Encountering difficult situations, especially at work, is inevitable. It is not uncommon to find ourselves challenged with unexpected situations or problems that leave you feeling stuck. Here are a few ways to help you overcome obstacles and beat the stress!

Put aside your emotions

When you encounter a problem, you may feel overwhelmed, nervous, frustrated, and so on. Your feelings are normal and valid, but do not let them hinder your performance or drive you to engage in unnecessary conflict. Take some time to work through and process your emotions. Acknowledge and address what you are feeling but do not let them manifest as thoughts that could lead to a mental block.

Focus on only the problem and the process - do what you can control and the rest will follow.

Reflect and assess the situation


Before directly jumping into the problem, take some time to assess the situation. Clearly understand and define the problem, work backward to understand what is needed to solve it, analyze the skills and resources you have, and identify any gaps to find out what you need to help you with the task. Thoroughly research possible plans or ideas, or reassess a workflow you tried but did not work out - be open to constantly adapting and readjusting your plans.

Break it down

Once you have done the background work, it is time to get started! 

Rather than tackling the entire problem at once, which can be extremely daunting and tough to navigate, start by taking small steps. Break down a bigger task into smaller, specific tasks that are easy to handle and track.

Ask for help


Get help if you need it! Help could be extra learning resources, guidance from a coworker, support from a friend or family member, or even simple words of encouragement from someone else. It’s completely normal to need some help - rather than trying to handle everything on your own it can be much more productive to reach out and get assistance from someone else. Working with another person can help you realize different thinking patterns, give you a new perspective, and even give you that extra push to motivate you to conquer the task.

Take a break

As counterintuitive as it seems, taking a break when you feel stuck can be extremely beneficial. Taking a step back from the problem can help you handle the stress and any negative emotions holding you back and also make you more relaxed, refreshed, and well-rested; which will make you better equipped to tackle the problem.

Check progress rather than results


Remember, more than the final goal, track your progress! Success is not binary, and any progress is still progress. Don’t measure your entire success on the end goal. Even if you are not happy with the result, the learning experience will still be valuable to carry forward with you.

About the Author

Meghana Ganesh is a Community Manager at Her Second Innings. She is a Computer Science Graduate with a passion for women’s empowerment and equality, and diversity hiring in organizations.

Her Second Innings supports women professionals on a sabbatical in their journey of getting back to work. The mission of HSI is to guide women to achieve financial independence. Support from HSI comes in the form of job interviewsreskilling programs in Automation and, free Career Guidance Counselling. Sign up with us and complete your profile to get a call from our counselors to know your job fit.


“The opinions expressed are those of the author. This blog claims no credit for any images or content posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images and content on this blog belong to their respective owners. If there is an image or content on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please e-mail us with a link to said image or content and it will be promptly removed”