Why is Life So Hard and What Can I Do to Feel Better?

Even on my best days, I sometimes wonder why life is so hard. Then on my worst days, I might scream it at the top of my lungs and wonder is life worth living. It’s easy for negative thoughts to creep into our minds during hard times when bad things are happening and life feels overwhelming. 

But we must remember that difficult times don’t last, and good things happen around us all the time. Negative emotions are temporary, and life is well worth all the ups and downs that are a very normal part of living your best life.  We need to understand what to expect, keep everything in perspective, and understand what we can (and should) do to feel better.

sad middle aged women rests her head in her hands and wonders why is life so hard

Let’s look at the many reasons that might cause us to ask ‘Why is life so hard?‘ and what we can do to feel better as women in midlife and beyond–or at any stage of life!

Why is Life So Hard and What Can I Do to Feel Better?

Life is a beautiful, ever-changing journey filled with ups and downs. As middle-aged and senior women, we often find ourselves facing unique challenges that can make life feel particularly hard. But fear not, because there are ways to navigate these obstacles and find a sense of peace and fulfillment along the way.

It’s important to recognize that the negative experiences we encounter are not a reflection of our failures or shortcomings. Rather, they are a natural part of the human experience.

Juggling multiple responsibilities, such as work, family, caregiving, and a household can leave us feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained.  It’s a definite drain on our mental health. 

Additionally, the changes that come with aging, both physically and emotionally, can add another layer of complexity to our lives.

Understanding and accepting these challenges is the first step towards finding ways to feel better. By acknowledging the unique pressures and expectations placed on middle-aged and senior women, we can begin to address them head-on and stop wondering ‘why is life so hard?’

Throughout our lives, society places unrealistic standards on us, expecting us to effortlessly balance career aspirations and family obligations. Look at social media and the way it glamorizes perfection. There’s no such thing as a hard life on social media, right?  But that’s simply not real life. Hard times exist even in the best of lives!

close up of worried middle aged woman looking off into the distance with tissue in her hands

Another significant challenge we face is the role of caregiving. Whether it’s caring for aging parents, grandchildren, or another family member, the emotional and physical toll it takes on us cannot be overlooked.

It is hard work to take care of someone else. It’s crucial to find ways to care for ourselves while caring for others. Neglecting our own well-being only exacerbates the challenges we face.

It’s essential to recognize and be prepared for these challenges, while also focusing on our own well-being and mindset.

In the midst of life’s difficulties, self-care emerges as a powerful tool to help us feel better and regain our balance. Self-care means prioritizing our own needs and making conscious efforts to nurture our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. Self care is not selfish; it’s necessary. It’s the only way to manage life, especially when it gets hard. 

There are numerous ways to incorporate self-care into our daily lives. Regular exercise or physical activity tailored to our capabilities can have a profound impact on our overall well-being. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help us find moments of calm and inner peace in the chaos of life.

It’s also essential to engage in activities that bring us joy, whether it’s immersing ourselves in a good book, tending to a garden, or pursuing hobbies that ignite our passions.  Even little things such as a favorite movie or dancing to our favorite tunes are important components of self-care that will help us manage challenges.

Furthermore, nurturing social connections and maintaining a support network of friends and loved ones is vital. We all need a support system to lean on during challenging times. By fostering meaningful relationships, we create a sense of belonging and find comfort in knowing that we are not alone on this journey.

Remember, embracing the ups and downs of life’s journey is the best way to maintain a positive attitude and feel better about life.  It’s about accepting that difficult times will arise but also believing in our ability to overcome them. 

By prioritizing self-care and seeking ways to feel better, we can navigate life’s difficulties with resilience, grace, and a renewed sense of purpose.

So, let’s embark on this journey together and discover the joy that awaits us along the way, even when challenges cause us to ask ‘why is life so hard?

close up middle aged woman gets medical treatment for a large sore on her chin

Understand Life’s Challenges

There are certain things in life that everyone experiences. Hard things that bring us down and great things that raise us up. But the better we understand that these experiences are a normal part of modern life, the better we can deal with the lows that cause us to wonder why life is so hard.

Life really isn’t hard, you know? Yes, there are tough times, but we have to focus on the better times. Different people respond in different ways but often the way we respond to a difficult situation can make a big difference. 

Think about these life challenges and how you respond to them:

  1. Loss and Grief: Coping with the death of a loved one, or the loss of a friendship can be very difficult for most people but if you are open to accepting it, you’ll manage better.
  2. Financial Struggles: Managing and overcoming financial hardships can be a significant challenge for individuals and couples.
  3. Relationship Issues: Navigating the complexities of relationships at all stages of life can sometimes cause distress and dissatisfaction.
  4. Career Uncertainty: Finding the right career path, or dealing with a sudden change in employment can be challenging. It can feel like you’ve lost control of your life. 
  5. Health Problems: Dealing with physical or mental health issues can have a significant impact on your well-being. Depression, chronic pain, mental illness, and cancer are just some challenging health issues that life throws our way. 
  6. Loneliness: Feeling isolated or lacking a sense of belonging can make life feel challenging. We all feel these emotions at times in life.
  7. Self-Doubt: Overcoming self-doubt and building self-confidence can be an important lifelong journey. Personal growth activities can help.
  8. Time Management: Balancing various responsibilities and commitments can be overwhelming for most of us sometimes.
  9. Decision-Making: Making important life choices can be stressful and lead to feelings of uncertainty.
  10. Balancing Priorities: Juggling work, family, personal goals, and other obligations can feel like an ongoing struggle.
  11. Rejection and Failure: Dealing with rejection or setbacks can be emotionally challenging.
  12. Overcoming Fear: Facing and overcoming fears can be a daunting task for many people.
frustrated black woman sits at a lap top with her head resting on her hand wondering why is life so hard
  1. Adjusting to Change: Adapting to new situations and embracing change can be difficult for many individuals. Even a minor disruption to a daily routine can be traumatic for some people and coping mechanisms can be more difficult for some than others.
  2. Finding Meaning and Purpose: Discovering one’s purpose and finding meaning in life can be a lifelong pursuit. Personal growth is a lifelong process; it should be a natural part of a good life. 
  3. Managing Stress and Anxiety: Coping with stress and finding healthy ways to relax and recharge can be a constant challenge. Learning emotional regulation skills can be more difficult for some than others. And many people struggle with anxiety disorders such as social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder.
  4. Dealing with Uncertainty: Learning to embrace uncertainty and navigate through periods of ambiguity can be challenging for many people.
  5. Setting Boundaries: Establishing healthy boundaries in relationships and learning to say no can be a difficult but necessary task.
  6. Overcoming Regret: Letting go of past regrets and forgiving oneself can be a challenging process.
  7. Embracing Discomfort: Pushing beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone can be challenging. It requires facing unfamiliar situations, taking risks, and embracing discomfort. Phew! We all know this one!
  8. Overcoming Distractions: Living in the present moment can be challenging in a world full of distractions. From technology and social media to busy schedules and constant demands, it can be difficult to fully immerse ourselves in the present.
  9. Traumatic Experiences: We all experience trauma at some point in our lives, and it can have a significant impact on our lives. A car accident, childhood abuse, deployment, nightmares, and substance abuse are just some types of trauma that people need to learn to deal with.
  10. Discrimination: Many of us experience some type of discrimination in life — racial, religious, age, disability, sexual, and national origin are just a few types of discrimination that people have to deal with.

I’m sure you can relate to many, if not all of these challenges in life. When I was making the list, I could think of many specific experiences throughout my life when I experienced these challenges. I even felt the intense emotions associated with each event.

I remembered not being able to sleep at night, crying until there were no more tears, fighting with all my might to change something that was unfair, realizing that someone had taken advantage of me, horrific panic attacks, the sadness that overwhelmed me when I lost my parents, and the feeling that I was never going to be able to be happy again.

Everyone faces their unique set of challenges, but overall, our experiences are typical of a normal life and it’s normal to question why life can be hard at times.

But by finding emotional support, seeking personal growth, managing our negative thinking and maintaining a positive mindset, and understanding that life comes with ups and downs, we can navigate the challenges and grow stronger along the way. Even on bad days. Let’s learn more below.  

middle aged woman rests her head in her hands in front of a computer wondering why is life so hard

How Can I Feel Better About Life?

Once you’ve learned to accept and understand that everyone faces difficult times that cause them to question why life is so hard, you are on your way to improving how you manage your feelings and those difficult times. There are several things you can do to help yourself feel better.

In this section we will discuss some major strategies that will help you feel better about life. First and foremost, the most helpful strategy is learning to cultivate a positive mindset. This makes a difference in how you look at everything in life.

Secondly, it is important for you to learn how to practice self care regularly and without compromise. Simply put, self care is non-negotiable. You need enough sleep and energy to deal with life’s challenges.

Next, it is important for you to learn how to embrace change and reinvention. You know the saying about closing one door and opening another — you will never know what lies ahead if you don’t keep an open heart and mind.

Lastly, you will want to find your meaning, passions, and purpose in life. This will help you set goals and continually move forward even when life gets difficult.

Let’s learn a bit more about each of these strategies so we are always prepared for tough times in life! Before long, you won’t need to wonder why life is so hard because you’ll be breezing through the tough times like a pro!

Cultivate a Positive Mindset

When faced with life’s challenges, maintaining a positive mindset can make all the difference. Stepping outside of your comfort zones, embracing discomfort, and approaching difficulties with a positive outlook can lead to personal growth, resilience, and a greater sense of empowerment.

Let’s explore several strategies that can help you develop a positive mindset toward dealing with any of life’s challenges:

  1. Practice Gratitude: Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. By focusing on the positives in your life, you shift your perspective towards a more optimistic outlook. An attitude of gratitude will change your life!
  2. Reframe Challenges as Opportunities: Instead of viewing challenges as obstacles, reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace the idea that every challenge presents a chance to develop new skills, gain wisdom, and become a stronger individual.
  3. Cultivate Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding when facing difficulties. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging that everyone encounters challenges and that it’s okay to make mistakes or experience setbacks along the way.
  4. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a support network when facing challenges. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can garner valuable perspectives, guidance, and emotional support. You may want to seek professional help, also.
  5. Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, journaling, affirmations and/or deep breathing, to help anchor yourself in the present moment. Mindfulness is an effective way to reduce stress, enhance self-awareness, and improve your ability to navigate challenges with clarity and calmness.
  6. Focus on Solution-Oriented Thinking: Instead of dwelling on problems, shift your focus to finding solutions. Train your mind to identify opportunities and take proactive steps towards resolving challenges, rather than getting caught up in negativity or self-doubt.
  7. Embrace Change: Recognize that change is a natural part of life and that it can bring positive outcomes. Embracing change with an open mind and a willingness to adapt can help you navigate challenges more effectively and find new opportunities for growth.
  8. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Engage in activities that bring you joy, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being. Taking care of yourself equips you with the resilience and strength needed to face challenges head-on.
  9. Feel Your Emotions: It’s important to acknowledge and honor your emotions when facing challenges and feeling low. Allow yourself to feel and process your emotions without judgment. Whether it’s sadness, anger, or frustration, allowing yourself to experience these emotions helps you understand and navigate them in a healthy way to help you deal with your current situation. Emotions are natural for all human beings, and by acknowledging and accepting them, you can move toward healing and growth.
three middle aged women put their heads together for a fun selfie
  1. Surround Yourself with Good People: Being around good people can provide a strong support system, valuable perspectives, and a positive influence during challenging times.
  2. Minimize Distractions: Limiting distractions, such as excessive screen time or multitasking, allows you to focus your energy and attention on the challenges at hand, opening your mind for greater clarity and productivity.
  3. Set Boundaries: Create boundaries with technology, work, and people to carve out dedicated time for relaxation, self-care, and self-reflection.
  4. Clarify Your Values: Sometimes when life changes and we are questioning why life is hard, we need to take time to reassess what’s important and how we are going to adjust to a new norm so that our personal values and goals are addressed.
  5. Avoid Comparison: Don’t let comparison interfere with your attitude toward life. How often have you asked why is life so hard when you’re comparing your life to what you see in others? Too often, I bet.

Remember, the present moment is where life truly unfolds. By overcoming distractions and cultivating mindfulness, you can savor the richness of each moment and find greater joy and fulfillment in your daily life. Thus, you will have no reason to wonder “why is life so hard?” Right?

Growth happens when you are willing to explore the unknown and challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone from time to time, as it can lead to remarkable experiences and personal transformation.

Additionally, don’t be afraid of your emotions. If you don’t deal with them, they could haunt you later. Step outside of what feels safe and familiar even when it causes you to feel vulnerable or intimidated. It can help you expand your horizons, learn new skills, and gain confidence in your ability to adapt and overcome challenges so you don’t find yourself asking “why is life so hard.”

Cultivating a positive mindset will help you deal with all of life’s challenges!

Next time, when you are facing a tough time, give yourself a little bit of grace and understand that everyone has bad experiences in life. And know that your response to the bad experiences can help you feel much better.  

beautiful happy black woman smiles as she walks outside among trees

Prioritize Self-Care

I’ve reviewed this in lots of other articles on Sassy Sister Stuff, but I can’t emphasize it enough. When we are feeling particularly low and questioning why life is so hard, it’s more crucial than ever to prioritize self-care.

It doesn’t matter what others think or feel about your self-care practices; it’s important to remember that self-care is NOT a luxury — it’s an essential. However, some people can be very judgmental about self-care if they don’t recognize the importance of it in their own lives. 

My mother never understood why I felt the need to go to counseling regularly. She kept saying I didn’t have any reason to talk to a counselor about my life. I eventually just stopped trying to explain the concept of mental health therapy to her and we stopped discussing it. I knew what I needed for my self-preservation and self-care.

Self-care is a vital component of maintaining your overall well-being. Taking the time to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional needs can have a profound impact on your happiness and quality of life. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for a happy, meaningful life! 

Self care includes engaging in activities that bring you joy, such as practicing mindfulness, exercising, or indulging in hobbies you love. It is not only about pampering yourself, but also about establishing healthy boundaries, managing stress, and nurturing a positive mindset.

Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, eliminate toxicity, do something every day for yourself, spend time with people you enjoy. Be honest with yourself and others about the way you are feeling. Bottling it up will never solve the problem.

Find joy in little things, focus on gratitude, do more of what makes you happy. Build a network of friends, loved ones, and professionals who support your efforts to practice free will and live your own life. Then you won’t need to ask why is life so hard!

By investing in self-care habits, you can recharge your energy, boost your self-esteem, and cultivate a healthier relationship with yourself and others. When things get tough in life (and they will), you’ll be in a healthier frame of mind to deal with everything.

You may find these related articles very helpful as you learn to prioritize self care to help you feel better about life:

happy black woman wears an apron to do what she loves

Embrace Change and Reinvention

Life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges our way, leaving us wondering why it feels so hard at times. But let me share a secret with you — embracing change and reinvention can be incredibly transformative.

As a woman who has experienced the power of these practices firsthand, I want to encourage you to open yourself up to the possibilities that lie ahead.

One way to start this transformative journey is by exploring new passions or hobbies. Different things can awaken your sense of curiosity and bring a renewed sense of purpose to your life. Whether it’s painting, gardening, writing, or even trying out a new sport, diving into something new can ignite a spark within you.

Embrace the excitement of learning and allow yourself to indulge in the joy that comes with trying something different. The best thing I did was start going to the local indoor heated pool and exercising with other ladies my age.  It was an easy way to address my mind, body, and soul. I met new people and opened myself up to new perspectives.

Participating in ongoing personal growth and learning is equally important, especially as mature women. Lifelong learning not only keeps our minds sharp, but it also keeps us engaged with the ever-evolving world around us.

happy woman writes notes on her notebook in preparation for a good day

You can attend workshops, enroll in online classes, or join book clubs. By continually expanding your knowledge and skills, you prevent yourself from feeling stagnant and ensure that you remain relevant and adaptable.

You can do like I’ve done and start a blog! The learning curve has been phenomenal and I feel so much more connected to people all over the world. I’ve met people who teach me about everything from search engine optimization, online marketing, and creating a website to learning how to use all the different social media platforms. I never knew my brain could hold so much new knowledge but the good news is it has been super fun and fascinating!

But why is all of this important? It’s because embracing change, exploring new passions, and engaging in personal growth and learning can have a profound positive impact on our mindset and attitude. They offer us an opportunity to break free from the limitations we may have placed upon ourselves and embrace the endless possibilities that exist within and around us. Plus, it doesn’t leave much time for negative thinking! 

As we navigate the journey of life, challenges are inevitable. Instead of fearing them, let’s embrace them with open arms and appreciate the personal growth opportunities.

Embracing change and reinvention allows us to discover new facets of ourselves, build resilience, and cultivate a positive outlook. So step outside of your comfort zone, explore new interests, and commit to lifelong learning. The rewards will be immeasurable, and you’ll find yourself approaching life’s challenges with a newfound sense of strength, optimism, and fulfillment — rather than asking why is life so hard.

close up of happy middle aged woman who has discovered how to handle hard situations in life

Find Your Meaning, Passions, and Purpose

Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect life or an easy life!  The only thing we can do is work hard to create an easier life for ourselves and our families.  The modern world is tough enough on everyone — so we need to take charge and make it what we want!    

We need to work on the most important things and let go of chaos, toxicity, envy, and drama.  We also need to mind our own business!  You need to focus on the meaning, passions, and purpose of your life!

The first thing is to identify what’s truly important to you and what you need in life to feel like a happy, successful person.  You can start by asking yourself these questions and reflecting on your answers:

  1. Do you need a certain amount of money to feel happy and successful? 
  2. Do you value mentorship and volunteer opportunities? 
  3. Do you want to spend a lot of time with your family?  Or more time at work?
  4. How can you use your own strengths to create the life you want?   
  5. Are new things and new experiences important to you? 
  6. Do you need a lot of people around you to feel happy? 
  7. What does a peaceful life look like to you? 
  8. What does a healthy work-life balance look like to you?
  9. How do you celebrate the small wins in your life?
  10. What makes your soul feel genuinely happy?
  11. How do you handle making a difficult decision? 
  12. At the end of the day, what do you need most in your life? 
  13. What truly brings you joy in life?
  14. What are your core values, such as integrity, compassion, and growth, that lead to a sense of fulfillment?
  15. What kind of impact do you want to make on the world? On the people around you?
beautiful black middle aged woman smiles and talks on the phone as she does business

It doesn’t matter how you answer these questions – as long as you identify your meaning, passions, and purpose in life so you can be in charge of your life instead of letting life get in the way of your happiness. 

Self-discovery is a lifelong journey, and it’s okay for your answers to evolve over time. Ask yourself these questions anytime you feel a shift in your mindset. Throughout the self-discovery and self-awareness process, you’ll learn to embrace your wisdom and confidence to choose happiness everyday.

You’ll develop a positive mindset and know how to deal with difficult times. Don’t let a negative attitude cloud your vision or negatively impact your meaning, passions, and purpose in life.

Never again ask why is life so hard! You’re on your way to finding the answers and realizing that life is hard for everyone sometimes, but you have all the tools to deal with it!

Related Article: 12 Important Elements of a Balanced Life

happy middle aged woman in a pretty red shirt sits on a sofa and smiles

Final Thoughts: Why is Life so Hard?

Remember that you will never be the only person who struggles in life and wonders, “why is life so hard?”  And you’ll always be able to handle even the hardest things that come your way if you prioritize the strategies that we’ve reviewed above.  

You won’t have to ever take the path of least resistance when you are prepared with a positive mindset.  You’ll be able to choose the best way to handle problems and stay motivated to reach your goals for a peaceful, happy, and successful life!  You won’t need to ask why life is so hard anymore.

You’ve got this, my friend!

Love to ALL! ~ Susan

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