A crisis is not polite.
It doesn’t announce itself.
It just drops itself right there in front of you.
For me the news came completely out of the blue, no preparation, no insight and no avoiding it.
So many of us are finding ourselves in places we never expected and potentially had no control over. A year like 2020 has thrown at us plenty of stress and a fair bit of mental health concerns. But sharing my challenges and the way I have tried to deal with it is part of my plan to bounce back.
When a crisis landed on me I felt everything was out of control. I did not know why this had happened and what I was going to do next. There was no magic button for me to press that was going to shed light on everything. I was not able to suddenly jump up and take action and start planning next steps. I was now on a new journey, one that was going to take even more energy than the workdays I had so abruptly left behind.
And so it began.
The first day is an unusual one. Here I am with doubt in my heart and hands that are idle. Where now? What now? I know I don’t want to be wandering around the house as I have such a feeling of shame and I cannot look my partner in her eyes. You try to tell yourself this is not your fault and while it really is not your fault, it will take time before you believe these words.
Day 1 was the lowest point on the journey back, other days came and went. There were of course further low moments but never as despairing or as deep as day 1.
I promise, it does get better but you will need to be kind to yourself and take some important steps in order to stay positive.
Be aware of your emotions
The easiest thing I found to do in my crisis was to panic about my future. Do you think that helped me in any way?
In order to keep yourself positive and moving forward it is important to make sure you manage your emotions. This doesn’t mean ignore them, it means to become aware of them and don’t hide from them. Know what emotions you are going through and put a name to them.
Typical emotions that are felt during at a time like this are similar to grief.
- Uncertainty about future
All of these feelings are perfectly normal – it means you are human.
Support yourself by staying active, get up and move around and enjoy the time with your family. But most of all talk to someone, express what you are going through to a partner, a friend or your health care professional. Don’t keep silent.
Understand what you can control during a crisis
So it has happened, that is a fact and therefore nothing you can do will change it. It is important to give yourself a break and not expect to be able to control everything. Don’t waste your energy stressing about things you cannot control. Be realistic with yourself and focus on what you can control
You just cannot take everything on your shoulders. This was an important start for me, if you believe you can control everything then the next thing to come is blame. Blame never works, our journey will not benefit from the pointing of fingers.
I learned this a few days in but after working myself up far too much.
So it might be okay to be idle at the start of your journey, while you get a handle on your emotions but don’t let this become the norm. This is the time to stay accountable and to keep moving forward.
Make your plans and put them into action. There is no point having plans and goals if you don’t keep yourself accountable and move towards them. Don’t look at these goals as a big mountain to climb but separate them into smaller manageable size tasks and keep ticking them off.
These tasks could be your search for a new job and the updating of your CV, LinkedIn profile and reaching out to contacts. It can also be something that you have wanted to do for a long time – this site is a result of me setting a plan and being accountable.
Get out of your comfort zone
When a crisis hits doing the same thing as you always do, while comfortable, does not lead you to success. While it is definitely easier said than done, take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Look at where you are from a different angle and see all possibilities. Don’t shy away from looking at your actions too and what you could do differently. Great outcomes don’t come from doing the same thing again and again, be bold, be loud.
Keep your goal front of mind and find all the possibilities to get there.
Getting through a crisis takes bravery and belief. Remaining positive is the first and most difficult step of that important journey. There are other characteristics to help you through this and to support you going forward.
Everyday is not going to be great and it doesn’t have to be, remember be kind to yourself.
You are taking an important step on your journey to bouncing back.
More articles to come on resilience and moving forward.
For further support reach out to your mental health support network. some resources are below