When we’re up against overwhelming life challenges, we might feel unable to unravel it all. Studies have shown that this can result either in freezing up - not doing anything at all - or repeating ineffective problem-solving strategies. If it continues, this stage can cause other life issues or sustained stress that can hurt our physical and mental health.
So, how do we begin; how do we go from “freeze/repeat” to action for solving the issues?
Below are some steps that may help you in this process:
1) Try to avoid self-judgement.
If you’re experiencing complex life challenges, the first part of moving through them might be to let go of any self-blame or self-judgement for feeling stuck. You're not alone, it is ok and normal to feel stuck...this is tough stuff!
Although it’s not always easy to pause from our daily responsibilities, sometimes the best thing we can do is to remove ourselves away from the fray, take some deep, calming breaths, and slow down our thinking.
3) Micro-productivity is the new black.
Break down your overall situation into distinct issues - studies show this works better if you write down your thoughts in the moment that they are happening. Then work out specific steps to tackle each issue. Set realistic, meaningful goals for each step.
4) Pace yourself - do one or two steps at a time and don't take on too much.
Build milestones into your plan to give yourself reward moments. Studies have shown that the more wins you can build into solving a challenging situation, the more "dopamine (reward) rushes" you’ll experience along the journey and the more motivated you’ll stay.
5) Just spitballin’ here.
Studies show that staying within conventional or pre-conceived notions for addressing a problem prevents people from finding effective, individualized solutions - just let your imagination flow for now!
6). Gather information about each idea and then begin to narrow down the options you'd like to try.
If you need, your community has many information resources for you! Use community info databases or ask your family doctor, nurse practitioner, librarian or community info line to help you explore options that meet your needs.
Prioritize what you need to deal with first and start putting your ideas to work. Ask for professional help – or a good friend – if you think you’ll need support staying on track.
Keep your goals in mind. If one strategy isn’t a good fit, try another one.
Finally - give yourself breaks when you need them…and in the more difficult moments, remember Step 1 on this list!
Interested in learning more?
Join Maria, BFHT System Navigator, as part of our Burlington Public Library Series, on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023 from 11am-12pm at the Central Location.