Challenges are bound to happen at some point in our life. Whether it’s rejection, death, sickness or any form of struggle, it can be a challenge to dig ourselves out.


So, how do we cope in times of crisis?

Life is always going to throw us curve balls and nothing ever goes as planned, you know? Some curve balls may be more difficult to push through than others, but it is possible. It is possible to push through and see the light.


In the past year, I’ve dealt with three deaths in my family. Lots of people getting sick and major changes in my business. The amount of stress that I have encountered is indescribable to be totally real with you.

Some days, I just want to sit in bed and cry. Other days, I do just that.

Growing up, I thought the worst possible emotions that I could experience were depression and anxiety. I was bullied. I came home crying everyday, but the thing is that I knew I’d do something special in life.

I didn’t see myself as a victim.

In a weird way, I was grateful because I was thrown into this obstacle in life that made me tough. That gave me a purpose. A purpose that allowed me to write this blog post for you today and record my podcasts.

The deaths that I have faced in the last year though… have taken those emotions to another level. I now face daily panic attacks and is sleeping even a thing anymore?

As awful as these emotions are, and as awful as these losses have been, the reality is that I’m still here. I have to move forward with my memories because my life matters.



That was very difficult for me to say for a very long time. I felt so selfish and TBH, I still kind of feel selfish saying this, but it’s the truth.

The only thing that we can do about these curve balls it is strengthen ourselves to fight our way back.

I’ve done a lot of research on how to overcome and battle through hard times to feel happy. I’ve tried different things. I’ve gone for therapy.

But, what’s helped me to see the light despite the struggle was very different than what I read.

I’m going to share with you what I do to still feel alive through some of life’s most difficult moments. Remember, you don’t have to have the same struggles as I do in order to apply this to your life. My remedies can be applied to any difficult situation.

I hope you find this valuable!



What really is a crisis?

I would consider death to be a crisis. On my birthday this year, I lost my dog, Cooper.

Cooper came into my life when I was 16 years old. We had never had a pet ( except a gold fish, Javier the beta fish, a hermit crab, Benny and a gerbil for a day ), so Cooper was really the first.

During this time in my life, I was severely depressed, anxious and at times had suicidal thoughts due to bullying.

Cooper saved my life. People don’t necessarily realize the impact that Cooper had on my life and how special he really was to me. My closest friends and family KNOW that I talked about him ( and still do ) every single day, I FaceTimed him every morning and he just brought a smile to my face.

He was there for me. He showed me love. He knew when something was wrong.

If it weren’t for Cooper, I honestly don’t know where I’d be. I was at such a low point in my life and Cooper somehow helped me to see that happiness could be found. If I could find happiness in the cutest black lab/chow mix, then why can’t I find happiness in other areas of life?


When Cooper passed away, it felt like a piece of me had died as well. That piece that kept me alive. That piece of me that gave me hope.

I consider that a crisis. But, Cooper was also a miracle.

My dad always says, that two things are certain in life. We live and we die. We can’t prevent that.

So, while I’m in this crisis of losing my little hero, I had also gained more strength than ever before. Cooper taught me many lessons.

I miss Cooper more and more everyday. Visiting home in Chicago is not the same and painful. But, if it weren’t for Cooper, I wouldn’t have had that strength to make it through high school. To move to Miami by myself. To start my business. To learn how to love myself and love myself enough to be loved by Pedro.

…and so much more!

As sad as I am, Cooper is the reason you are reading this today. Possibly inspiring others. Hopefully saving someone’s life and showing them that it’s possible.

The day before Cooper passed away ( my 25th birthday ), is the day that I started this blog, podcast and community.

Weird coincidence right? I was just telling Pedro that it’s like he was there until I finally pursued my passion.

While I don’t know how I feel about the words, “everything happens for a reason,” this really made me think. He HELPED me to find my passion. I know that this may sound weird or strange, but Cooper is what pushed me.

Cooper passing away was a crisis, but he was also a blessing that I will always cherish.

Sometimes, these moments of crisis may seem impossible to overcome. It may FEEL impossible to see the light, but when we shift our mindset, we can take that step back to see the good.


When we are faced with a challenging situation, we automatically go into that “fight or flight” mode, right? I don’t like to feel my emotions because it can be painful. But, the best thing that we can do in difficult moments is to sit with those feelings. It’s ok not to be ok. Feel the emotions. Even if that means taking a day off of work.


In these moments, I set a timer for an hour ( or a as long as I need ) and…

  • Allow myself to cry

  • Journal about my emotions

  • Do nothing

  • Let my natural thoughts flow in and out of my head

Feeling bad isn’t bad. It’s human. The quickest way to feel better is to feel whatever that emotion is.

Resisting pain, causes more pain.

By avoiding the emotion, you are lengthening the time it lasts. Sometimes a good cry can help us to get through those curve balls.

The best thing that you can do ( or that’s worked really well for me ), is to allow myself that time.

  • Acknowledge what I’m feeling.

  • Understand that it’s ok.

  • Welcome those feelings.

  • Sit with them for a set amount of time and allow them to pass.

When it comes to death ( for example ), those feelings never really “pass.” So, sometimes I sit with my feelings for a few hours every week.

That’s ok.

As soon as I feel those sad emotions coming on, I drop what I’m doing, I allow myself to feel and do what I need to in order to move forward.

Forcing myself to think of happy times and forcing myself to just go back to work, doesn’t work for me.

Over the last year, this little strategy has worked. I’m still sad A LOT. But, the amount of days that I am sad have been reduced. That’s bound to happen with any obstacle in life, but it was much worse when I didn’t allow myself to feel. Now that I do this, I have happier days.


This is a fun one especially if you are creative. If you aren’t so creative, then do a list.

I really feel that life gets so hectic that we forget to appreciate what’s right in front of us. We might appreciate it, but we don’t acknowledge that appreciation on a consistent basis.


Go to a craft store or Walgreens and purchase a board or poster.

Put photos, lists and things that you are grateful to have in your life on that board. This isn’t a vision board. This is a board filled with all of the love and things in your life that you are grateful to have.

When you look at this board ( or list ), it will be a reminder of how lucky you are despite the obstacles you may face.

In addition to this board, I like to take time each day to write down ( even if it’s the same thing every day ) everything that I’m grateful for.

  • That I woke up

  • My health

  • My eyes to see

  • A roof over my head

  • My family

  • My boyfriend

  • The love that surrounds me

  • Having running water

  • Food on the table

  • A warm bed to sleep in

  • A roof over my head

  • My career

Whatever it is that you are grateful for, write it down! If you can’t write it down, you can start your day by just saying it to yourself in your head.

Don’t be afraid to get specific.

I like to say…

I’m so grateful that I woke up this morning in my warm bed next to my amazing boyfriend. That I was able to open my eyes, feel the sheets and have the ability to step out of bed to drink cold water that hydrates me. I’m so grateful to be able to have all of my senses, my health and the ability to call my mom and dad each morning.

You will begin to see that life still goes on. That you have more than you may realize. This won’t take away pain, but it will help to shift your perspective to get you through the tough times.


We are human. We have feelings. We will face crisis in life, struggles and have to overcome obstacles. No matter how big or small it may be, a challenge is a challenge.

At the end of the day, we need to survive. Because it’s necessary. It’s necessary for us to live our lives to fullest despite what we face. It’s necessary for us to be happy.

I hope that you found this valuable and can apply these three lessons to your life in whatever way works best. They take time and practice, but I can promise you that they have helped me through some of the darkest days.

These tips may be simple, but they are some of the best ways to see that spark in life when you feel down in the dumps.

How do you feel alive during tough times in life? Share with me in the comments below!





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Sydney NanbergComment