By Tina Plett
We all face obstacles.
A controlling parent, a cheating colleague, lying clients or a bullying boss.
When you’re in it, especially if stress and difficulty come from multiple sides, it can feel like the most miserable isolation. But the truth is that none of us is alone. We all struggle.
So, what do you do when the pressure becomes relentless and you start to feel like you’re drowning in negativity?
You don’t drown in water by being in it. You drown in water by staying in it. – Edwin Louis Cole
Many years ago, I was in just such a place – drenched in deep, extreme negativity. The enormous personal stress resulted in my losing 50 lbs. in a month. I couldn’t eat – my body wouldn’t allow it. My insides felt shaky – like I’d swallowed a phone stuck on vibrate. And all I could think about was the very difficult circumstance that was turning my heart inside out.
Then something happened that changed my life.
A friend noticed and did something. She saw what a mess I was and how it was damaging my body.
“You need to go to a doctor!” she said.
I insisted that I didn’t – that I could handle it. She insisted more and made me go. She drove me to the doctor’s office. She sat with me in the room. She forced me to get help.
And it rescued me.
Most of the stress and difficulty we face in our work and relationships isn’t that extreme. But it’s critical to recognize when we’re maxed out on stress and negativity, and to take action before we make things worse – for others and for ourselves.
I was lucky that time to have a friend not only notice, but then help me initiate change. We can’t wait for a masked hero to arrive, though. Most of the time we have to be our own friend, noticing that we are a mess and that something has to give.
I don’t know why we find it so hard to give ourselves permission to be wounded; to feel hurt. I’ve got news for you: humans hurt, hearts break and we’re not robots who can flick a switch to make it all stop.
Healing can only happen when we realize we need it.
Needing help does not mean you’re weak. In fact, it’s what’s going to strengthen you. Admitting your wounds is itself an act of strength and the next step to progress – no guilt required. Give yourself permission to need help.
There is a time to take a break. When you’re slammed from all different sides, it’s tough to pull out a smile. We have to recognize when our bodies, emotions and thoughts need a break.
When we are in a bad mental state, we’re probably not the most effective in our work and relationships anyway. We need to invest in our own well being with the gift of a rest.
Know that your rest and recharge time doesn’t have to look like sunbathing on a beach in Cancun. It doesn’t have to be two weeks long. Do and be what refreshes you.
For some, it’s going to be retreating to a cabin with a stack of romance novels. For others it looks like camping out in a recliner for a few days, refusing to cook or clean, so their body can heal.
Recently, I took a break to recharge, and spent that time attending classes, learning online, brainstorming my brand positioning and product development. That – especially the brand positioning and marketing – is what revives my motivation. It refreshes my confidence in my abilities to excel and fires me up to work with renewed gusto.
What refreshes you will be different than what works for others and that’s okay. I’m curious – how to you recharge when facing obstacles?