How do you keep going when the going gets rough?

It’s been 6 months since I decided to break away from the 9-5 mindset.

At first, it was really exciting and it still is. But remember how I told you from the beginning that I will share all the struggles with you too?

Well, it hasn’t been easy.

Deciding to go after my dream of traveling the world by building a freelance lifestyle has been very much an emotional rollercoaster.

I knew it would be hard from the beginning but nothing can really prepare you for the actual storm.

On days when I’m getting things done and checking off every item on my to-do list, I feel like I’m on top of the world. I feel unstoppable like the possibilities are limitless.


But on days when I wake up late to a worn out body, mind, and soul, I feel like the world is ending.

From the moment I wake up, I have 10 things on my mind that I know I should be doing or should’ve done.

The word “should” consumes me and every item unchecked on my list brings tremendous shame and guilt.

I should be better than this already.

I should be working faster.

I should’ve woken up earlier.

I should’ve, I should’ve, I should’ve.

And pretty soon, I break down because the pressure of wanting it all starts to crush me.

My future starts to look bleak and self-doubt starts to settle in. I question why I’m doing this. I look at all the ignored messages on my phone. I feel terrible that I’m 28 and still living at home and I feel ashamed that I’m not making more money. And pretty soon a snowball effect takes over and it gets worse and worse and worse until I simply don’ t have the energy to fight it.

That’s what a bad day feels like when you decide to go after your dreams.

How do you deal with it?

6 months ago, I would’ve just curled up in bed and believed I’m a failure but today I actively change the narrative in my mind.

1. Realize that fear comes and goes.

The more I’ve gone through this process, the more I’m realizing it’s just that– a process.

Like rain, fog, and snow, fear passes.

Sometimes it stays for hours, sometimes it stays for a week but it does pass.

And when the sun comes out, you’ll appreciate it so much more.

2. Rest

I know too many people who think resting is being lazy. We’ve got to stop thinking this way.

Do you realize that when you’re tired, negative thoughts tend to be even worse?

And little things can really set you off?

That’s when you know you really need to rest.

3. Stress makes you extra vulnerable.

This is similar to number two but it’s true. I noticed when I’m stressed, negative thoughts tend to hit me harder, thus, that’s why one simple mistake can feel like it’s the end of the world, when in reality, everything can be fixed.

Your perception of what can be done and can’t be done is skewed when you’re stressed. You believe in your negative thoughts more. You cannot see what is normal and what isn’t.

It’s time to stop working and take a break.

4. Write out all the steps you need to take to keep going.

Another thing I do to keep myself going is by asking myself this: so what? So what if you’re scared? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to sit here and pity yourself or do something about it?

Then, I grab a piece of paper and pen and write down all the things I need to do to get out of there. This step is crucial because it forces me to focus on the solution instead of the problem. Then I do whatever step number one is even if it’s just to take a nap, shower, or eat.

Whatever it is, you have to do it. Because the point isn’t to defeat fear right away, it’s to keep the momentum going. What fear fears most is momentum. Fear wants you to be static but when it senses you’re not slowing down, it starts to back away. Fear starts to lose its efficacy and power.

And you are still here.


What do you do when you are stressed? When you feel like giving up?


About Living the Free Way

LTFW is a travel blog that emphasizes giving ourselves permission to do the things we love and stepping outside or our comfort zones. You can learn more about the author on the 'About' page.
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