Given everything that’s been going on in the world recently, I knew it was time we had a conversation about what we can actually do during a time of crisis. I’m often asked, “How do you carry on when it feels like the world is falling apart”?
The truth is like almost everyone else, I’ve learned how to compartmentalize my feelings. I can be stressed about the state of the world but still show up to work or feed my family.
However, there have been times in my life where I have found myself in crisis mode. I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back there were 3 things that I focused on that helped me push through. In this episode of 100 Tiny Actions, I’m sharing 3 actions to focus on during a time of personal or global crisis. Hopefully, you can add these as helpful strategies to your personal your toolbox.
Action #1 – Focus on what you can control
A huge driver of that feeling of helplessness during a crisis is the loss of control. You want to help. You can see that something needs to be done. Oftentimes, we don’t know how to help or what would be most beneficial.
I try to focus on the things that are within my control. During a crisis, it’s easy to get distracted from the simplicity of that statement.
Ask yourself, “Now that this thing has happened what can I actually do”?
Then, frame it through the lens of:
- What can I do for myself?
- What can I do to help my loved ones?
- What can I do (if anything) for everyone else?
It’s also important to recognize that you don’t need to have all the solutions or pretend to have them.
Action #2 – Choose a role and focus on that
You can’t do everything. Also, you can’t be everything to everyone. You’re human and you have limits. It’s better if you choose a role to perform and focus on doing it to the best of your ability.
I read a tweet a while back about how activism requires different roles and it put this idea in perspective for me. When you are campaigning, there are many different roles and everyone is necessary to move a cause forward. There are people who are organizers. People who want to be on the ground knocking on doors and signing others up. People who make speeches and media appearances. People sending money to fund the campaign. People watching the kids.
Like a campaign, a crisis also has roles that need to be filled. Ask yourself, “What role would be the best fit for me? Where are my efforts most needed”?
Action #3 – Focus on rest
This seems counterproductive but rest is essential for clear thinking. Your brain can only process so much at once. Focus on what you can do to rest and restore yourself during a crisis.
This could mean turning on ‘do not disturb’ on your phone, going to bed earlier or turning off the news. A tired mind is more prone to making mistakes and unable to make quick decisions. It also puts you at risk for injury and illness.
You can’t predict how long a crisis will last. To protect yourself from burn out and exhaustion over the long haul, you have to prioritize rest.
Those are my 3 actions that I focus on during times of crisis. What would you add to this list?
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