Occasionally, life throws us so far out of our comfort zone we often don’t know how we’ll ever find our way back to normalcy, even when what we’re experiencing is positive. At best we find ourselves celebrating a new beginning like a wedding or the birth of a child; at worst we find ourselves facing illness or death. This wide variety of events, both planned and unplanned, can become indelible marks on our timelines; causing us to describe our experiences in terms of “before” and “after.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it was easy to feel gratitude while I cooked by candlelight and listened to stories on our battery-powered radio about people who’d lost homes, jobs and loved ones. A friend from the Upper West Side remarked that he was impressed by my positive attitude and couldn’t imagine being as upbeat in the face of the inconveniences we were experiencing. It felt odd to be lauded for keeping my chin up. My family was safe and our home undamaged, while others were facing situations far worse than no heat, an intermittent water supply, and navigating 11 flights in a dark stairwell. Knowing that our lives would eventually return to some sense of normalcy made it relatively easy to roll with the punches.
During the Sandy-induced blackout, I felt like a rubber band, stretched taut, but nowhere near my breaking point. Resiliency was tangible and I felt like I could hold it in my hands and carry it around in my pocket. I knew we’d bounce back once power was restored. Yet, for at least a week after the power returned I felt exhausted and a bit low. I wasn’t alone in that feeling. In hindsight, it is clear that those feelings were a product of processing our break with normalcy.
Last week, I did an Assessment for a new client (I’ll call Sarah) who’d been forced to move from her home a couple of years ago and hadn’t finished completely moving into her current, smaller space. During the Assessment, I shared an observation with Sarah that it appeared she’d never fully mourned the loss she’d experienced. Her move had been rather traumatic and in her effort to roll with the punches, she’d neglected to take time to process her feelings and instead felt “stuck.” Reflecting upon one’s experience is essential for moving on, yet people often neglect to give themselves the time required. Perhaps taking the time appears self-indulgent, especially when we know others who’ve suffered far worse, but it is actually essential for regaining our resiliency.
When you feel stretched like a rubber band, prepare yourself! Once the stressors subside, take a deep breath and give yourself some time to recover your resiliency. Do it even if you feel like you are being self-indulgent!
What do you do to maintain your resiliency? If you feel stuck and need a new perspective on how to move forward, get in touch so we can set up a call. I want to help you bounce back this year!