One thing we can all be guaranteed in this life: there will be storms. There will be challenges that rattle us to our core. There will be challenges that threaten to break us…and some of us will break and some of us will survive and some of us will thrive, coming out stronger than before.
How prepared are you for a storm? Do you have a disaster preparedness kit ready?
I’m not like that. I procrastinate. I hope for the best. When the power goes out I will buy a flashlight…if there are any left in the store. That’s kind of how I felt when the biggest storm of my life hit me - like I was totally unprepared, no gallons of water, no flashlight with extra batteries - completely caught off guard. That’s how I felt. And looking back at each storm I’ve endured, I think it’s safe to say that nothing really prepares you for a storm. They are often unannounced and unexpected. You may have heard the saying “not all storms are in the forecast”…all? I’ve not yet met one storm that was in the forecast.
While it’s difficult to anticipate and prepare for life’s storms, there are some things that make some people better equipped to navigate them than others. There are some steps we can take in our lives to prepare us not only to survive the storm but thrive despite the storm.
One of the biggest lessons we learn when we are going through a challenging time is that we cannot go it alone. We need to have a support system. We need to have people we can lean on. Family, friends, coworkers and spiritual community are a source we can rely on for support in many ways: emotional, mental, spiritual, physical. Being able to receive from your personal community as you go through the storm is not always easy (especially if you’re very independent and tend to be self-reliant…not that I’d know) but it is incredibly helpful to have your community easing your burden. They will often hold you up when you feel you cannot go on.
I’m a “Jesus girl” so I can’t really say “have faith in something bigger than you”, I can only say, faith in Jesus is really the only thing that truly saved me from total destruction. And I don’t mean find religion, I mean find relationship with Jesus. The Jesus who has a plan for you…a GOOD plan. The Jesus who loves you unfailingly, even when you think you’re totally unworthy. The Jesus who knows your heart and wants to bless you. The Jesus who will be there with you at rock bottom and everywhere else.
Healthy mind, healthy body, healthy soul - they all go hand in hand. If anything is lacking, every aspect will suffer in some capacity. The best thing you can do for yourself during a storm is take care of yourself. Get plenty of exercise. Resist the urge to become sedentary and increase or maintain your normal activity levels. Eat well and make sure you stay hydrated. When we eat junk we feel like junk and when the rest of our life feels like it’s falling apart the last thing we need is to feel like junk. And of course, get plenty of sleep. Do things that make your soul happy - read a book, take a hike, hang out with a friend, etc.
When we regularly practice gratitude it helps us to put life in perspective. There is always something to be grateful for, even when it may not feel like it. I will forever remember during the darkest storm of my life when my friend reminded me to appreciate nature, “look at the beautiful flowers and be thankful.” Start with the little things and you will continue to find more to be grateful for and your perspective will surely change as you shift your focus to all the good in your life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges and forget just how much good we have. This is exactly why we need to practice gratitude, daily!