There are times in life, because life, is well, life, that life throws you lemons. Sickness, accidents, breakups, disappointments, financial hardships, you know what I mean! As far as I can tell, after living for several decades, this is the way it is! Although, it is important to avoid, lemon situations, not all lemons can be and maybe should be avoided! Through all the trials and tribulations of my life so far, not one has come my way that did not ultimately lead to something much better. This is the lemonade!!!! So, to me what is most important, is to learn to deal with the lemons, with bravery, courage and at the risk of sounding cliché, making lemons out of lemonade.
Here are some tips for moving through hard times!
1. As soon as possible develop an action plan for getting through this period of time. Include what needs to be done, who will do it, create a list of support and priorities.
2. Believe that you will be OK. This does not mean you have to know either how or when but it does mean that you need to know that you will be OK. This will not last forever, you will be OK! This is a powerful antidote to the panic that sets in when faced with difficulty. So, replace thoughts like “Oh, this is terrible, awful, it is always going to be like this” with”, it/ I/we are going to be OK, we will get through this” A verbal hug of sorts!!
3. Surround yourself with all the support you need! Family, friends, professionals, anyone, and everyone that will support you with positive energy, thoughts and attitude! Let people help you, it is a sign of strength to know when we need help! NOTE: Avoid energy drainers, situations or people who rob you of your energy, you need to be filled up, not drained!
4. Self Care During lemon times, one of the most important strategies, is self care! Sadly, during hard times, self care is often one of the first things to be neglected! We think we need to do one more thing, forgetting the fact that taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Think about the safety messages on airlines, “in the event of an emergency, apply your own oxygen mask first”. We can’t take care of others or our own lemons if we don’t take care of ourselves. One of the first things I ask my clients is “How is your self care” and with many “Are you eating properly”. Self care may differ from individual to individual, but includes care of body, mind, and spirit. So, eating well, staying hydrated, maybe extra nutritional support, relaxation, and spiritual practices, such as yoga, meditation, and prayer, are part of self care. I recommend including self care on one’s daily ‘to do’ list alongside other items, marked IMPORTANT!!!!
5. “You only need to do one thing at a time”. Such wise, wise words! One of the hidden challenges of difficult times is the long ‘to do’ lists of challenging tasks that need to be done to get through whatever your lemon situation is. Think accident reports, doctor’s appointments, phone calls, meetings and so on! Such long lists can lead to overwhelm and procrastination. The good news is that you really only need to do one thing at a time. The rest will be done in their own time.
6. Manage ‘what ifs’. ‘What ifs’ are the long list of squirrel-like chatter that goes on in our minds. You know the ones…. What if I call the person and they say no? (implication is that your world will come to an abrupt end). What if the doctor gives me bad news? What if the bank won’t lend me money? What if no one answers my ad???? The antidote to ‘what ifs’ is the reasonable answer! What if the person says no? Another solution will be found! Develop a blueprint or an action plan for tackling ‘what ifs’ and they will lose their power!
7. Balance! Learn to balance moving forward and resting! Difficult times require both yin and yang energy! There are times when pushing through to make that one more phone call or appointment, will result in movement towards lemonade. There are also times when rest and restoration will give you back your center. It is more art than science, it takes practice and don’t worry about perfection!
8. Perspective! While we are dealing with our own lemons, it is really important to keep perspective on what is happening, both as it relates to ourselves and to others.
The morning after my recent near-fatal accident, I went to the junk yard to empty my beloved car of it’s contents. I was sobbing. The rather portly and somewhat gruff wreck dealer looked at me kindly and said,
“I know this is so upsetting, I see it everyday, but you are so lucky, I see so many people come here who have lost a loved one in an accident, you are really lucky!”
Even through my shock, and pain and my husband’s broken neck, I could understand and shifted perspective.
Read "A Six Part Guide to Surviving and Thriving When Life's Lemons Come your Way"
An Introduction to this week's daily articles about making lemons in life.
Read More Lemon Articles