How to Bounce Back From a Setback


Have you ever felt you simply can’t cope with what life is throwing at you?


Do you have regrets… wondering “If only I’d….”?

or maybe you’ve lost faith in people…

We will all face those moments in life that knock us for six and we feel that our World is falling apart or we’re stuck in jobs or relationships that feel toxic.

I’ve certainly found myself questioning why life seems to throw lemons at times and if we aren’t careful, that sense of pessimism can feel overwhelming.

“Why does it always happen to me?”  

If you recognise those sentiments or maybe you’re feeling like that right now, then it’s time to change the question and help yourself to bounce back more quickly.


When we feel those depths of despair, we often look at the World and feel that it’s just us that’s suffering all the bad luck. We know deep down that there are people who are truly suffering but we still feel that we’re the only ones…

Q) So, how do we start our climb back from that pit of despair?
A) We have to change our strategy!
During our lifetime, we will all face adversity. Some people seem to deal with those times better than others, so what can we learn from them?

Before I go on though – just to qualify… When we suffer a bereavement, it’s natural and right for us to grieve – they say that it takes up to 3 years to work through the natural stages of grief, so I’m not saying you should just ‘bounce back’ when you’ve lost someone close to you. There will be stages you go through which are right for you. 

However, for most of life’s adversities that we encounter, we do have choices.
  • We can choose to sink into a long-term depression, stick in our rut and feel that the world has it in for us…
  • or we can adopt some new strategies and learn from our past experiences, to help us work through our difficulties. 

Here are some common strategies that we adopt when we’re feeling that life is throwing those lemons at us and some alternative strategies that would help us to bounce back more quickly.

  1. We start over-talking and over-thinking about ‘the problem’
  • Become conscious of what you’re talking about to yourself and to other people. It may help to talk through the problem with friends or family a couple of times but if it’s become your main/only topic of conversation, it’s time to STOP!!
  • Notice what you’re saying to yourself and ‘flip it’ e.g. If you’re saying “Why me” try thinking “How can I change this?” instead and then list down all the ideas you begin to think of over the next few days.
    • Continually talking and thinking about what’s happened, isn’t actually going to change the situation. Developing a new action plan will!
2) Stop Moaning
  • No matter how good/kind/caring your friends and family are, there will come a point when they’ll be sick of hearing you moaning and not actually taking any action to improve your situation.
  • When something bad happens, it’s natural to feel negative for a while. However, we can’t change what’s happened – it’s in the past and therefore starting to focus on something positive and setting some new goals can start to move our thinking to the future and provide a sense of optimism.
    • Remind yourself of times in the past when you thought something really bad had happened, but when you looked back on it a few months or years later, you realised that life had indeed moved on for the better, even though at the time, you couldn’t imagine that it would.
3. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities
  • Sometimes we get so caught up in what’s happened or how bad something/someone is, that we may miss the new opportunities that are emerging for us.
  • When we’re so focused on what’s wrong in our life, we sometimes forget to notice all the things that are right in our life.
4. Make a list of all the things that you can be grateful for
  • When we remind ourselves of what we have that we can be grateful for, we can start to feel a sense of gratitude and begin to feel less sorry for ourselves.
5. Remind yourself that there is always a different option
  • We may stay in bad relationships or toxic jobs because we feel there’s no choice. However, there is always an alternative choice that we can take. Develop a ‘Plan B’.
    • I was once in a job that left me feeling drained and exhausted and I felt obliged to continue because I was the main income earner in the family at that time.
  • Someone suggested to me that I come up with a Plan B and I did…
    • I faced the worst case scenario by asking myself “Whats the worst that would happen if I leave my job?”
    • Answer… If I can’t pay the mortgage, the family will be homeless.
      • Then I came up with a list of other things I could do.
        • I could rent out the house and we could live in a caravan for a while.
    • My Plan B began to take on a life of its own. I cut out a picture of a caravan in the Lake District – surrounded by beautiful countryside. I imagined myself writing my book whilst looking out on my lads playing outside in the field. I began to feel a sense of excitement at the thought of my Plan B.
      • Now although I never actually put the full Plan B into operation, it did give me a sense of security, knowing that there was a viable alternative and within a short period of time, new opportunities presented themselves and I left the ‘toxic’ job and never looked back!
6. Develop a clear VISION for your life
  • Start to create a new vision for yourself. How I created my first Vision Board Magic
  • Imagine yourself moving forward to a future that you’d want.
  • Visualise yourself coping really well and imagine yourself feeling strong and powerful.
    • In those moments when I feel myself slipping back and feeling negative, I imagine myself to be a combination of:
      • Joanna Lumley – elegant and strong, living life aligned to her strong values
      • Anthony Robbins – charismatic, helping others
      • Einstein – wise, determined, clever
        • I see myself working on my issue with the wisdom of Einstein and the elegance and strengths of Joanna Lumley and Anthony Robbins and it really does make a difference to the way I feel about ‘the problem’…
7. Surround yourself with people who lift your spirits
  • Have you ever noticed that there are some people who seem to thrive on misery and they are ‘there’ when you’re down but you get that sense that they’re not happy when things are going right for you?
    • It’s time to surround yourself with people who lift your spirit when you’re down and who encourage you when you’re on your way back up.
    • Notice those people who are naturally optimistic about their life. It rubs off.
    • What we focus on we get, so it makes sense to focus on people and things that enhance our lives rather than people and things that drag us back.

When you’re feeling that life is throwing some lemons in your direction, here are 10 great questions to ask yourself.

  1. How can I change my situation?
  2. What can I learn from this experience that will help me in the future?
  3. What opportunities can I notice that will help me to move forward?
  4. What would my perfect life look like?
  5. Who are the people who make me feel good?
  6. What can I do differently?
  7. What can I change for the better?
  8. How can I change for the better?
  9. What’s the worst case scenario?
  10. What’s my Plan B?

Write down the answers and you’ll notice how much more quickly you start to bounce back.









  1. April 24, 2018 / 1:20 am

    Ooh I love that last quote of yours Wendy. Actually I love everything about this post. Lots of wise reminders on living our best life and bouncing back from those inevitable setbacks we all have. Have a fabulous week. xo

    • Wendy
      April 24, 2018 / 11:19 pm

      Thanks so much Miri – that means a lot! Can I say I love the last quote when I wrote it… haha…. but I do and it always reminds me to keep taking those daily steps.. even when the going gets tough some days. You have a fab week too my lovely friend xxx

  2. April 23, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    All great points, here. I like the mental list of knowing we have other choices, but writing them on paper is better. Sometimes staying stagnant–the seemingly easier choice–isn’t best and we find only later after experiencing more misery we must make a better move. It’s often very difficult, but your visualization ideas are spot on! Do you know the Maxine greeting cards? I once saw one saying on the outside: “When life hands you lemons…” and on the inside it read: “Stick them in your bra.” Oh, wait…that’s another post. 😉 GREAT POST!!! <3

    • Wendy
      April 23, 2018 / 11:30 pm

      Haha – brilliant – I hadn’t come across that version of the ‘when life throws you lemons…’ – I love it!! You’re right – I definitely stayed stagnant for too long – I’m glad I finally saw the light though… Thanks Karen xx

  3. April 23, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    I love your plan B Wendy and the elegance of Joanna Lumley sounds pretty good too. Life certainly challenges us at times but I agree there is always something to be grateful for. Happy Monday xx

    • Wendy
      April 23, 2018 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks Brigid.. Yes there was a point where I was almost disappointed that I didn’t have to implement Plan B. However, I did make some BIG life changing decisions and left my job – best decision!! I hope you have a lovely week too Brigid xx

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