I'm currently in West Palm Beach, FL, and if you've seen the news lately, we're bracing ourselves for a storm coming our way that will most likely be arriving as a hurricane. As someone who was raised in South Florida, I'm used to these storms and I'm even used to the feelings that come as we wait for the storm to come and then pass us by. I wanted to write to you and the rest of my followers today to share some lessons I've learned about remaining at peace in the midst of a personal or professional storm.
Have you ever felt like you were in a stormy period in your life or maybe you were in the midst of waiting for an inevitable arrival of the most challenging part of the storm happening in your life?
See below for some guidance for stormy seasons:
1) Have your circle of support identified and ready to support you
When a big storm is coming to South Florida, friends and family often call one another. We share what we have to prepare for the storm, what we still need to prepare for the storm, and what we're doing to prepare. When you have a storm coming into your life, I think it's critical to do the same. Identify who your friends or family are who might offer you support and who you trust to handle your challenges with care. Call them before the exam that might be stressing you, before the critical conversation, before the surgery, before the job interview that you're worried about, or before something negative is about to happen. Let them know what you are feeling--both the good and the bad. Let them know what you need from them to help you feel equipped to get through the storm. That could be prayer, encouragement, advice, or maybe just a listening ear. But do identify that circle of support as early as you can in your stormy season and also identify what you need from them to successfully push through your challenges.
2) Have an ample supply of tools and strategies to address your storm
If you've ever lived in hurricane-prone territory, then you know how critical it is to have your list of supplies and go through that checklist so you ensure that you have everything you need for when the storm comes. In life, sometimes we're struggling in a major way within a storm, because we don't have all of the necessary tools we need to thrive in the midst of the storm. Years ago, I was in a challenging work situation that I just realized a few months ago was workplace harassment happening for about a year almost daily. Had I known what I know now about mental health and support, I would have pursued therapy and taken advantage of other self-care methods while in that role. I would have also pursued the proper steps to advocate for myself to the proper authorities. When we know better, we do better. And for some of us, tools like therapy, books, morning routines, mentorship, self care services, scheduling tools, journaling, apps, consulting, or even coaching, might be appropriate to pursue challenges in a way where we feel equipped to tackle a storm head on.
3) Be real with yourself about what you're feeling, but don't waste too much time and energy on what you cannot change
Is it realistic to fear a coming hurricane? Yes. Is it natural to feel anxious in this situation? Yes. But the reality is that leading up to the hurricane, many of us still have to go to work, parent children, love our loved ones, and do these things and more in excellence. It's pretty unusual that people are expected to operate regularly even though we know a potentially life-threatening storm is coming. But, I think it's a great parallel to life. I remember someone who I loved and respected was on her deathbed. In the midst of intense pain, she took time to offer me life advice, and she had also had an amazing man fall in love with her who she loved back during that time. What an amazing thing that she was able to give and receive love in a huge way during that time and also took time and energy to initiate giving me advice. She took advantage of each day even in the midst of her pain. For a number of us, even though we're facing huge challenges, we still have many responsibilities to others and really even a responsibility to love and honor ourselves, but it's hard, and I know it's hard. But here are a few things you can do to push through in the midst of the storm when it's impacting your emotions. 1) Utilize some of the previous tools we spoke about like journaling, prayer, speaking to friends, or speaking to a counselor to process what you're feeling. Sometimes getting your thoughts out helps you to feel a greater sense of peace. 2) Know that we don't get time back. So the time you might be replaying negative thoughts or worries could be used dreaming of great things, spending quality time with people you love, watching something that makes you laugh, or even reading something that inspires you. 3) Know that even if you spend a great deal of time thinking about a challenge, in some cases, it doesn't go away, unless you're spending time thinking about solutions that give you hope or clarity or provide you with a plan of action. Be wise about if your thoughts are hurting or helping your situation. 4) Also consider practicing meditation as a way to clear your thoughts or refocus them on something more positive. Definitely process what you're feeling, then take steps to find peace emotionally even in the midst of challenges.
If you're impacted in any way by the coming storm or have family or friends that might be impacted, I'm sending my thoughts and prayers your way. For those who have personal or professional storms you're pushing through, I'm hoping this post has been helpful for you! As usual, feel free to send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org if it was helpful, and as always, feel free to share with family or friends you think it could be useful for.
Photo credit: Abigail Keenan from Unsplash