Have you ever experienced a devastating crisis in your personal life or that of someone in your family? Maybe it was a serious illness, an unexpected injury, the loss of a young parent through an accident. These situations usually catch us totally unexpected, and if you have some tools to cope with the stress, it will make it easier to survive.
Recently Jenny and Steve experienced a heart-rending separation in their marriage. They had been married 20 years and had no intention of ever experiencing such a crisis as a family. They followed some of the tips below and found that they were soon reunited with much greater strength than they had ever had before.
1. Choose your friends carefully. It is not necessary to tell everyone the details of your situation if they are not loyal enough to you to truly understand. Decide early on what will be your “statement to the press” and stick with your story when casual friends inquire with personal questions.
2. Use your answering machine and email. You may even wish to place a special message there stating that you may not be able to reply right away, but thank them for their contact and assure them you will be in touch again as soon as you are able.
3. Get professional help if you need it. With medical situations you will naturally have the assistance of the team of doctors and nurses who support your loved one and the family. Don’t be afraid to even ask for coping skills from a nurse. Some are very equipped with wisdom from watching families face challenges every day. Never underestimate the strength of a good counseling session. Professional counselors can not only listen, but give you the tools to truly think through your situation both now and in the future.
4. Don’t forget to play, even if it is for a few minutes. A quick walk around the hospital neighborhood, a stroll along a country road at sunset or a mall trip with your teenager can help break the tension.
5. Take time for reflection. If you like to write, spend some time with your journal or on your laptop. if you are a person of faith, take time for prayer either alone or with a trusted friend or spiritual leader. Listen to music or read a mindless novella. Meditation and quiet can restore a troubled soul.
Remember that your crisis will not always last at a pinnacle of intensity. There will be ups and downs, but eventually it will even out. Sometimes you have to even write this on a note and place it on the bathroom mirror to remind yourself! If possible, accept or even embrace your challenge, as it makes the load much easier to carry. And don’t forget to respond here with tips that have worked for you.