This has been one of those weeks that has made me want to run for the hills and tuck and cover until new days and happy times are here. Mentally and emotionally all has been going smoothly, I had my week planned out as meticulously as I typically do and then life decided to happen and everything went to shit. Well, I shouldn’t say that, I happen to have someone who is so close to me battling in the fight of her life, so know that every dramatization I share about going forward should all be taken with a grain of salt. I realize that everything that has gone wrong this week could be worse and you better believe there is not a second of any day I don’t realize that. Hence, the reason for this post today.
Yesterday was to be a busy one, I had some really important meetings, an event and a day that had been carefully scheduled out so that all my bases were covered at home and our day could run seamlessly and smoothly. Then within the first hour of my day starting, I got a call that sent me emotionally for a ride and suddenly nothing about my day mattered or felt important any longer. Because what happened doesn’t personally effect me or my health I knew quickly that it wasn’t time to wallow, it was time to be strong and proactive and change my day up so that I could be just a phone call away so that if I was needed in any way I would be available.
Now you guys, here is where my truth comes in… I am horrible with redirection and changing of plans. Notice above how I mentioned how meticulously planned out my week and carefully scheduled out my day was? Well that is how I function in life: predictability. And you want to know what life often has to say about predictability? “Not on my watch!” And let me tell you, that is something I have struggled with my whole life and while there I times I have great control of my emotions when something changes it up, for some reason lately I have struggled with it ever so slightly again. What that realization has made me have to do recently was sit back, reflect, and remind myself of the ways and tools I need to use to be better at coping when stuff like this happens. You would think now that I am parenting a toddler I would be ever so used to the unpredictability, well it just so happens I am raising my very own mini-me and he thrives on routine and predictability himself – the two of us are like a good ‘ol well oiled machine when it comes to our days… but that realization has given me even more of a reason why I have to remind myself to remember to breathe and cope in a healthy manner when life doesn’t seem to go my way.
With all of this being shared (and now that you know one of my deepest secrets ;)) I thought it would be helpful share some of the tools I use and techniques I have for coping with days when things do not go according to my plan. Most of these seem fairly simple, they’re not bible and/or technical or medical but it works for me so I am hoping that maybe down the line you can try it if needed and maybe it will bring some mental relief to you as well.
1. Escape to quiet. This is the first thing I have to do when a wrench has been thrown my way. I am an introvert, going somewhere alone and quiet even just for 60 seconds helps me to center myself. If I am in a room full of people, I retract and if I am alone with someone else I ask for a few seconds to process. Once I am able to gain mental peace it then helps me to process the change in front of me and helps me to remember to slowly gain back a sense of control even if it is just over myself.
2.Refer to previous plans and come at peace with the fact that they’re now out the window. For me I always worry most about disappointing someone who I may have to cancel on or pushing something back that I promised I would do. This is where past performance and character comes into play. I have spent a good portion of my life being true and honest to my word and not being a flaky person, so if I have to cancel or back out of something, most people in my life know its important.
3.Make a new plan of action. Yesterday’s schedule? Garbage. But one of the first things I did when processing everything was to plan out a new schedule, timeline, and priority list. This helps me to feel like I am in control again and it gives me new power to feel like I have structure even with a last minute change. Mostly, this helps to provide even just a little bit of predictability again.
4.Talk it out. Remember in Step 1 when I said I was an introvert and need some seconds to retreat? That is always the case, but I also happen to be the kind of person that solves problems for myself as I am saying the words. When something comes in and shakes up my day my first call is usually to Darshan who has an uncanny way of remaining completely calm no matter what is thrown his way (literal opposite of me). Often while he is calmly listening to me spiral, the meltdown I share usually somehow helps me to answer my own dilemma, to which he often sits back and says, “See, you’ve got it!” If you don’t have a Darshan in your life, FIND ONE! I am lucky in that he is my husband, but he doesn’t have to be a spouse. I feel pretty lucky in that I do have a few people in my life I can call to regain sanity and those handful of people are on speed dial and I cherish them more than I can ever put into words and I make sure they know it. So if you are reading this and got a call from me yesterday and/or have in that past, thank you… you are my security.
Putting it simply, I am a worrier, an over thinker, and if I am being honest quite often anxiety ridden. If you know me and are reading this and thinking, “wait, you? You’re always so mellow” – why yes, because I always have a plan for that to be the case. To know our strengths and our weaknesses helps us to reflect and come up with techniques and tools that make us happy and functioning adults. My hope for all of you, because I know I am not alone in this, is that these tools will help you and even if not sharing this will at least to help you realize that you are not alone and maybe inspire you to find and create your own steps that will help you to cope with life’s little curve balls. Just remember, pizza and wine can only do so much (but worst case make a great dinner at the end of those wild days).