The Art of the Bounce

This business of not having a job outside the home is lovely. I can arrange my day so I’m writing at the best time for my brain to write. I have the luxury of riding a pony once or twice a week (which puts me around horse people, never a bad thing). I am even (do not quote me) getting after a few long-deferred house projects.

What’s not to love? I think this is how we were born to thrive, rather than starting the day tearing out the door to Go to Work, by means of a stinky old commute, to a place our family and friend don’t see us, while doing stuff that makes money mostly for somebody else. Just my opinion, (and just what worked for us as a species for most of history recorded and otherwise).

Nonetheless, there is a downside–for me–to working and living in the same place. In as much as that commute resulted in a change of scene, a change of focus, a change of identity, I no longer have that. I can mentally hamster wheel ALL DAY, which is fine when a book is working, and utter misery when I’m worrying about the state of the world.

So I did me some research into the quality of resilience, the ability to shrug off anxiety, trauma, stress, and resume productive and happy life after hitting a pothole. How do people learn to bounce? To get up that seventh time? The answers were fairly easy to find, and at the top of the list was… (drum roll, please)… not exercise! (That was a relief.)

At the top of the list was having a core set of values that help define who you are. If you know what you believe in, what you’d march for, then it’s easier to get back to being that person after a storm, and it’s easier to hang onto her through the foul weather. Another factor high on the list was having strong community to call upon.

One study looked at people in a medical setting getting bad news. If they had a loved one with them, their heart rate and blood pressure returned to normal sooner after getting the bad news than if they were unaccompanied. The support person didn’t have to say anything, do anything, offer a hug or a tissue, they just had to be there.

Exercise and learning new things did figure on the list too. Why? Because both build new neural pathways in the old braineroo, and part of resilience is training your mind not to get stuck in a worry/anxiety/blue rut. If you have other paths to send your neural impulses down, the ruts have less gravity.

And so I bethought unto myself: Isn’t this what happens in a good romance novel? Somebody finds–or two people find–the person who can help them stay centered, the person who forces them to refine their values and identity, the person who boosts them into new adventures and strengths despite adversity? No wonder we love our HEAs. They are a recipe for a life of love and joy even amid trouble.

Because Valentine’s Day is this week, I’m upping the gift card to $75. How do you weather the big black moments and move on from them?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

55 comments on “The Art of the Bounce

  1. 1
    Susan G says:

    I have been a bouncing around a lot this past year. Massive layoffs at work, sharp decline in my mother’s heath, seriously ill family member and corgis who decide to go to heaven on their own terms.

    I take in all the bad news, figure out what’s needed and make a plan. I know there’s nothing I can do about the layoffs-so I focus on my work. I visited my Mom after work & have found the best parking spots at the hospital & rehab. I miss Molly the corgi but I know she had a long happy life. Her departure caused a shift in the pack order which took months to resolve. Beanie is the Queen, Laci is the lady in waiting.

    I am trying to meditate in the morning to clear my mind — sometimes that’s harder than you think !
    I make a list of what I can and can’t do about the situation. Most of all- I accept that I can fix some things but not everything.
    Acceptance is not always an easy place to get to- but once you are there it’s a good place to be. I find when I sort through and accept the recent curve ball I am able to wake up the next day and try my best.

    • 1.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      Meditating was actually on the list of re-bound strategies, because it too helps contour the brain away from the worry-ruts. Given a choice between sitting quietly for ten minutes in the morning or hitting the tread-desk for 30 minutes, I’d probably choose neither, in my ideal fantasy world. They are both a challenge, each in a different way.
      Hugs to you for soldiering on. It really does sound like you’re besieged from all sides lately.

  2. 2
    Make Kay says:

    I do a pretty good job of shoving them into a little box and trying to ignore them. Reading books is an excellent way to distract myself. I’m trying to get better at processing things, but its an uphill battle.

    • 2.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      Reading is a wonderful coping strategy. Reading good fiction for even six minutes at bedtime results in better sleep, lower blood pressure, a more tolerant outlook… all great things.
      I’m not as good at “ignore it and maybe it will go away” as I’d like to be, but I have gotten a little better are reminding myself, “You’re all in a swither now. You frequently get all in a swither. Wait 24 hours, and you’ll probably have swithered yourself out.” Time often really does help me calm down.

  3. 3
    Teenie Marie says:

    After low these many years, I’ve finally figured out what I need to be productive and happy. It’s a combination of freedom–such as you are experiencing–and structure. I’ve had part-time jobs, full time jobs and being a *stay-at-home-mom*. The part-time job and being able to be with my kids was always my favorite. Even now, that’s kinda what being a freelance musician is–some freedom and some structure.

    The Big Black Moments come to everyone but no one really expects them. I try to be prepared–I have tubes of cookie dough in my freezer or ingredients to make my favorites cookies and then make them. Baking, and then, eating them helps me get through. I sleep and go to bed earlier and read something, like magazines (‘Victoria’ is a favorite as it ‘Cottage and Bungalow’), I can just page through without too much thought. I reread something I’ve read before (Rosamund Piltcher’s ‘September’ has been my go-to for years) so I can de-compress with something familiar.

    What is it–the ability to know what you can change, know what you can’t and the ability to know the difference? That’s how I handle the Big Stuff!

    • 3.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      Rosamunde Pilcher is a comfort read, for sure. The cadence of her prose alone is calming, as is her humor. I have never seen “Cottage and Bungalow,” but even the Woman’s World and For Women First magazines are full of bright colors, simple stories, and silly distractions. I’ve been known to keep those in the bathroom.

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    I have found that if I can physically keep moving it helps with a bad day/week. A good long walk with an audiobook, for example, whether outside or at the gym in bad weather, is often enough to remove the sharp edges and feel in my body instead of in my head. It isn’t enough for the really rough patches, but for the blues it is a big help.

    For the really rough times, I definitely need to add my favorite people, baths, tea by the pot, good books, soothing music and meditation (not all together of course).

    • 4.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      The benefits of movement–doesn’t even have to rise to the level most of us think of as exercise–for combating the blues is well documented. Walking works as well at treating depression as either pills or talk therapy (though not quite as well as both together), AND the benefits of walking outlast either pills or talk therapy if you backslide.
      To me, that’s profound. Just as I don’t think we were meant to work indoors far from home all day, I don’t think we were meant to sit at a desk like a worried bump on an ergonomic log.
      GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY, might have been some of the best advice our parents gave us.

  5. 5
    Margaret says:

    Chocolate.

    That answer really should be enough, but facetiousness aside, a good night’s sleep helps, as does a good mental kick-in-the-ass. Of course supportive loved ones makes a huge difference, but in the end, we get ourselves into most slumps and have to get ourselves out. And in truth, sometimes a good book will make all the difference. Either the story itself, or the gratitude I feel towards the author who, with the help of the gods of serendipity, put it in my hands at the right time.

    • 5.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      What you said… Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Judith Ivory… I feel as if they should be my daughter’s honorary godmothers. So many wretched, exhausting single-mom days were made bearable by the thought that I had a good book waiting for me upstairs when the kid finally, finally went to sleep.

  6. 6
    Mary T says:

    Finding something that will make me laugh. Good books help a lot. My religion, my friends and my family.

    • 6.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      One of the best foster moms I’ve ever worked with told me she knew a kid who’d come to her home was going to be OK when she heard them spontaneously and appropriately laugh. Such a simple litmus test, but so wise. I also recall when a family member was going through some awful stuff, and she got hold of one of Dave Barry’s books. I heard her laughing out loud for the first time in months, and it gave me such hope.
      We need to laugh. We need to smile. Very good point.

  7. 7
    Brenda says:

    For me the most tremendous bounce back for me was many years ago when I took him back,believing him that he wanted our marriage to work.We had been apart for three years and I was getting back to living a life without him.My family,friends tried to tell me I would be a fool to do this.I had loved this man and despite everything that had made our marriage fail I said yes and he back.I gave up a friendship with a very nice and kind man who I had recently met after my daughter’s wedding.I hurt this lovely man so much. My husband and I settled down but after a month I was told by my husband that I didn’t need him and that he was going back to someone who did.My world came crashing down.He left this time forever.My emotions and feelings were many even the humiliation I felt His own family were convinced he did it only so I would give the new man in my life up.He did not really want me but he did not want anyone else to have me.Many years later when I look back I wonder how I got through it all.I’ve had a lot of bouncing back through my life ,this is true for every one.But what counts is the support and love that people around you give.My valentine love goes to all around me__my family my friends my ex in laws who’s love has never gone away many years later.Yes” Grace I believe in love”‘may valentine bless you young and old.

    • 7.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      What a craptastic turn of events! That sounds like the beginning of a great women’s fiction story though. I’m glad you had some support, but geesh… Sounds to me like Himself would have found a pretext to leave, and a pretext that tried to paint you as at fault, no matter what you did or how hard you tried. Very stinky behavior on his part.
      But you did bounce, and your heart healed. Good on you.

  8. 8
    Chris L. says:

    I think self-care is the number one thing to have consistently seen me through the darkest times. When I can make myself be consistent in my yoga practice, it seems to be the most effective at helping me bounce back. Living with depression and anxiety sometimes feels like a constant clawing out of the pit, but I have learned to trust not my thoughts in those moments but my track record over time. Have I gotten through everything that has happened before in these forty-three odd years? If I take a few moments to breathe deeply, can I halt the sensation of walls closing in? Can I shift negative self-dialogue into objective observation of what is happening right now? Some days these strategies work better than others.

    I never really stopped to consider how true it is that romances can often be characterized by the main characters not just falling in love, but realizing what is most important in life, discovering what values they are unwilling to compromise on. Now that I am thinking about it, some of my favorite moments in books are when a protagonist acts without thinking, revealing to themselves, their true love, and the reader the innate essence of their character. That essential truth is probably as important to a reader as anything else about an HEA because it reassures us it okay for us to move on to the next story. We know the couple will be alright because they have each other and perhaps more importantly their very own inner strength to draw upon in good times and bad.

    • 8.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      If I had a magic wand, I’d start with banishing depression and anxiety (and why are they such good friends, those two?). I’m sorry these afflictions plague you.
      The writing coaches tell us that good novels have character arcs. At the beginning of the book, the character is coping with some sort of unhealed wound. Could be they ignore a gift because it got them in trouble. Could be they carry a grudge. Could be they manage a big fear of heartache or shame, and their life is made smaller by their fear. By the end of the book, their life should be defined by a)courage, and b) the set of beliefs that compelled them to act from courage even when they were ascairt and weary. Love does that. It’s the connection between good beliefs and good acts, and as Churchill said, all of the big virtues require courage if they are to mean anything. He called it courage, I call it love.
      Living with depression and anxiety takes courage, Lord knows it does. Hang in there, because more great books are being written (and lived) every day.

  9. 9
    Beth says:

    I’m mostly alone, so books (audio if I can’t see to read), music & naps to regain energy. If I’m not, a hug & talking it out with a friend.

    • 9.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      Naps! Thanks for the reminder. I need to give napping a try. We all have a post-lunch slump, and I never get anything done in the early afternoon anyway. Naps… great idea. Thanks!

  10. 10
    Diane Sallans says:

    Life is a series of ups & downs, and no matter what, time just keeps ticking on. You do the best you can when there are decisions to be made. Reading, and immersing myself in a story (as long as it’s not a heartwrencher – gotta have that HEA) makes me feel better (along with a bit of dark chocolate).

    On one of your early points about commuting – I live an hour west of NYC. There’s a lot of talk about the mass transit issues, need for another tunnel for trains etc. And I can’t help but wonder why all those jobs have to be in NYC which requires all those people to travel in and out every day – why don’t they spread out more?!

    • 10.1
      Grace Burrowes says:

      Oh, the mass transit conundrum… Washington DC got to the point where the traffic experts were telling us: You can build all the roads you want and it won’t help. The population density exceeds what can be handled by people traveling in cars, period.
      So we’re extending the metro, tele-commuting, flexing our hours… There are some companies that go to nine hours days in summer with every other Friday off, timed to coincide with Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
      What I want to know is, why can’t we go to five weeks of paid leave and a 35 hour work week like the French? They also get 11 paid public holidays, and ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN WE ARE. If we made those changes, we’d probably cut traffic by ten percent, increase the flex hours by 12 percent, and reduce congestion accordingly. But is anybody giving my brilliant plan a try? Nooooooo. So I guess we’re stuck with dark chocolate and HEAs.

  11. 11
    Karen H near Tampa says:

    I don’t know quite how to say this without sounding too “Pollyanna-ish” but I’m a generally optimistic person and an “ignore it if you can’t do anything about it” person. So, for example, when my Mom had her big health issues (triple heart bypass, followed by knee surgery, and then breast cancer the next year), I just believed it would be fine later (and more than 10 years later, she’s still with us and in pretty good shape). I looked for information to ensure we were doing all we could but mostly I just don’t sweat it too much. That said, there were a few sleepless nights where my mind wouldn’t turn off but I read years ago that just staying in bed at least allows your body to rest and so that’s what I do. The same when I’ve faced my own surgeries and “waiting-for-a-diagnosis” times. Of course, in my family we’ve always said “only the good die young so we’re all gonna be around a very long time.” I also read a lot and that helps me get out of my head and my circumstances for small periods of time and that probably helps, too.

  12. 12
    elainec says:

    I’ve been weathering bad news for a few years now and have had three different surgeries. I hope for the best. I’ve gone for physical therapy each time and that helped.
    I think the best thing would be doing yoga. When I did it regularly, I was more peaceful and just felt better and in control of my body.

  13. 13
    Anne Egger says:

    I am very blessed to have great girlfriends, who are willing to listen to my problems and celebrate victories with me. I have a wonderful husband. I have two very spoiled cats ans two very spoiled dogs. Life is not easy, I think every season of life has its challenges, but having good people and fur babies by your side always helps.

  14. 14
    Marla Michalak says:

    I read a good book. It helps lift the dark moments.

  15. 15
    Marianne says:

    Why is it “bounce back,” (took a mandatory mental awareness course last spring called “Bounce Back,” too) as if it were a law of physics? The well one has landed in occasionally proves to be a pothole, but sometimes the pothole is a well or a mine shaft.

    They got Tiki Tiki Tembo out of the well, which is why it’s good to have friends who understand around. Even better when there’s a good book or two waiting, some uninterrupted time for sleep, reflection and healthy food, because usually it takes awhile after one gets out of the hole to move forward. It’s nice if the sheets are clean and the laundry done when that time comes.

  16. 16
    Glenda M says:

    Thank goodness excercise isn’t the top way to move on from problems! I’d be doomed! OK, maybe not completely, but there are days. . . .

    Over the years I’ve developed what a friend called a fatalistic attitude: There are many things in life we cannot change; accept them and move on. That doesn’t mean I totally ignore them. I read, do things with my family, cuddle my pets, and let my brain process the big things as I can handle them. It’s not that I never stress about things like work, but there are usually things I can do or try to do to change the work problems. The other horrible things I have limited control over, so I do what I can (including voting and physical therapy to recover from illness) and attempt to ‘power on’ both physically and mentally.

  17. 17
    Kate Sparks says:

    I have a couple of really good friends who have excellent listening skills.

  18. 18
    Polly N Cassady says:

    Back to the old ‘we moved a LOT, so” scenerio. New environments can create some (maybe little but feel) big black moments – having family around who were ALL experiencing the new place (if not the moment) made a big difference. And I have to admit I think I have the glass half full – or else I can figure out where to get more – personality that makes it a little easier for me to weather the tough stuff. Now that I have been in in to one place for a while, I also have friends who step in to be there with me. That helps, too.

  19. 19
    Lorie Bremer says:

    I know it sounds silly, but I just understand that I have to. That there isn’t really another option. Just keep my head down and work through it the best I can. Thank you so much for the chance!!

  20. 20
    Molly R. Moody says:

    I still haven’t learned all there is to recovering f.rom devastating news and I may never do so but I have learned to just continue living my life to satisfy only myself and so far it’s working fairly well.
    I remember back on January 21,2001, when I finally got the diagnosis of my life, I had Stage IV Rheumatoid Arthritis. I let out a big sigh and told the doctor “Thank you”. He was startled to say the least and asked why I thanked him. I told him it was because it had taken years and countless doctor visits before I got my diagnosis. I went on Humira, an injectible biologic drug, in March of 2003, two months after it came on the market and I’ve been on it ever since and will be for life. I don’t mind as I call it “my miracle drug”.
    I’ve become a “crazy cat lady” who reads a lot, plays with my cats, crochets when my hands cooperate, and I also play a lot lot of games on my computer, and my Kindle Fire.
    Things could be worse, I could be totally disable from my RA and stuck in a nursing home somewhere but I’m not. I’m still able to live alone and care for myself and my cats.

  21. 21
    Candace N says:

    I’ve had many opportunities in my life to perfect something that works for me. If it is something major I give myself 1 day to cry about it, feel sorry for myself or whatever it is I need to do and then I take a few deep breaths, pull up my big girl pants and shut myself off emotionally from it. I take a step back and try to look at it from outside the box. I ask myself why is it bugging me so much and what is it getting me by letting it bug me so much? I take the negative experience and try to turn it into something positive. Try to make the best of a bad situation. It’s made me stronger. I’ve dealt with it once, and now I know I can handle it in the future if it ever happens again.

  22. 22
    Julee Johnson-Tate says:

    You are so right about finding someone who helps us become our better selves as a key to good romance. I am helping my husband of thirty years deal with the grief of losing his father yesterday. We lost Mom Tate last July. I won the in-law lottery—they were terrific souls. It’s difficult. I went through it fifteen years ago and I couldn’t have done it without my husband. So I am trying to make decisions for us, like where to eat, etc. Love makes us manage to our strengths and feel secure enough to depend on someone else. Take care!

  23. 23
    Amy Ikari says:

    Happy Tuesday! My bounce back and resilience is built upon my faith that God is a God of kindness, love and compassion. I firmly believe it is not my responsibility to judge in any way. I rely on loving and encouraging others. When something happens, I lean on Him and trust Him. I also understand that it is a greater challenge to live and keep on trying. It is all too easy to give up. I also read, write letters and try to be thankful for my blessings both small and large. Thank you for being a blessing to me through your books. Have a blessed day! ❤️❤️❤️✉️

  24. 24
    Ellen Ziegler says:

    I lost both of my best friends when I was in College two years apart. it was devastating and could have been crippling had it not been for my knowledge that people still loved me, especially my family. It took me a long time and many years (I am now 65) to live by the motto, Every Black Cloud has a Silver lining.The loss of these people made me realize how lucky I was to have had them in my life in the first place, for if I had not loved them, I would not have mourned them. PLUS, my parents supported me, hugged me, let me cry, but after a while encouraged me to get back into life and enjoy my college years. My Dad used to say, ” You go ahead and cry, but don’t let it keep you down. Inside of you there are Pilgrim and pioneer genes, and those are pretty tough! Those people lost friends, family and endured hostile governments yet thrived. You have the same thing inside of you. You can do this!” Every time in these 65 years that life seems to get me down, I hear my Dad saying…”you have tough Genes, You can do this”

  25. 25
    Mary Jo says:

    I think about my kids, who are all grown and great humans…and now my grandbabies, 2+ & 6 weeks…they make everything better.

  26. 26
    Debbie says:

    I feel I have been on one continuous bounce for many, many years. The biggest bump was in 2011 when I had a “minor” heart attack. It was a confusing diagnosis- no it wasn’t and then it was a heart attack. The cause – stress.

    Thank God my life changed a few months later- I was able to leave my job as a Director of a child care center and become a stay-at-home Grandmother. My grandson became my lifesaver.

    I was able to enjoy what I loved most- children. I was able to dote on him and use all my education and experience in early education. No more payroll, staff schedules, call outs, or parent and staff complaints.

    My grandson never fails to make me smile and laugh. He and I share unconditional love. He’s my “bounce.”

  27. 27
    Tracy Deline says:

    When I’m feeling the big stresses (not the major rip-your-guts-out ones) I tend to hibernate a bit and become totally engrossed in reading my favourite novels. This may take weeks (and dozens of books) but having access to another set of thoughts and worries and problems gives me a way to see that my problems are universal in some ways and I’m not ever alone in that leaky boat. Also, I never read tragic novels. Only happy ending ones whether the genre is romance, fantasy, sci-fi or whatever.

    I also have great friends and family and a truly wonderful husband. I’m certainly never alone in that leaky boat. Somebody’s right there bailing with me.

  28. 28
    Christina says:

    I start with a cup of tea, reach out to a dear one for support, give love to my kitty, and remind myself of my resilience. If I need to cry or scream, I will and then I work on moving forward even if it’s just to take a step at a time and get through the hour or the day. If it’s really dire, a hot bath and some time outside helps.

  29. 29
    Lynn B says:

    I get through bad situations by reading fast paced books where my mind is rushing through various scenarios. Then I stop reading and think about all the things that are worrying me or making me feel bad. Sometimes I will come up with ways to help me get through the situation. At other times I stop and pray and ask for God’d help to get me through whatever I have to endure. Once the situation has resolved itself in a good or bad way I kind of talk to myself and think about what i need to do next. Usually I am amazed that I got through it and then move forward from a position of strength. Sometimes I fake cheerfulness until I actually start feeling that way.

  30. 30
    Jen Orr says:

    What usually works for me is just trying to power through – figure out the simplest thing that needs doing and do it and build from there. I may not be able to change the outcome of a diagnosis or a layoff or what have you, but I can fold the laundry, or cook someone a meal, etc. If I can focus on something to do, I can get out of that emotional spiral.

  31. 31
    Jane Tisell says:

    I have to admit, I don’t bounce well. But eventually I will pick a length of fabric and make… something. Oftentimes it’s prompted by a need for a gift, which I love to be handmade. And that will get the ball rolling.
    It’s making *anything* that helps.

  32. 32
    Amy says:

    I find taking some deep breaths helps, as well as cuddling on the couch with my kids and/or my cat.

  33. 33
    Missa says:

    I am currently weathering one of those black moments.
    And I wouldn’t even be able to attempt it if I didn’t have the friends that I have.
    One of them makes me text her with daily self praise and told me to that loving me is amazing.
    Another writes poetry for me and tells me that she “usually thinks of” me “in universe terms”.
    They love me for the unfathomable, beautiful, cosmic accident that I am.
    Without them, I’d be lost.
    They’re my reminders of who I am and who I can become again. When I’m doubt, I read our text threads and letters again and again.

  34. 34
    Karen Dooley says:

    I have been fortunate to work from home for the past 8 years. I make sure that I get up and “get dressed” for work every day. Unfortunately, my sedentary desk job has brought about back issues, so I am dealing with trying to find “balance” in my everyday job as well as working on our cluttered home.
    Having an amazing group of friends really makes a big difference, I also have a very supportive husband who works from home as well (and for the same software company).
    My escape is in those fantastic books that you write that show people dealing with and overcoming adversity. Those HEAs make a difference in a positive outlook for me.
    Thank you!

  35. 35
    catslady says:

    For me it’s putting other people and things before myself. I don’t have time to wallow in poor me when I have obligations to tend to and people to care for and animals that depend on me. And I always had books to escape when need be or just for the pure pleasure of reading.

  36. 36

    I allow myself to cry. I was brought up to believe that crying was weak. But with age cane wisdom and I now realize that crying allows me to release all the negative emotions so I can regain my strength. When my kids see me cry now they know I’m recharging! Ready to take on the next challenge. I find strength in tears but they have a place and time and I don’t allow myself to dwell there long.

  37. 37
    Cherie says:

    Grace, I think you could read your own books because the answer is in them. I just finished “A Truly Perfect Gentleman”, Grey and Addy’s story. You know the one. And it is about how Grey figures out how wealthy he really is despite a leaking roof, burned out dower house, an out-of-wedlock daughter, multiple brothers to support, etc. He thinks to sell his title to a high bidder and solve all those demands on his sanity. He thinks his title is his only remaining item of value.

    Do what you love because not doing it doesn’t improve the world nor anything you’re worried about.

    To directly answer your question, I weather the big black moments by reminding myself of the times I’ve been successful in weathering black moments. I did it before, I can do it again. The new black moments seem big because I’ve never been there before. Once I have I don’t consider them big anymore. Been there, done that, right? I think of my emotional energy as a real thing in a bank account and I don’t spend more than I have and I don’t waste it on people or ideas or thoughts that aren’t a good value. I also keep my emotional energy account full by doing things that bring me joy.

  38. 38
    Carly says:

    In the midst of one of the darker storms I had to deal with, I recall calling a therapist for advice on how to help someone who was in a crisis situation. I had been managing for about a month on my own, but I was not seeing any horizon and was afraid I would misstep. I realized very quickly that my questions were beyond this therapist’s skill, but she did ask me a question that elicited a response that has since framed how I proceed when life gets tough. She asked, “You sound so calm, why is that?”. My response, “Because I can’t afford to fall apart.” I recognized early on that I had to remain calm or this terrible situation would escalate horribly. It was all encompassing. Every move I made was scrutinized, so I was walking on a very fine line and acting very deliberately all of the time. I also recognized this state was not sustainable, so I had to have relief valves. During the crisis, I shared what was going on in my life with two people. One my boss. I needed him to know I may need flexibility with my schedule and work load on short notice. Secondly, a trusted family member who I could go to in the middle of the night if needed. These trusted people prevented me from internalizing everything. They checked in on me to remind me that I was not alone, even though I was the only one who could fight the battle. It allowed emotional release to take off the edge so I could soldier forward calmly. After the immediate crisis was over, I knew that I had to take care of myself as the after effects of the stress were beginning to hit. I began to work out. I needed to get the nervous energy out of me. I began paying attention to what my body needed (food, rest, etc). I talked honestly about the situation and I reflected on what happened and lessons learned. Finally, 6 months post crisis I went to Italy. The later was really a chance occurrence and although it was absolutely a soul purifying experience, I had almost healed at that point. I throw that out just to point out that Italy is always a good idea! Two years later, I was thrown another life altering curve ball. I can say without question, that ground work I laid previously helped immensely with how I coped with the new crisis. It was a huge life learning experience and gave me a lot of insight into myself.

  39. 39
    Sue Vander Beek says:

    I redirect my brain for a bit. Sometimes it’s a good novel, sometimes a project that requires full concentration. The key for me seems to be the fully stepping away from the source of the distress for a period of time. This works for most situations for me. If I must slog through, I still try to take a moment for a perspective shift toward gratitude.

  40. 40
    Julie L Spurlin-Hane says:

    For me it’s been faith in God and having someone with me. Whether it’s my hubby, a family member or a friend. A hard road is easier with someone else walking with you.

  41. 41
    Sharon Mayer says:

    I haven’t suffered a major setback in quite awhile. I roll with the punches of daily life.

    But 17 years ago my mother died when i was 39 years old and had 2 young kids. The year before that my father-in-law died. And the year before that I had a miscarriage (which resulted in a diagnosis of high risk for uterine cancer) and then my father died.

    Needless to say after all of that I ended up a mess. I took a prozac type drug and went to therapy for 6 months and have been fine ever since.

    Sometimes you just need help to get through.

  42. 42
    Sarah Dempsey says:

    I always try and remember that as bad as things are someone is having a worse time than me. Someone’s child is sick or they can’t pay their rent and I realize that things aren’t so bad for me after all.

  43. 43
    Karen Devin says:

    I’ve had many bad times over the years, and I can’t say that I’ve coped well at all times. Now, though, I ultimately just tell myself I’m going to get through this (whatever “this” is) because there’s no other option. I focus on positive thoughts and surround myself with positive people. I just tell myself that I cannot and will not fail.

  44. 44
    Gennie Callard says:

    Today i danced.
    I put in my ear buds (because i wanted the music to be inside of my) and i jumped and danced and closed my eyes and connected to the musicians giving their energy to me. It worked!