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“Sometimes it takes a good fall to know where you stand” – Hayley Williams

Have you ever experienced a lull in work, or a time when you simply felt defeated? Sometimes, the summer months for ESL teachers can be a bit like that, am I right?  Whether you’re working part-time hours over the summer and feeling the financial pause or feeling defeated from stress, today’s post is for you.


What To Do About When You Experience Defeat

Motivational Monday 82 Rock Bottom

“Defeat” seems like an extreme word, doesn’t it? Even though we may not be completely defeated, it can feel that way sometimes, can’t it?

For example, I’ve seen countless posts in ESL expat teaching groups here in Europe where teachers are stressed about having to go on unemployment pay for the summer. Others are stressed about teaching contracts (all over the world, actually) where classes are cancelled or contracts have varied numbers of hours.

When you’re trying to be an entrepreneur, working on a side-hustle, or reaching for new goals on your career path, roadblocks can seem like defeat.

Hang in there and check out these tips:


4 Ways To Combat Frustration

Here are four ways I’ve found help when I’m feeling frustrated:

1. Learn To Breathe

Breathing techniques are one of the topics I’ve been doing my best to read about lately. My trainers and swimming instructor often recommend it. My plan is to stop to take deep breaths as often as possible.  So far, I’m not any sort of expert on this one!

If you are, please leave a comment at the end of the post so we can all learn from you!

2. Focus on Your Vision Board

Why a vision board? Well, for those of you who are Questioners

If you read last week’s post on personality types, you know it’s not as simple as being told to create a vision board. Sometimes, acting right away to “fix” the feeling of defeat is not our first course of action.  However, I thought I’d provide a few simple steps here in case I’ve convinced you to try it.


3.  Remember It’s Not All About You

Sometimes, I think we focus a little too much on ourselves. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for personal development!  I’ve spent the last ten days hanging out with family members who are quite different to me personality-wise. For nearly half that time, I strangely lost my voice (stress and a cold from travel, perhaps?).  Not talking and only being able to listen made me realize a couple points I’d like to share.


Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Change your plans for others once or twice –  Try this. If spontaneity is in your personality, this may come easy to you! I’m a planner, and most of my family is not – so that has been a challenge.
  • Listen, rather than talk –I was forced into this one due to a cold/stress-induced voice loss for a few days.  What I found was that, when dealing with people of different personality types, sometimes it’s best to keep quiet and listen before responding to points of conflict. The conflict often subsides before it starts, reducing stress. People are generally quite happy to explain what is happening in their lives if you ask!


4.  Focus on the Positive


It may be hard to focus on the future, for some personality types. (I’m more and more convinced that Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies is an awesome framework!).

If visualizing and creating a vision board isn’t a fun activity for you, try focusing on the present.  What are some of your favourite parts about this exact moment, this day, this week, this year?  Write it down and let me know if focusing on the present works for you.


A Tip on Defeat From the Experts

Whether your current stressor is financial, time-related, relationship related, or something totally different, I think these four strategies may help chip away at that feeling of defeat.

If you’re looking for more ideas, I love some of these 8 tips for managing frustration that Catherine Praat writes about.  I especially love her idea of making an “accomplishments log” every month.  It can be as simple as a few notes recorded in your phone, but it can help you see what you are doing, rather than what you’re not.


How do you handle feeling defeated and stressed? I’d love to hear your strategies in the comments below!

Have a lovely and productive week!


P.S. Photography fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in the Canadian Rockies a few years ago.

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