Life has a way of handing you beauty and joy with one hand and punching you with the other. I know. I’ve been there. When tough times come, it would be great to shut down and take all the time necessary to regroup but that’s not realistic, at least in most cases. Through seasons of grief and tragedy, I’ve learned how to cope and in some cases power through when I had no other options.
In times of crisis:
- Things still need to be done and responsibilities met
- Powering through doesn’t make you insensitive
- Not powering through doesn’t make you weak or lazy
Those three realities should take a load of guilt off because the truth is, there’s no single “right way” to cope with a crisis, grief or tragedy. But there are a few practical things to keep in mind when you’re dealing with something so awful that you can barely breath. Again, I’ve been there.
Focus on personal needs first.
There’s no point in trying to power through at your job or with outside responsibilities when you know that arrangements have to be made to deal with the crisis. Most bosses, coworkers and clients will understand when deadlines have to be delayed and the workload shared. For high-achievers/Type A personalities, this is a hard truth to swallow. You’re used to managing through hard times, but consider that you’ll be more effective if you can handle your immediate needs first. It’s okay to let some things go. Truly.
Ask for help!
This is the most important piece of advice I can offer. I loathe asking for help because I know that most people are just as busy as I am, and I don’t want to intrude on their lives. But hear this: people are not only willing but anxious to help in a crisis. Consider how you feel when someone you care about is in need. You don’t want to twiddle your thumbs while your friends are drowning, and they feel the same. Just swallow your pride and ask!
Do the next thing next.
There are times when grief renders you barely able to breathe much less focus on tasks, even tasks that have to be done. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming and often adds to your sense of helplessness. Simply doing the next task will not only be productive, but it can be a good distraction.
Remember, it’s okay to set everything aside for a while and regroup. Make sure to take care of yourself by resting as much as possible and eating well. Reach out to those around you and hang on—a new season of joy is around the corner.