Happy New Year!
I know it’s been a while but, this year, it is my aim to be more consistent with writing and publishing my blogs. I enjoy writing them but it’s easy to let the negative voice in my head hijack the process and tell me that it’s too much like hard work and no-one reads it anyway. Well sod that voice, I’m doing it anyway 😊.
Over the last month there has been a lot of uncertainty, dwelling and general negative feelings in my life. I’m not great when I’m tired and life doesn’t go according to plan (especially when it’s a perceived undesirable change of plan) so after visiting Stonehenge for the winter solstice, I was not happy when my van broke down about 5 minutes into our 2.5 hour journey home. It delayed us by around 6 hours so there was plenty of time for some anxiety, grumpiness, worry, tears and a touch of panic.
But really, we were lucky. There was an accident right in front of us (I suspect caused by someone not concentrating on the fact that we had stopped and swerving into someone else to avoid us) and one person who was involved had to go to hospital to get checked over (she was fine, just a bit shocked) and the other person was waiting far longer than us to get someone to help him on his way. We could have been involved in a far worse accident instead. I got to spend some more time with my friend, and we don’t usually get to see each other for extended periods of time. All the people we dealt with were really friendly and helpful and we had a good journey home in the end.
Sometimes these little changes of plans teach us lessons in resilience. I know that when I’m tired, my first instinct in scenarios like this is to instantly worry about everything that might go wrong. It escalates to some quite epic proportions sometimes as well! I remember visiting Catalonia in March 2010 and getting snowed in. We couldn’t return home as planned and all the electricity was out around most of the area. It was kind of fun as we had a few drinks the first night but when I woke up in the morning cold and tired, it was not fun at all.
We walked to the nearest town and then onto the next which was when we realised the lack of electricity was far more widespread than just where we were staying. I can remember feeling the rising concern about getting back to work (I had no more annual leave left!), whether we would be able to get the hire car out, what we would do that night because we clearly weren’t leaving and the house was freezing with no electricity, would it snow again, etc etc.
We found a hotel to stay at that had a generator so there was some warmth and a great meal that I was not expecting. We went back to the house the next day and spent a couple of hours digging out a path in the snow for the car which was far more difficult than I had expected it to be! Work were fine about the delay and really, everything was fine. And now I look back, it was kind of fun and an unexpected story to tell people (I got snowed-in in Spain!!).
Although sometimes there seems to be a lot to worry about, staying inside and wallowing in the disappointment/worry/anxiety is no way to deal with it. I’m not advocating ignoring the issues and pretending it’s not happening by the way! But there are ways to get out the emotion or nagging concerns in a more constructive way. Journalling is a great one – as you’re writing you can often find an answer that you hadn’t considered before. It’s not necessarily a magic solution but it helps you get it out.
Getting the emotion and concern out makes everything feel a little more positive. With most of my coaching clients, I find that actually explaining a situation from start to finish is helpful and allows them to see it more clearly and often from a different angle. When you’re stuck in your own head contemplating a situation, you are often hampered by your own worn-in thought process. Saying it out loud, or writing it down, gives you a new way of saying the problem and sometimes gives you the solution all by itself.
So now when I’m feeling unsettled, worried, anxious and conflicted, I try to remember to either write it down and work through it or speak to someone and get out the whole problem. Sitting at home and wallowing will not help you move forward (note to self 😊).