Readers of my blog may have noticed the lack of posts since November. The main culprits were a horrible virus that totally wiped me out, followed by an emergency operation in January. Needless to say I hadn’t predicted any of these scenarios, or thought about how they would affect me. Once you add leaving one job and starting another into the mix, you can understand why it’s been an interesting couple of months.
So what do you do when life throws you a curve ball or a series of upsetting incidents and challenges? You have a number of options namely: give up completely and hide under the duvet hoping that will life will go away; or make the difficult choice to tackle the problem head on. During this period you will have to except that ‘normal life’ cannot possibly carry on and that less important priorities will have to fall away. It’s important to think about where you can make compromises and then not to beat yourself up because you are (temporarily) falling short of your ideals. The key word is temporarily – with perhaps a few exceptions, whatever happens and however horrible, life will carry on. It may not be the situation, or the life you would have chosen, but the world will not stop and you will have to muddle on through the best you can.
Here are some of the compromises I made when my life took a downturn:
- I stopped worrying about clutter. If my home looked less than perfect for a while it didn’t matter. I kept the basic cleaning ticking over and that was enough.
- I cooked only simple dishes and replaced meals with healthy-ish convenience food. My partner is not the greatest cook so I bought food he could prepare quickly and just put in the oven. This was not a time to behave like a celebrity chef. At the same time I upped my vitamins and iron.
- I focused on relaxing. This meant cutting down social activities and stressful situations where I could. I moved away from email/social media/TV and went back to reading.
I tried to get more sleep. As I was exhausted and had lost a lot of blood prior to my op, going to bed early became a blessing not a chore.
- I stopped stressing that I hadn’t created the perfect Christmas or sent as many cards and presents as I had planned too. I hoped people would understand in the same way that I understood if people had things going on in their lives.
- Let other people help out and not feel guilty. I was lucky that my partner took over almost everything for a few days. If he hadn’t been around I would have asked others to help out if they could and I’m sure they would have responded.
When you go through troubled times it does really help you to focus on the things that really matter and to give attention only to the things that have to be done, that you can cope with. I was lucky that in a few weeks my life was almost back to normal. However I realise that for others this may not always be the case and that recovery may be a long drawn out process or perhaps their lives may change forever. When this happens there needs to be a fundamental shift in how we think about ourselves, our relationships and how we want to experience our lives moving forward. And perhaps this is something to think about and plan before a traumatic event, because as I found out, life can change in an instant.