7 Methods to Cope When Life Gets in the Way

Last week was interesting. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say there are times that life gets in the way. It feels like it jumps up and slaps us in the face.

What do we do about it? Especially when things are going pretty well and we’re humming along, doing what we do.

Here are seven ideas to cope.

1. Keep on keeping on.

Sometimes the disruption is minor. We can keep on going like nothing happened. That doesn’t mean we aren’t stressed out about it or that we’re not disappointed, but we can deal with it without much interruption in our lives.

2. Take some time off.

This is what I had to do last week and why this post is late. Only you can determine how much time you need to take off. I decided that the rest of the week was right for me. It turned out to be the right decision for me. Maybe one day will work for you. Maybe a week would be better.

At the end of the week, I was ready to get back to writing. To my way of thinking, that’s how you know when you’re ready to get back to whatever you do. However, if you don’t get back to that point relatively soon, there might be something deeper going on.

3. Meditate.

I really can’t say how well this does or doesn’t work. I intend to meditate but either fall asleep or just don’t do it. I do have Insight Meditation Timer and enjoy the relaxation music to go to sleep, so that is a resource to consider.

4. Rest.

Maybe to cope with stress or unexpected events, you need more rest. Go to bed earlier. Get up later (if possible). Take a nap (again, if possible). Don’t just try to power through.

5. Escape (literally or figuratively).

Reading and watching movies are forms of figuratively escaping. A literal escape is a vacation or weekend getaway. Just don’t escape to the point of running away from whatever is going on so you don’t have to deal with it.

6. Be kind to yourself.

This should go without saying. However, I know we are our own worst critics. Goodness knows I am!

When you’re going through hard times, the temptation is even greater to be hard on yourself. Try to avoid that. You really didn’t screw up. The world isn’t going to end because of what is going on (even if it does feel like it). It will be okay.

7. Remember it’s (usually) temporary.

The world might feel topsy-turvy, but it will be back on its axis tomorrow. Take a breath and remind yourself (every five seconds if needed) it’s temporary.

Sooner or later, your world will right itself and your creativity will return

Leave a comment and tell me what works for you. Do you do any of the things on this list or something different?

Unplug to Plug In

I meant to post this much earlier in the day, but that didn’t happen and I don’t regret it. I’ve spent the time, basically unplugged, with family. First I went swimming with my nieces and nephew. Then I went to a family dinner with cousins. It’s been a great day.

As much as I love being connected and creating stuff online and off, I know that sometimes it’s helpful to unplug.  We need to take time for ourselves. We need to reconnect with the people around us and with ourselves without the addition of technology.

Some indications that I need to unplug tend to be:

  • I stress over nothing.
  • I feel burnt out.
  • I feel like I don’t have anything to say.
  • I get easily distracted.
  • I hop from project to project without really getting anything done.
  • I obsess over numbers. (Yes, we need to be aware of our numbers, but not obsess over them).

When I notice two or three of these, I notice it’s time to take a break. Your indicators might be similar or wildly different. Only you know what your indicators are. Just be aware and know when you need to take a break and unplug.

Putting It in Writing

I know and understand the need to put things in writing. So why don’t I do it more often?

For me, writing things out serves a variety of purposes.

1. It helps me to plan.

When I need to think things through and make a plan, it helps me to write it all out. I don’t mean type it on a computer. I mean get a notebook and pen and physically write it out longhand. Handwriting. Cursive.

There is something about the flow of the pen on the paper, the scratching of the nib, the feel of the pen in my hand and the paper under my hand, that ties me to the moment. It’s very tactile. And that becomes very important in the planning process. I can touch something and feel connected, down-to-earth instead of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

2. It helps me to remember.

Up until about a year ago, I didn’t have any trouble with my memory. But the last six months at one particular job changed that. It was high stress. OK. It was always high stress, but the last six months were more high stress than usual. I started forgetting things. Simple things. And, honestly, that scared me. So I started writing things down that I absolutely had to remember.

I’m out of that job and no longer have such high stress levels, so my memory has been improving, but I guess writing things down became a habit, so I still do it.

3. It helps with my writing.

That sounds silly. Writing helps with writing? Of course it does! But let me explain.

There are some things that I cannot just type on the computer as I think them up. Poems are in this list. I have to write poems out longhand first. Then I revise them. Then I type them in the computer and revise as I type. And they will probably go through another revision after that.

There are also some story segments that are sticky, meaning they don[t really want to be written the way I’m writing them, so they go into a notebook first, too. If I’m writing nonfiction (like I’ve been doing a lot lately), sometimes I have to write around the subject before I can get straight to the point. It helps to write that out longhand, too, instead of dumping it all into a manuscript and then having to edit it out later.

These are my main reasons for putting things in writing. Do you have any to add to it?