easier to be a victim.

    • Chelsea

      Yes. thank you so much for reading :)

  • I agree and great tips Chelsea :)

    • Chelsea

      Thanks girl! :) xo

  • Shann Eva

    Great tips .I remember being so miserable my first year of college . I had to take it one day at a time for sure . I made a change, and things did get better. Great advice.

    • Chelsea

      I feel like most normal people love college hahaha but I especially struggled my first year as well because I was homesick.

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    This is a great post, thanks for your honest sharing

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for reading!

  • Such a great post! Going through rough times is never easy. I always try to focus on the good of that day and take things one day at a time. Great advice!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much, Lexi! One day at a time, and it always gets better :)

  • I love this post and totally agree with everything. I always notice that when I stop exercising, I start feeling a lot more sad. It can be hard to stick with it but it’s good to remember that it will get better if you keep trying!

    • Chelsea

      Exactly! Thanks so much for reading, Shannon!

  • anonymous

    Do you have any tips for continuing a long distance relationship in college? Or ideas for making it a little easier?

    • Hi! If you are doing a long-distance relationship, I’ve definitely been there. My now fiance and I did long distance from my junior year of college until the first semester of my 5th year. My advice? SKYPE and make an effort to go see each other. How long of a distance are we talking here with you? For me, Trevor and I were 4 hours a way. It wasn’t bad where if we REALLY needed to see each other, we could be there in 4 hours. We switched off and visited each other every two weeks. We never went more than 3 weeks without seeing each other. We also skyped every day. Even if we didn’t’ have a lot to talk about…we would skype while I did homework, while eating dinner, etc. Always before bed. It helps make you feel like you’re not alone . Hang in there <3

  • This was exactly what I needed to read today. I’ve in a long-distance relationship (12 hours away) for 19 months now, and even though I’m moving there in 4 months, this last bit seems like the hardest part! I find myself getting so overwhelmed with the “foreverness” of it all, and I start to feel like I can’t do it. But I know you’re right; in just a little while, it will all seem like it went by do fast. It will be a distant memory. :)

    • Exactly. I know it’s super hard, but you CAN And WILL get through it! I can remember the days I would cry my 4 hour drive back and it was horrible. I’m so happy we are through with that. And now we are getting married! :)