This past weekend was certainly eventful in some areas of the United States. Not only were temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, strong storms also hit several mid-west and eastern states, including mine in the Mid-Atlantic. The result: a loss of power that, as of the writing of this post, still leaves crews scrambling to restore it.
As you can imagine, this impacted the way things normally happen in my household. Having no power meant that not only were there no lights, but we also didn’t have air conditioning or water since we’re on a well system (which is also powered by electricity).
Life’s interruptions, whether large or small, can create chaos and be overwhelming. Don’t let stress clutter up your perceptions when faced with a major or minor emergency. Follow these five suggestions for keeping your head and reducing mental clutter:
When we’re faced with difficult or trying circumstances, we can become frustrated and very emotional. Many situations (like bad weather) are temporary, and chances are they will improve. Worrying about things that are beyond your control will likely increase how anxious you may be feeling. On the other hand, if you’re a worrier by nature …
Focus on solutions
Instead of soley concentrating on how you feel about the challenges you’re facing, turn your attention to things you can actually change. Shed the negative thinking so that you can come up with creative solutions. Try your best, too, to find ones that you can rely on again, should a similar situation arise in the future. Ultimately, you’ll feel more in control and the stress you’re feeling will dissipate. For me, the solutions were evident. I needed to evaluate the situation and, with my husband, put plans in place to keep our family safe now and if we lose power at another future date.
Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s helpful to have extra food, water, first aid supplies, and other needed items (e.g. medications) on hand. Having a plan of action (though it may change) can help keep your mind settled. We knew that when the power went out that we’d need to keep our perishables from, well, perishing. We moved some items from the fridge to the freezer where it’s colder and added bags of ice and limited the number of times the fridge was opened.
Find other things to do
Maybe your situation isn’t an emergency but is still quite distressing. A plan helps here, too. Will you call a trusted friend to talk things through? Will you go for a walk? Knowing that you have options will help put your mind at ease. So, get immersed in something you enjoy doing or need to do, like organize your office, finish a work project, or exercise. Whatever you choose to do to take your mind of things, you’ll likely feel more prepared to face your problem afterward.
Don’t give up
You may get discouraged if you try a solution that doesn’t work as you had hoped. Failure is another opportunity to try something else. Hang in there. Remind yourself that rarely are people successful on the first attempt — Thomas Edison’s first attempt at a light bulb was a failure, but he kept trying alternatives. Persevering can lead to success in ways you may not have imagined.
No matter what difficulties you’re facing, remember there are things you can do to turn your situation around. With worry pushed aside and a plan of attack in place, you’ll find you’re more equipped to handle most everything that comes your way.