When you’re facing an insurmountable challenge, do these 4 things first.
OK, I’ll admit that anyone selling you a “4-Step Plan” for anything is oversimplifying. They’re telling you what works for them, which may also work for you.
That being said, here are four things I do when things unravel. None of what I’m suggesting will fix the problem on their own, but they might fix how you feel about it, putting you in the right mind to fix it yourself.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
It’s incredible how much better I feel after a good night’s sleep. If you short yourself just 1-2 hours a night for several nights, your ability to function diminishes as much as if you went 48 hours without any sleep! Lack of sleep “impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving.” Do those seem like things you’ll need as you face this challenge? Then go to bed.
Before you try anything hard, tackle a big change, or manage a significant crisis, get a good night’s sleep and nap.
2. Go for a walk
Taking a walk, preferably in nature, and definitely without headphones, will expand your creativity and reduce the impact of your emotions on your thinking and reasoning. What makes this work is to spend your walk observing, not thinking. Look at the trees, wildlife, flowers, or ice. Just be in the experience. That observation helps us feel present and centered, which will calm the flight or fight response and let us return to our rational minds. Walking also helps to restore our natural rhythm, which gets disrupted in crisis.
3. Spend time with people who love you
When I’m tackling something huge, or I’m in a crisis, my world can get pretty small. I’m very focused on the short term and what’s happening right here. When I connect with people who love me — especially people who love me no matter what happens with this significant stressor, it gives me perspective and resilience by making me feel less alone.
4. Write down what’s going well
Even when it feels like the walls are falling around me, there are things to be grateful for. When I take 5 minutes and create a list of positive developments and things I am thankful for, I’m more likely to be working from a place of fullness instead of scarcity. I see possibilities instead of obstacles. Gratitude also makes you more creative!
What do you do to get yourself into your “right mind” to face a crisis, challenge, or new situation?