Prepare a Plan for How to Deal with Any Crisis in Your Life
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Stress Management Coaching
This week, I want to offer that the best way to deal with any crisis or difficult situation is to plan for it in advance. Good planning can help you to feel less stressed than you would feel without it.
Now, you may be thinking, why would you want to plan for a crisis--something that disrupts your life and throws you for a loop? It may sound morbid, for example, to plan for someone's death or to anticipate a major catastrophe like a flood or a serious illness.
But here's what we know for sure. As long as we are still alive, people in our lives are going to die at some point. And while it's not fun to contemplate, it's better to have a plan than not to.
The same goes for planning for a natural disaster or any other unforeseen event. Of course, you don't want anything like that to happen, but it's better to be prepared just in case it does. That's why we all have homeowners' and car insurance, after all. We pray we will never need to use it. But we wouldn't dare decide not to carry it.
While you can't plan for everything that might happen, there are a few things you can do to help you prepare for the various curveballs that will likely hit you in life at one point or another.
Think Through Different Scenarios And Analyze What You Need To Do To Be Ready for Each One
Effective crisis planning requires that you think ahead in advance.
Brainstorm the potential scenarios.
Create mental images of the problems you may run into and the opportunities you may find so you can overcome them.
Write down all the potential scenarios you can think of. For example, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, always have your supplies ready for a week to ten days if you lose power or can't get to a store.
If you live out in a rural area, it might be good to have a generator, so you have enough power to get you through the storm—keep the cars gassed up just in case. Create a checklist of all the things you need to do in case a bad storm hits.
It may be that you are facing a crisis in your work life. People lose their jobs every day, and more often than not, it's through no fault of theirs. Companies merge and let people go. Companies go out of business every day and leave their employees jobless.
I have met hundreds of people over the years who have lost their jobs because of circumstances beyond their control. Sometimes they saw it coming, but more often than not, they didn't, and it totally blindsided them. That's a crisis for sure, and it's one you should try to plan ahead for just in case it happens to you.
The coach I used to work with admonished all her clients and coaches that "every job is temporary," and we should all behave accordingly. You don't have to be left in the lurch if something happens to your job if you have planned for that contingency by setting aside some money for that proverbial "rainy day."
Make A List of the Things That Are Inside Your Control
You have to recognize that there are some things you can control and others that you cannot. It will help in the long run if you are clear on which before finding yourself in the middle of a crisis.
Last year, the pandemic taught us what was outside our control.
I don't know about you, but the pandemic threw me for a loop. It was outside the realm of my control. All we could do was make the best of a bad situation.
Thankfully, there were things we could do to protect ourselves, like wearing a mask in public and washing our hands routinely. We could also choose to stay home as much as possible. But everything else was outside our control, and the sooner we recognized that the better it was for everyone.
The pandemic is just one of the dozens of situations that are outside our control, however. If you have ever had cancer or some other serious disease, you learn quickly what you can control and what you can't. Likewise, when you lose a loved one, you similarly realize that there are some things you have control over and others that are simply out of your hands.
We don't like not feeling like we are in control 100% of the time. Trust me. I know. But the fact is that sometimes we just have to be okay with not being in total control of what is happening and figuring out what we have control over and what we don't.
Now Make a List The Things That You Can’t Control
Once you have made your list of the things you can control, write another of the things you can’t control. This list will demonstrate what you should and shouldn’t focus on.
The problem is, when you focus on the things you can’t control, it leaves you frustrated and stressed. You will also likely give up trying to change the situation if you feel powerless by the things you can’t change.
Be honest with yourself and others about the parts of the situation you have no control over. Then, focus your attention on the things you can control. These are some of the best ways to create a plan for dealing with a crisis or difficult situation.
Get Help If You Need It
Knowing when you need to seek help is a huge part of overcoming a difficult situation or crisis in your life. Everyone needs help on occasion, no matter how strong you think you are.
Asking for help isn’t always easy, but it can make a huge difference in how quickly you overcome a difficult situation. So the question may be, how do you know when you need to get professional help?
Ways to tell If You Need Help
You may not always know when it's time to look for professional help. Many people think they can deal with their problems themselves. But if any of the following resonates with you, you may want to reach out for help:
· You are finding it increasingly hard to cope with day-to-day life
· You feel sad, anxious, or you are uncharacteristically irritable much of the time
· You can’t get over a hurt or trauma from your past even though a fair amount of time has gone by
· You are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
· Nothing you have tried is helping
We all feel sad, blue, and anxious during difficult times in our lives. But if those feelings linger and start impacting your day-to-day life or you feel like this more often than not, it might be time to ask for help.
Unresolved feelings from something that happened to you a while ago could be impacting you negatively now.
Past pain and trauma can cause you to react in unhealthy ways.
Overcoming any unresolved hurt is the key to moving forward. And it will help in dealing with the tough situations life throws at you along the way. A licensed therapist will be able to help you address and overcome past trauma.
Where To Find The Help
So, where can you go to find professional help when you need it? First, ask a friend or your physician for a referral. Second, if you are part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work, check it out. You can use their services for free for a certain number of sessions.
These days, you can even find online help in the privacy of your own home.
The key is to ask for help before things get worse.
Whatever plan you may need to make to help you deal with the things that can hit you in life, know that you can find resources and people who are eager to help. You don't have to deal with your trauma alone.
Until next time.
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