Sunday, August 2, 2015

Personal Guidelines for Enduring a Crisis

I recently sent these guidelines for self-care out to a friend who was suffering the loss of an old friend. I felt like I had to give some ideas for what she might do to help care for herself in a very difficult time.

These painful events can leave us feeling like we just want someone to give us concrete answers about what we should do next. 

We might often wish for someone to take us by the hand and show us the way to feeling better.

Yet I'm always aware that much of what I say to help folks in pain can sound trite or grossly inadequate out of context. So know that I take these guidelines seriously for using them myself and recommend them to others dealing with feeling that life is at a low point due to grief. 

I hope you find them helpful when you need reminders of how to find your way.


  • Stick as closely as possible to your normal routine. It helps us feel normal.
  • Recognize that you are working on a plan of taking good care of yourself. You are not adrift.
  • Look for things to feel good about. Count at least three every week starting today. List them in a journal regularly to help sort things out.
  • Recognize that feeling bad right now is normal and it will not last forever. You will feel better but first you will feel bad until you are finished with those feelings.
  • Remind yourself not to take your feelings too seriously. This was good to understand that we need to avoid thinking that we are our feelings, since we are not. Like dreams, they will come and they will go.
  • And get physically active to a modest degree. Don't join a gym necessarily, but get a short walk in for yourself. Not a forced march just a casual walk around a park or arboretum etc. Move regularly and for the fun of moving, not just as part of a  goal.
  • Tell yourself you are doing these things for your own good health and taking care of our physical self reminds us that we are working to care for our whole self.
  • Sitting and brooding always makes us feel worse. If you notice that is what you have been doing for a while, recognize that is time to move even for a short time. No big commitment needed. Just move and intermingle feeling painful emotions with breaks to move and rest your worried mind by looking at some thing pretty and hopeful. Maybe watch a favorite movie as a break.
  • And of course visit a friend or have them visit you. Enjoy a fun activity for a short time if that's all you feel like. Or meet someone for a short lunch. Better to do something positive and uplifting even briefly, than not at all.

I hope these are reminders of what you already know would be helpful for you. And remember, despite how you feel right now, you will feel better.

Email me if you need help getting through.

Go live well. Today.

-- Rich
Rich@RichPanther.com

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