Life isn’t always fun. Some people have it easy, some have it harder, but whoever we are, we all face adversity, we all face things that make our knees bend a little. We all have our ways of getting back on our feet and continue our life as best as we can. Because isn’t it what life is? Just doing the best we can?
I’ve faced hard times in my life, much harder than some people could think. But I always bounced back and kept going. Sometimes it took me months before I was even able to get out of the house. But I’ve come to learn a few tips and tricks to help me get better faster.
And now I’ve had the “perfect” opportunity to test it all out: I got fired last week, but also got pyelonephritis (kidney infection).
These are things that can happen to anyone, at any given time. They happened to fall on my head the exact same time. Last week was not a good week for me. But I still accomplished so much more than I thought was possible.
First of all, let me disclaim something: I went to work Monday and Tuesday with the worst kidney pain I ever felt. I pushed through the pain and made sure I didn’t miss work. I thought it would go away by itself. I was taking Tylenol every 4 hours and the pain was manageable, so I thought it was muscular pain. I was fired Tuesday at the end of my shift.
So Wednesday morning, I decided to take things into my hands and headed to the ER. My kidney was hurting a lot. I also started making a list of things I had to take care of, now that I had some free time during the day. Calling a few places I had to call back, but they’re only ever open the same hours I worked. You know the drill. Well this was perfect time to take care of that.
I got my diagnosis, went and immediately went to business. Listed all I had to do. I also knew I had to get my budget organized, with no more paydays. Of course before even going to the ER, I had applied to Employment Insurance. Just in case. I didn’t plan on taking too long to get back to work, but we never know.
Now these are pinned to be always there. Every time I open up my laptop, these greet me. As you can see, I have a few bullet points that have been completed since the start of the list. I’ve added a few things also, as I think of something, I add it.
And here’s my method.
Take some time to assess what is happening
It’s important to acknowledge that something unpleasing is happening. Whatever it is. Losing your job, receiving very bad health news, needing to get a new car because the one you had just stopped working… Whatever it is. It’s going to blow some negativity your way. Take a day or two to just vent, relax, re-energize yourself. Whatever it may be that helps you. Hike a mountain, take a bubble bath, meditate. Go out with friends and talk it over. There’s no good or bad answers to that. We’re all different, and the way we cope will be different for each person. But it’s important to take the time to NOT BE OKAY. Because it IS okay to not be okay. Be aware of the signs pointing towards a burn out or depression. Not being okay is good, but not being okay for too long might get you slipping right into that dark place you’re trying to avoid. If you need to cry, just cry. But also know when you need to stop crying. It’s not an easy thing to do; some people will take years before getting the right spot for them.
Make a list and prioritize
Something happened. Your heat boiler gave up, but you can’t just go to the store and buy a new one. Fine, what do you do now? This is where listing is the best thing to do. You need to call a plumber. Perhaps a few, to get different opinions. Why did the boiler stop working? It was too old? Or was it because something is wrong with the plumbing? Once that is assessed, the list keeps going. Repair the damage, fix the boiler, buy a new one, whatever it is you need to do. Having that list will help put in perspective what you have to do and something that seemed impossible to go over will suddenly become those easier steps to do. That is also where the list differ for some. For example, my boyfriend and I operate on different systems.
I like using the sticky notes, make the list with bullet points and delete the line (while keeping the bullet) so I see that my list of things to do is getting shorter, sparser. Whereas my boyfriend prefers using an Excel sheet or any other grid program, make his list and cross out the item, while keeping it. Do whatever works for you. Again, there is no good or bad answers to this one.
Start working on that list
Don’t take too long getting started on your list. It will starts staring at you, you will feel guilt and just ignore it for too long. The faster you get to it, the faster it will be gone and you can move on to something else. Lingering in the bad spot is not good for your own mental health. And seeing that list staring back at you might get you overwhelmed if you don’t tackle it fast enough. Obviously, everybody has their own speed. And each task has its own requirements. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t checked something off your list in a day or so. It may happen to be a more time consuming or more complex thing that will require more time to be done.
Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. It’s important you keep focus on your own mental health. Hardships can take a toll on you. Take the time to do a thing that will make you happy. A candle lit dinner in the middle of the week, or a new book you’ve been considering getting at the store. Little things that will make you smile, and keep your spirits up. Because bouncing back is not easy. But in the end, once you bounce back, you shouldn’t be exhausted to the point where you’re back onto your knees. Then it becomes a vicious circle.