What it feels like when sh*t hits the fan. You wake up one morning, get news that turns your world sideways? Then, you have kids crawling up your butt, your coffee is burnt, your car won’t start, and your shirt is inside out. Your first thought is probably, “Did sh*t just hit the fan?”.
Maybe some of you heard about “retrograde”. It’s a thing when some planets line up and apparently try to ruin your life somehow. For some, retrograde was very real. For others, they were oblivious. And, for some (*raises hand ever so slightly*), they knew about it and pretended they didn’t know it existed. Yet, sh*t was hitting the fan already and there was no stopping any of it.
My first inclination was to hide in a cave and stop functioning until retrograde ended. I needed something to blame and felt like Mars and Mercury were great scapegoats. But, in real life, blaming planets sounded like another excuse.
From being responsible for two little living things (young children under 5 years old), and despite my favorite little furbaby (Charlie the Maltese) not feeling well (that’s an understatement, he was paralyzed from the ribs down overnight), I was forced to be productive. It wasn’t easy and it was one of those “fetal position” kind of situations.
If you find yourselves in a place where your heart hurts, and you feel like giving up because you don’t want to face life at all, I want to tell you that I’ve been there. Here are the ways I pulled through.
Be Easy on Yourself. If there was ever a time where it was ok to do the bare minimum, this is the time. But, don’t give up completely. Peanut butter jelly sandwiches for all 3 meals, rather than roasted chicken and potatoes from the organic backyard garden, is okay. Forget folding clothes. Keep life around you functioning, but it doesn’t have to be a stellar performance right now. Think 60% versus 200%.
Find Strength. Obviously, if you are feeling weak on all fronts: emotionally, physically, and mentally, find strength either from family, a really good friend, or your faith. This is a time you will easily feel alone and vulnerable, but there’s always at least one person out there who cares about you deeply. You just need to find that person and they will pull you through the darkest of days. You have to trust them enough to show them your vulnerabilities, and trust that they will take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself. If you have no one and believe in a higher power of some sort, find solace there also. Believe you are never alone and you will pull through.
Stay Busy. It’s counterintuitive to be easy on yourself yet stay productive. However, I didn’t say to take a vacation. If you have a job, keep doing that job to the best of your ability despite what’s going on that’s trying to strangle your soul. If you have a project, work on it a little bit each day instead of abandoning it. While this feels hard, it’ll keep your mind off what’s suffocating you, and you will actually feel better that you didn’t check out of life. You’ll have a semi-rock star moment like, “hey, this sucks, but at least I did something today.”
Stay Positive Despite it All. Nothing will make you feel worse than being negative about the situation. It’s so incredibly hard to be positive about hard situations, but positive coping has been scientifically shown to help you create better outcomes. You can’t control what will happen, but you can protect yourself and your soul/heart by trying to be positive. People who think and act negatively almost always fare worse than their optimistic counterparts. Trust me, I will be writing another boring article full of research talking about the negative outcomes for people who are negative all the time. The point of this is, if you can maintain some level of positivity (even if it’s just slight), you will be better able to deal with the difficult situation (e.g., kids, job, life), and make better decisions for those who need you (e.g., a sick pet, a sick person, etc.)
Get a Support System or Trust In Yourself. This kind of goes back to finding strength, but it’s important to really reiterate this. When you are struggling, you need to find a support group/person to help bring you back up. Or you might be one of the lucky few with a strong, resilient personality, who can ride out the worst of storms. These people are rare and they can dig themselves out of the deepest of ruts without help from anyone. I am not this kind of rare gem, unfortunately. I’ve been lucky to find some of the best people of all time who are willing to drop everything and hop on a plane to help me through the things. I need you to find this person, and then let them help you ride out the storm. You either need to trust and help yourself, or find someone else to support you, but you can’t just sit there being “paralyzed” with fear or pessimism when life goes to sh*t.
When poop hits the fan, you either get some baby wipes and clean it up yourself. Or, you hand those wipes to someone else and let them help you clean up that mess. Either way, there are ways out of having poop drip on you for all of eternity. What are some ways you deal with dirty messes in life? Who are the people you turn to help you wipe down the fan?