When something goes wrong in your life, the easiest thing to do is probably to let your world stop turning. Big events that change your perspective or have a big impact on your day to day life can easily make you feel like your normal routine is impossible, and that all you should do is sit and stew in your negative emotions. This article is aimed towards tackling this mindset and has ideas of how you can keep your mind off things that you can’t do anything about. Doing nothing is probably the worst way to spend your time in this moment and taking steps back towards your normal routine is incredibly important!
Unfortunately, my sister suffered a series of VF cardiac arrests, narrowly escaping death. She was confined to her hospital bed for just over a month and even now she’s back home, she requires constant care. Out of fear and worry, my parents and I have dealt with many sleepless nights. The first few days she was kept in a medically induced coma and we had no idea whether she would pull through and what state she would be in if she did. Brain damage was a high probability but luckily her mind remained intact! That didn’t stop my entire family from worrying ourselves into illness!
The American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/grief.aspx) has five key tips to help anyone get through similar tough situations!
1) Talk about it! – This one is the most prominent piece of advice available to deal with any bad situation but that is because it is proven to be the most effective.
2) Accept what has happened and don’t try to stop any emotions – Don’t bottle up your thoughts or feelings, let them flow. They might be painful but you don’t have any way out of them. Having a good cry is a healthy way to deal with powerful feelings.
3) Take care of yourself and your family - Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest help us get through each day and move forward.
4) Help others to deal with the situation – Keeping yourself social may seem impossible, but kindness rewards us with an extremely helpful dose of endorphins (the chemicals that tell your brain you’re happy) which are most necessary at times like these!
5) Remember and celebrate the good times – Focusing on happy memories can help you to realise that things were ok once before and they can be again. Positive thinking directs you towards future happiness.
My advice focuses on numbers 3 and 4. I believe that keeping yourself busy when things are at their most raw and painful is probably the most effective way to continue through to happier times. Time heals the best, but continuous activity and interactions is a more immediate way to ease a pain that may seem incredibly overwhelming. For instance, I liked to make sure that our fridge was full of food whilst my sister was in hospital as my parents had no time to shop and I spent the time she was unconscious putting together a scrapbook with photos, messages and other mementos from all her friends and loved ones to keep my mind away from thoughts of ‘what if’. Going to the gym also kept my mind off worst-case scenarios! In conclusion, though times may be tough, all you can do is keep going because it helps no one for you to stop functioning! Keep strong everyone and try to make the best of your day!