Your life can be moving along smoothly on many levels. The future can look rosy, then everything can change in a moment. You could face disaster, disease, or discouragement, a significant setback. When thrown off your normal life’s course, the looming question is how to get back to a predictable routine or a better position. Know that you are not alone.
Unexpected shocks, such as a partner walking out and leaving you alone, or maybe facing a different but equally serious crisis—like losing a loved one, being diagnosed with a chronic illness, or losing your job. In these moments, it’s hard to know what to do. If you find yourself feeling lost, start working your way back…by calling upon your inner personal strength and resiliency. recovery is a process.
Take the Time to Process
The worst thing you can do during a crisis is to run from your feelings. If you try to bottle them up, these feelings will just come out in other ways. Usually, these are self-destructive activities like overeating, drinking to excess, or medicating yourself.
Instead of ignoring these feelings, lean into them. If you need to cry, scream, or cuss, then do it. Write a lengthy journal entry about how much you hate your ex. Call up your best friend and cry on her shoulder.
Remember, your feelings aren’t good or bad. They’re just emotions, and you may feel a whole range of them. For example, when Emma’s mom died, she felt relieved more than anything. But the relief quickly morphed to guilt. She shared her feelings with a friend who pointed out Emma’s mom had been suffering from a debilitating illness for years. “Your relief is there because she no longer suffers. That’s perfectly natural, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. Emotions simply are.”
Do the Next Thing
When a crisis strikes, it’s tempting to look at the big picture and freak out. You might wonder if you’ll be alone forever. You may worry that you’ll never be able to rebuild your life or be happy again. These fears are reasonable, and they’re part of walking through a crisis.
But it’s not helpful to overthink about the future when you’re going through trauma. It’s much smarter to focus on the next thing you need to do. For example, instead of thinking about the surgeries you have upcoming or the hundreds of decisions you’ll have to make now that you’re a single parent, look to the present.
What’s the next thing you need to right now? Is it to go to the pharmacy and pick up your medications? Or put on food for dinner?
Decide what the next task you need to do is and give it all of your attention. You don’t have to worry about how everything will turn out. Instead, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
During a crisis or significant life event, it’s important to take time out for yourself. This means making sure your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met. Try to eat healthy foods that energize your body. Go for a walk in the sunshine. Color or do another calming artistic activity.
This may seem like the worst time to practice self-care, but it’s actually the best. You need to be at the top of your game during a crisis, and you can’t do that if you’re not feeling your best.
Do set aside at least ten minutes to do something relaxing—meditate, cuddle with your pet, focus on your breathing, read short inspirational material, stretch, or watch a funny YouTube video.
Finding your way back after a crisis takes time, so be patient with yourself. It may be a long, winding road with plenty of twists and turns. But you’ll get there, and when the journey is over, you’ll be glad you kept moving forward.
Discover how to overcome setbacks and obstacles when you download your free workbook (Bounce Back – Master the Power of Resiliency)!