After a setback, you’ll want to eliminate whatever gets in your way to move forward again.  As the short term benefits from the rush of adrenaline and the cushion of shock fade, the magnitude of what has happened to you and your family can be overwhelming.  We barely have the strength to cope with the situation.

To help you, I’ve made a list a few things that can get in your way.   If and when they crop up for you – and it can be immediate or years later – you’ll want to be prepared to acknowledge their existence and the positive changes you can make to get past them.

  • Not knowing what to do, where to go, who to call – This is generally part of the panic in your immediate response to a setback. During a full blown emergency, you will be in reactive mode.  This is where you think on your feet, checking to make sure everyone is okay, dealing with true emergencies, calling for help and getting to safety. The best thing you can do is call for help.  At the very least, you’ll have someone to calm you down, offer support and help you get it.
  • If you’ve been preparing for disasters, you will have an emergency call list posted in a prominent place in your home where you can find contact information quickly. Who should be on that list?  911 – for fire and ambulances.    Utilities.  Your minister, rabbi or other faith based leader.  Friends.  Family.   Neighbors.  You’ll have your own ideas as well.   If you still have a telephone book, you’ll find many useful emergency help ideas in the front of the book and, if you can get on your computer or smartphone, there is a wealth of information to be found online.
  • For the long run, as you go through new challenges along your recovery path, keep watching and praying for resources that are available to you. When you are actively seeking solutions, an internal system is activated that makes you aware of what is already around you.
  • Health emergencies and beyond – When a health emergency occurs, you need to get help immediately or as soon as possible. There are 3 critical areas that need attention – is the patient bleeding, breathing, conscious?  Do what first aid you know to render help.  Follow the directions of the 911 staff and get to safety as soon as you are able.
  • If you’ve been preparing, you will be up to date on your first aid training, have packed your Emergency To-Go bag, as well as water, a first aid kit, space blankets and life straws, and may have a generator so that any equipment will keep running until you can get assistance.
  • Your health takes priority in the recovery process. Do what has to be done.  It could take some time before one is either healed or moves into a chronic situation.  Be aware of the difference.  If and when you realize that a health emergency will become a chronic issue, be sure to explore accommodations that can be made so that you are able to recover from this setback in spite of lingering health issues.
  • Finances – Often setbacks wipe out your asset base or force you to bear staggering costs in the recovery process. They are not necessarily covered by insurance.  As soon as possible, take stock of your financial situation.  To take this inventory, ask yourself:  What do you have with you?  What did you lose?  What remains?  What will you need as you go through the recovery process and what resources are available to you to rebuild your financial situation?  What skills do you have, and who can you call?  Even if you have lost all of your physical belongings, you have talents, abilities and resources.
  • The key to recovery is maintaining your cash flow. You can rebuild from there.  If you have savings placed in diversified, passive income generating areas, everything is not lost through one setback in a given category.  You may have a business or a hobby that can generate income if your job is downsized or destroyed.  You may have additional resources available in the form of credit or grants to handle extraordinary expenses you may encounter.  Check out government assistance.  It may be challenging to navigate the procedures, and may involve loans, but there are multiple sources to investigate.
  • Be prepared. The process of rebuilding your financial base can take years if you are starting from scratch.  It can be humbling.  Remember cash flow is king.  Be creative.  Identify a service you can provide where someone will pay or barter with you.  Be willing to accept jobs that keep money coming into your hands even if they are not your dream job.  Without money your emotions and physical well-being become tangled and worry impacts your mental state.  Get on a budget; manage your spending.  Look for resources that can help you.  After you get back on your feet, you’ll be able to expand again. 
  • Emotional Distress – Fear, grief and negative emotions like blame, anger, and self-pity are debilitating. If you get stuck – which I did – be kind to yourself.  Recovery doesn’t happen in a moment. And it doesn’t necessarily happen smoothly.  Humans are messy creatures.  We carry a lot of baggage with us.  Use meditation, centered prayer, walks in nature, art and music to connect with your Highest Self.   Then ask for clarity in your purpose and guidance.  Develop tools and techniques like affirmations, Afformations and positive self-talk.
  • It’s very helpful to re-establish routines as soon as possible, especially with kids. There is something about the structure and normalcy of daily habits that helps you believe you can get through anything.  And the actions involved also help prevent depression and fear.  A psychologist at church gave me my first list of suggested daily actions:  sleep 7-9 hours, eat well, exercise and breathe deeply, laugh, learn, talk with a trusted friend, help others, say thank you and surround yourself in beauty, prayer and meditation.  With a structure to your day, you can begin the process of moving forward.  
  • Negative/destructive habits, addictions – After a setback, it’s a good idea to evaluate what has been working in your life and what has not. The bad habits you have can become the obstacle that blocks access to the very best resources within you.  Are you overweight?  Do you ever exercise?  Do you have any addictions?  Do you smoke?  You need to keep all cylinders available to you during the recovery process.  You may need help with this.  There are support groups with expertise in the specific area you identify as being of concern.  Be open to joining others.  They know what you are going through because they have probably been there themselves.

We have been looking at what I call the Outer Work required to recover from a setback, but it also includes some of what is called Inner Work, meaning that it takes place within our minds.  In any recovery, it is essential to include both your inner and outer games.  In my next post, we’ll look at some of the inner work you can do to improve your ability to successfully bounce back from setbacks.

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