Life can take an unexpected turn at any time in any of our lives. The things we are focussing on and doing in this present moment in time, that seem so very important, can all come to a sudden halt.
Our perspective shifts.
Our priorities drastically change and survival mode sets in…..
That’s what happened to me recently and today I take some time to reflect on what has got me through.
Whether it be a sudden sickness or death in the family, change in job or living circumstances, finance issues as bills all arrive suddenly at once or some other crisis situation, none of us are immune to these moments in life where we are suddenly forced into instant ‘survival mode’.
We can often feel totally overwhelmed and uncertain how to make our way past particularly difficult trials, especially as they generally turn up unexpectedly and we are given no time to prepare ourselves.
It is wise for us to be mentally prepared. We need to have some ideas up our sleeve, all ready to go that we can grab on the run and implement very quickly to help us survive.
Today I want to share with you what I pulled out of my “survival kit” that really helped get me through some recent unexpected turns.
My recent circumstances that left me ‘gasping for air’ is not as tragic as life can get by any means. But for me, this season certainly brought a sudden shift in my focus and capacity for several months. It packed a decent punch and there has been plenty of moments that I felt like I was just barely been coping.
Of course every situation is different and some seasons last longer than others and some people cope better than others. But when you hit a road block sign head on and are feeling dizzy with where to go next, here’s a good starting point.
Firstly, let me outline what has actually been happening lately in my home, I’ll try to be brief…..
In my last post (which was written two or three months ago now!) I shared our exciting news that I am expecting our third child. I am really thrilled about this…… BUT there have been distractions this pregnancy that have prevented me from fully revelling in the joy and anticipating this blessing of new life.
For some reason, this time around, the nauseousness and tiredness have stepped up a notch. My mind has felt so blurry, my legs constantly longing for a comfy couch to put them on and my tummy constantly searching for it’s next meal (or the vomit bucket).
Now I know, it’s true I probably havn’t experienced morning sickness nearly as bad as it can get. You may even rate it pretty mild compared to your own experience. I certainly have a new found respect and reverence for people who have battled through such pregnancies.
Also, I want to take a moment to recognise those who are longing to be in this season of life of pregnancy and so desperately want a baby of their own but it hasn’t worked out that way yet for some reason. I certainly don’t want to come across as sounding ungrateful. I have been there. Seeing other people pregnant and wishing that was me, thinking “I would give anything to have morning sickness again”. I know what that is like, and a truly do thank God that this bub is coming.
But even though it’s not as bad as it could be, and I can be thankful that I have been blessed with another baby that I didn’t think I was going to get…. I have still found this season particularly hard. These emotions were intensified as my husband happened to get very sick too at the same time.
For two months solid my husband and I were basically taking
shifts to lie on the couch between doing school drop offs
and chasing after our active toddler.
Life felt so debilitating and
we just barely managed to get through each day.
We have been generally pretty healthy people in the past and both being ‘out of action’ so to speak at the same time has really tested us.
There has not been any energy or brain space for much at all (hence the lack of blog posts the last few months!).
I am pleased to say that my husband did eventually get better and the intensity of the morning sickness has finally settled down. We made it through! And I am very glad to have finally found the energy and brain space to complete this blog post! (Here’s to hoping the next one won’t take me quite as long to complete!)
So what did we do?
Here are 13 useful ideas I pulled out of my emergency survival kit (in no particular order) to get through this season and not go too insane….
1.Pay for a cleaner
If ever there is a time to pay for these awesome services, this is the time! After staring at the dusty ceiling fans day in and day out while I was lying on the couch unable to muster the energy to clean them, this was definitely money well spent. It sounds petty perhaps, but getting a cleaner in was not only good for the health of my family but for my sanity too!
2.Be honest when people ask “how are you”
People might not know you aren’t coping so well unless you say so. You don’t need to shout it from the rooftop or tell every person, but trusted friends who ask a genuine question, I believe, deserve a genuine answer. It’s hard to admit you are feeling defeated sometimes but it’s important to remember that we all feel like that sometimes.
3. Be willing to accept offers of help
eg. A meal cooked, babysitting, cleaning. This is the time to put feelings of pride aside and say “yes please! I need you!” and allow friends and family to show they care in these practical ways.
4. Takeaway or cereal for dinner is ok
It’s more than ok! There are families in this world that eat far worse ALL the time. So cut yourself some slack and rip open the packet of weet-bix.
5. Stock up on frozen meals
In a season when you are only just coping, if you havn’t had many meals offered already, investing in some of the frozen meals at the supermarket to take the pressure off needing to cook is a few extra dollars well spent in my opinion.
6. Just push the mess to the side and ignore it
I find this extremely hard to do, it took an enormous amount of self-control, but when my energy is so limited then the energy I do have should be used extremely carefully. Cleaning up can be easily delegated. When it does get really bad, either pay for someone to come clean, ask a friend to help or…. do what I did most of the time and bribe the children with a lollypop!
7. Do some things to bring relief from the mundane and help you smile
We were so tired and sick, but being stuck at home ALL the time was also getting me depressed. So we had to think of a few family outings that we could manage with little energy and that the kids would enjoy. We went to the movies, had coffee at an indoor play centre and took a scenic drive. These activities really did lift our spirits and I found they were pretty important for my sanity.
8. Vitamins are your friend
Dose yourself (and the rest of the family) up on plenty of vitamins to help boost the immune system because the last thing you need at the moment is more sickness! Also, don’t forget to take advantage of things like Berocca to help boost your energy levels if you need some days.
9. Learn to say ‘no’
Recognising the season for what it is and knowing your limits is so important. I found it funny that in this time, for me, a number of new opportunities suddenly sprung up that normally I would have jumped at but I needed to be honest that, though very tempting, the timing wasn’t right. It can be so hard to say no sometimes but we all need to be able to do this well.
10. Play board games
For me this was a great way to lift my spirits and have a bit of fun with my son at home who was longing for some entertainment and quality time. It didn’t take up too much energy and helped us connect and laugh a bit.
11. Get a good book to read or find a new TV series to watch
I was so glad the day I got my hands on a good book to read while I was feeling sick. Getting lost in the story really helped me escape from my woes for a while and rest. We all need that sometimes. I can recommend Francine Rivers book “Redeeming Love” as one of my all time favourites if you are looking for something.
I know it sounds cliché but I really do believe it helps. Ask others to pray too. Then, look out for the little blessings of help or relief along the way and be thankful to God for these.
If you are going through a life detour that takes much longer than a few months you may also be encouraged by reading this great post I stumbled across by Sarah-Ann at “Faith along the way” about keeping the faith when life doesn’t go to plan.
What crisis situation have you found yourself in lately?
What do you find most helpful to keep you sane during the tough seasons?
Can you think of someone who might need to read this post or be blessed by your help today?