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Here’s what to do when your world falls apart
Remember that time life threw a curve ball at you? That moment you feel like your whole world is slowly tumbling down? You may have lost your job, became bankrupt, or had a relationship fall apart. Things were going smoothly, then suddenly you’re in the middle of a storm and your plans are so many ashes in the wind. Sometimes you get knocked down so hard that you feel you’ll never get back up again and it’s hard to imagine how you could ever pick up the pieces when that happens. My life had a major shakedown very recently – so recently that it’s still going on as I write this, in fact. But even when life feels like a rollercoaster, remember that you’re still the one at the controls, and the way you react to the downs can ultimately help you reach new highs.
#1 Give yourself time
As the famous adage goes, “time heals all wounds.” But don’t force yourself to let the time pass. Don’t numb yourself with other activities, people, places or substances. Something bad happened and your loss is real, whether it’s the loss of a person, a thin or a future that seemed so solid it felt real. Give yourself time to actually mourn, to feel that pain, and to acknowledge it. It’s there. It’s real. And it’s not good if you try to ignore it or try to push past it. Take in the process and just allow yourself to hurt. There will be time to mend things and there will be time for joy and new plans, and you don’t want past pain to interfere with it. Feel the pain so that it can heal. If you try to ignore it, it will eventually catch up with you in the future.
#2 Get emotional support
You are not required to go through bad things alone. Sometimes, it feels like no one can actually understand your pain, but in a world as large as ours, there are always people who have been through something very similar. And even if you don’t find or need an understanding support group, a friend you trust who will listen without judging can be all the support you need. They don’t need to solve your problems for you – all you need at this point is a sense that someone is there for you, so you can go on with your next steps.
#3 Eat healthy
Now this advice may be out of place but I know a lot of stress eaters. And when you do not eat or eat healthy during difficult times, your body becomes weaker and your ability to think and find new solution actually decreases. If you do not help yourself even by just providing your body its needs then it will be difficult for you to pick up the fallen pieces. Taking care of yourself is part of healing. Food is fuel to help you keep going. If you do not want to stay in that place, then get fuel! Do not drown yourself in alcohol or sweets because you are just keeping yourself in that downward spiral. You’ll be surprised how this can help you.
#4 Have a gratitude list
This may sound impossible at the moment but it can help. Our lives are composed of many different aspects. When one world is falling, it’s difficult to see the other worlds that are still in place. So breathe in, sit down, and try to list the good things in your life at that moment. Start with “I’m still alive and healthy.” Because unless your world fell apart because your days are numbered, then you still have a lot to be thankful for. List even the small things like having a good breakfast that morning or still having fuel in your car. You are helping your mind see the future by looking at positive things today.
#5 Realize that life goes on
If you’re still breathing, it’s not over. Evaluate what happened and what are the consequences. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal disease, you will live on and be alive a year from today. So, where do you want to be and how do you want your life to look like when one year has gone past? Because time will pass and that day, a year from now will happen no matter what you do. After you’ve allowed yourself to acknowledge your pain, allow yourself a look at the future. Where do you want to be? Because in one year’s time, you can either be right where you are now, or you can be one year closer to whatever new goal you set yourself. It may take longer than a year, but the only way that 100% ensures you will remain right where you are is by doing nothing.
#6 One foot in front of the other
Finally, understand that things can fall down in an instant, but rebuilding takes time. We all get knocked down – the only thing that really defines you is the ability to rebuild as many times as it takes. When you’ve picked yourself up and realized you are still drawing breath, the next question should be whether your old plans are still viable. If they are, start working towards them. If they’re not – make a new plan. Decide where you want to be and then trace back the steps that take you there. Now take that first step forward and begin moving.
I know it’s difficult to stand up again when your world is falling apart. And we all have our personal trials and challenges. But there will always be a new morning where you can stand up and try again as long as you’re alive and breathing.
All storms pass. Yours will too.