A part of what I do, aside from writing to you lovely people, is work with individuals in crisis.
It’s not easy work, but it is rewarding. I have learned so much in this particular environment that I couldn’t have realized otherwise.
Today I want to share with you one of those key pieces. Because we are all bound to encounter hardship, and we deserve to have some knowledge on how to deal with it.
I have noticed an almost instinctual response to stressful and difficult situations, and that is the desire to go into action and solve the problem right away.
The issue with this is that when you are in the deep of it, you might not be thinking straight yet. I find that people in crisis, big or small, are initially caught up in the emotion of it all. The emotion blinds us from being able to evaluate our situation properly. When you’re upset, angry, or anxious you aren’t solution-minded, you are emotionally driven.
Think of it like this: your house lights on fire. What’s the first thing you do? Do you start thinking about where you are going to move next? Or do you get the heck out of the house, call 911, and cry?
We have a similar response emotionally to other crises situations. We’re in panic mode.
While in panic mode, don’t rush yourself to solve the situation! Work through your feelings. Be kind and patient with yourself until you have the wherewithal to step back and look at things clearly.
This goes against our instinct of going right into “fix it” mode. But it makes sense. We need to give ourselves permission to say “this is important to deal with, and that’s why I’m not going to rush myself”. This helps us steer clear from making emotionally-driven decisions, which aren’t always beneficial for us in the long run.
So what to do in the mean time?
Often during times of difficulty, the first thing that a person tends to neglect is their basic needs. These are simple things like eating, sleeping, and showering. As small as these things seem, they are so important. They are the backbone of our self-care.
It’s also important to note that distraction techniques such as watching tv or surfing the Internet are totally okay. Don’t beat yourself up for “procrastinating”! You’re not. You’re buying time; you’re waiting for the emotional storm to pass.
Once you feel a little more calm and collected, begin exploring options on how to solve the actual problem (if solvable, sometimes they’re not). This could take a day, or it might take several. Problem solving could involve talking to friends, seeking counselling, looking for advice from an expert, or just plain going into action.
Thanks for reading! I hope the next time you are going through a difficult time you remember to be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to feel your feelings.