When something bad happens in your life or in your business, you have a powerful tool at your fingertips: your ability to write.
Follow this fool-proof method, and watch your stress level decline and your ability to cope grow strong every day.
Step 1 – Give Yourself a 24-48 hour Freak Out Period
When a crisis arrives, the first thing you need to do is give yourself a specific period of time to freak out. During this time, give yourself permission to cry, whine, and experience your feelings of fear, loss, anger, frustration, or upset fully.
During this time period, be very gentle with yourself. Cancel or reschedule all business meetings. Your clients count on your professionalism, so refrain from business activities until you are more centered. Refrain from any writing projects as you will not be able to create when you are in crisis mode.
Don’t make any serious decisions. Just wait. Ask for support from your team, your family, and your friends. Give yourself comforting foods and nurturing music. Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
Sit down with your journal and write about exactly what happened and all the feelings you are experiencing. Name and experience all your feelings. It’s even OK to rant a bit. No one will see this writing, so vent all your feelings. Research on resilience shows that stuffing or ignoring intense feelings actually increases stress, so the quicker you write out your feelings, the faster you will recover your equilibrium.
Step 2 – Shift From Feeling to Thinking
After your 24-48 hour Freak Out period is over, it’s time to move into a place of power. Tell yourself that no more self pity is allowed, it’s time to do some planning. Because you’ve waited until your emotions are calmer, you’ll be ready to think strategically.
Get out some paper and start making lists. First, list all your assets. Include your resources of time, money, strong client relationships, assistance from team members, and support from loved ones. Spend plenty of time making a complete list of everything you can use to cope with this challenge.
Next, list all the issues that require a solution. Rank them in priority order. This list making will engage the logical side of your brain and move you from feeling like a victim to feeling in charge of the situation. Once you can shift into that feeling of empowerment, you are ready to cope successfully with the challenge.
Finally, write out an action plan for each of the issues. Assign a due date and list who you will be calling on for assistance. This list can be very simple. It might look like this:
- Format ezine – Amy by Tuesday
- Reschedule coaching appointments – Sue by Wednesday
- Get groceries – Jo by Tuesday
- Pick up medications – Tina today
- Call housekeeping service – me by Friday
Once you can look at your written plans, you’ll feel stronger and ready to move forward into action. When you shift from feeling to thinking, new possibilities open up and your coping skills increase. It’s almost like magic.
The ability to write about your feelings and your challenges is one of the fringe benefits of being an author. When you use this process every time you face a challenge, it will soon become second nature and one of your essential coping tools.