Staying grounded when your world is in chaos isn’t taught in high school, college or graduate school, but it’s one of the most important things you can teach yourself as an adult. No matter how good life is, you’ll be hit with curve balls you never expected or wanted; a family member becoming ill, going through a divorce or separation or being stranded in another country due to computer problems at an airport. Bad stuff happens. It’s important that when bad things happen you don’t stress and lose your temper. Others are relying on you and you can’t fall apart no matter how much your heart is breaking or your world is crumbling.
Experts have researched and written about this topic and offered several tips. Below are my favorite ten. It’s always wise to have a backup plan or something you can lean on for additional support when your world is crumbling. Practicing healthy habits of people who have been through terrible ordeals help you deal with the hard times in life.
1. Don’t lose control of you. Talk yourself through a crisis. Crying, getting upset or losing control over your anger weakens you when you need to be strong.
2. Take the news one moment at a time. Slow down, and stay in the present. When you start talking or thinking about the future it adds anxiety and additional stress.
3. Take control of what you can and that is you. You can control what you do to relax, what you eat, what you say to others and your children, as well as your reactions. Stay away from trying to control others.
4. Learn to say ‘NO.” You don’t need to be all things to all people. Don’t feel guilty, and don’t feel shame for saying no.
5. Remind yourself of times you’ve prevailed before. When you’re down and out it’s easy to begin feeling like a failure. Reminding yourself that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and builds resilience.
6. Take time to practice de-stressing. It is a well-known fact that high stress is a leading cause of illness. Stay healthy and do the things that make you feel less stressed, like yoga, prayers, visualization, laughter videos, exercise and good friends.
7. Use your stress to help others (it seems paradoxical that when you’re stressed you should think about anyone else, but that is exactly what can help). When you’re going through a rough time and you turn your focus to help someone else, it makes you feel more in control and less victimized by your situation.
8. Set up a routine, and stick with it. A routine brings order to an otherwise chaotic situation.
9. Self-care is not selfish. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for taking a break. No matter what you’re going through, take time to get away from the hospital, your job, your family, or your friends. You need an emotional break.
10. Be brave enough to ask for help when you need it. Everyone wants to be strong and be the cornerstone for their family, but life teaches us that part of being strong is knowing when we need additional support.
Practicing these stabilizing tips throughout the chaotic times in life helps you get through them feeling more in control, supported and closer to understanding your own strength as well as the numerous blessings in your life.