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  • Writer's pictureHelen Dempsey-Henofer

When life does not go as planned: 3 self-care tips for life's disruptions

Sometimes things happen that we were not prepared for. When your world gets rocked, when the structure that you trusted as "how things are" gets pulled out from under you, it can feel like being pummeled.


It can be a huge challenge to get oriented to what is. It makes sense for this to be challenging. It definitely does not mean there's anything wrong with you to struggle with this. Therapists, like our team at Divergent Path Wellness, can help. Whether or not you decide to work with a therapist, these tips are for you.


While some tips on how to take care for yourself doesn't change what is, sometimes they help. With the unexpected, there's some situations people often encounter that you might benefit from some pointers on how to respond to.




1. For when you're all talked out:

Have a script


It definitely helps to have people in your corner that you can confide in. For sure. It's also okay if it's sometimes too much and you don't want to go there. Write out a script for those times that well-intentioned people check in and you don't feel like talking. It's 100% okay for you to set boundaries. You might try, "Thanks for checking on me. I'm not up for talking about this now."


2. For when this experience is all-consuming: Dedicate time to self-kindness


It can be challenging to focus on something else when this thing has reconfigured your life. That can be true and being entirely consumed by it probably has consequences. Schedule time to give yourself kindness by doing things that you tend to enjoy. These can be small: savoring a cup of tea or screaming along to Norwegian metal (or whatever your thing is).


You can expect that if you've been focused on this disruptive experience your mind might want to return to it, to try to reorient, to problem-solve. Your workaholic mind may not know know it needs time off. If you are struggling to be present with the thing you tend to enjoy (even if enjoyment isn't particularly present right now) acknowledge that, and then bring your attention as fully as you can to the sensory experience of the thing you're doing (is the tea warm? the guitar riffs complex?) as fully as you can.


3. For when you're feeling pressured: Permission to pause


Oof! Urgency is a beast. Navigating new stress uses resources and often reduces our capacity to respond in the moment. Overwhelm does that. If you're feeling pressured to have the right words (even to simple questions like, "how are you feeling?") or to do something NOW, give yourself a moment.


Check in with yourself. Take a breath and ask yourself, right now, what matters? Is there actually a response needed in this moment or is this a situation where it might be kind to yourself to respond, "I'll come back to this later?"


What if you need more than tips?


We're human and we need people. If you've got trusted people in your corner who can be there to support you through this, use them! If you need someone with skills or an objective perspective that your friends just don't have (That's okay! friends are their own much needed kind of support. They aren't a replacement for a therapist) reach out to a therapist.


At Divergent Path Wellness we help adults and teens 14+ in Virginia who are dealing with anxiety, shame, and relationship challenges. We are intentional in providing informed, affirming support to members of the LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, secular and religious trauma communities. Have questions about therapy? Contact us at discovery@divergentpathwellness.com with an inquiry. To easily schedule a free consultation visit the website: Divergent Path Wellness.

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