You’re cruising along, making progress, taking the normal ups and downs in stride… suddenly, without warning… BAM! The rug gets pulled out from under you and you find yourself spinning, reeling, and unable to take a breath deep enough to satisfy your lungs. What do you do when crisis strikes your home? How do you stop yourself from falling all the way down to the bottom? Is there a bottom, or is it just fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) that grabs hold?
My world changed a few weeks ago and it shook the very core of my being. And although I am not in the clear by any means, I feel I am now able to at least start gathering the pieces of myself and my family and pulling them into some semblance of normalcy!
Holding on to the sides of the wall is progress from tumbling with increasing velocity… so here are some tools and lessons that helped stop my fall and kept me strong for my children:
Perspective and gratitude.
No matter WHAT’S happening, it can always be worse. That may sound trite, but it is so very true. At the height of our crisis, I continued (and continue) to count my blessings and focus on the things that are going right. It doesn’t eradicate the fear and reality of what’s happening altogether, but it’s a great home base
Take a break for self-care.
After being in survival-mode for so many days in a row, I was horrified to find that I hadn’t eaten or slept in quite some time. This only makes the situation worse!! It is not selfish (well, it’s the appropriate selfish) to stop, breathe, take a long bath, or spend some time laughing in the midst of crisis. Even 10 minutes can repair parts of your soul and make a huge difference in your perspective and ability to cope.
Keep routines in place.
Despite the world being upside-down, I did my best to keep as much of my normal routine in place so things did not take a nose dive even faster. There is comfort and ease in routine schedules. Of course, eating and sleeping would have been good parts of my routine to keep in place, but… progress not perfection!
Keep your children in the loop… appropriately.
While I didn’t tell my children the absolute depth and underlying meanings of what was happening, I did make them aware that we were in trouble. This accomplished two things: allowed them to creatively step into their power and pool resources that I may not have considered and kept them out of the “scary unknown”. Going through something of this magnitude and trying to maintain that all is perfectly fine with your children is extremely detrimental. The unknown, unspoken tension is so much worse than the reality of a situation. But again, this doesn’t mean spilling adult-sized problems onto little shoulders. Filters and balance are key.
Ask for help.
This is a TOUGH one! I have never been good at it, and it is not comfortable at all for me. But I did it, and I am blown away by the outpouring of love and assistance from friends and neighbors. Gratitude!
Receive with grace.
Shutting my mouth and saying, “Thank you” is also not one of my strengths. What I realized is that by not accepting or excusing away assistance offered is denying someone the gift of helping. It’s not all about me
Feel your emotions but don’t let them consume you.
I found myself consistently toggling back and forth between getting caught up in the hideous emotions that accompany a situation such as this and not feeling anything at all. Neither of these are the right choice. By feeling my emotions, I am honoring them rather than stuffing them down. But that doesn’t mean I have to stay there and build a condo, as someone once told me! I cannot effectively process and release emotions unless I allow myself to feel them.
It is easy to continue to look for the one situation or event that I think will solve my problem. But that is limited thinking. I can be open to multiple solutions that come in many forms. I will continue to explore them all with an open mind, as well as fine-tune what I’m already doing. It’s not a “here and there” situation, it’s a growth opportunity. Yes, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!
I hope these tools help you through anything that comes your way!
How do you handle unexpected twists and turns from life? I’d love to hear! Also, stay tuned as I resume the amazing projects I have in store for all of you… I promise they are worth the wait!