We all know how the saying goes but this one made me laugh, because when life serves you up sh*t, it's not always easy to make something positive out of it. The past few weeks have been an interesting time here. Literally everything that could go wrong has happened. It’s been a really interesting lesson on how to deal with things that are out of your control- which is something I talk about ALL the time in my wellbeing sessions. When things happen out of our control and life feels off kilter, it can be really unsettling and very hard to function. And this is where I found myself a few weeks ago. My husband had a serious injury and snapped his Achilles – for those of you who know, it’s the worst injury as it can take months to heal. So he is now in a cast on crutches and out of action for at least 10-12 weeks. So I went from having a co-parent and co-pilot in life to doing everything solo, cooking, housework, nursery pick offs and drops, driving, appointments, food shopping…. On top of that, the same week my son got the nursery bug and was full of fever and cold, up several times every night. THEN just when I started to find my feet !! and get to grips with it all, my car died on the motorway in a spectacular fashion and is now in car heaven. When everything happened, I initially felt a massive amount of anger and fell deep into victim mode – why is this happening, why is it happening to ME? I spent that first week feeling very frustrated and angry. I know what happened was bad luck and no one’s fault and it’s not in any of our control. But I still felt angry at my situation. And it wasn’t even my foot in plaster! I felt.... Anger Rage Frustration Self pity Anxiety at the future Sad at missing all the fun Christmas stuff More rage Then I realised that I’m feeling angry at situations outside of my control. I’m NOT in control of my husband or his injury or the hospital, or the car! Once I shifted my mindset and realised that actually there are things I can do even though it FEELS hopeless, I was able to pull myself back from the edge and feel calmer.
(This photo is a good reminder from when we went to a soft play party recently and laughed belly laughs - that there are good moments even in crappy times!)
There are tools that I know have helped me and I want to share them with you in the hope they might help you too in times of feeling like life keeps giving you challenges...
1. STOP & PAUSE
It’s easy when life feels difficult to keep pushing against the challenges and try to force things to go a certain way. We rarely make rational decisions when we feel stressed so it’s best to just pause, take a few deep breaths, let things settle and take stock of where you are.
Solutions can often come up when we are in a more rational, open minded state.
For us it was a few days of sitting on the situation and taking our time to navigate it - it's meant different medical solutions were offered for my husband’s foot instead of rushing into surgery and some solutions we hadn’t thought of for the car.
2. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Yes things are tough – I’m not saying let’s pretend they aren’t. But often things aren’t as bad as we initially fear or there are blessings in them or solutions to be found in unexpected places.
By looking at things through more compassionate eyes, you may find different ways to get back on track.
It’s been really eye opening how much love and support I have around me when I’m brave enough (and vulnerable) to share my struggles and ask for help- something I’m terrible at normally but have had to do.
I’ve had family cook meals for us, friends pick up prescriptions and drop us places and an offer of a car loan. How blessed are we?
3. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
It sounds obvious but when you let go of worrying about what is not in your hands, it frees up your energy to focus on what IS in your control. Rather than go down a worry spiral of what if, it’s important to focus on these questions:
What can I control in this situation?
What do I know to be true?
Where can I ask for help?
4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
It’s especially important in these times to keep up your own wellbeing practices because when the sh*t hits the fan, it’s all too easy to drop those.
I would be completely justified to drop all exercise and self-care as I can’t get to the swimming pool now for my twice weekly swim (no car) and I haven’t got time to walk as I have to fit in cooking/ cleaning/ life admin in my working day.
AND YET – I’ve made time to walk / bus it to the pool and back and dropped other things (goodbye clean house for a few weeks!) because I know how important my mental wellbeing is and how much I need these pockets of calm in a challenging time.
The best thing you can ask yourself in ANY moment is
What do I need right now?
Whether it's a nap, a coffee, a walk, a cry, help or something else, do your best to give it to yourself because it WILL make you feel better - and better leads to calmer, saner and less anxious.
This too shall pass - that's what I am holding onto right now!!
And if you've read this far, thank you for being on this journey with me!
If you or your team are going through a tough time and are in need of wellbeing support or need a mindset shift to reframe a stressful period, maybe I can help. Book a free 30-min call with me to chat through where you are and what I can do to support you.