when your world turns upside down

If you’ve experienced trauma of any kind, you know how everything can change in the blink of an eye. And trauma can come in many guises.  It could be divorce, or death of a loved one, redundancy, or children leaving home.  It could even be a worldwide pandemic.  For me it was a cancer diagnosis… and then a worldwide pandemic! 

Whatever the catalyst that turns your world upside down, it can feel as though you’ve lost yourself.  You can become consumed with fear, overwhelm, anger, grief and even depression. 

It can feel like you are spinning out of control, that you are powerless and alone.

Through every catalyst comes phases of recovery.

In phase one; at a time when it’s difficult to hold a thought, or find the strength to get out of bed, the most important thing you can do is just stop.  Breathe.  And then focus on the basics; family, food and fresh air.  

In phase two, it’s time to reclaim a semblance of your strength both physically and emotionally.  In other words, now is the time to focus on your vitality.

To feel empowered when our world is spinning out of control takes small daily, consistent steps.  It’s those steps that encourage us to get up, get dressed and live our best possible day. Even when the world is changing so dramatically and we can no longer imagine what our future will hold.

Here are seven daily rituals that will take you from lost and overwhelmed to feeling optimistic, calm and connected.
  1. journaling.  You need to find a safe space to vent, rant, rage.  We are living through uncertain times and there is a lot of fear in the world right now.  You need to be able to process those overwhelming emotions so you don’t carry them around with you all day.  I follow Julia Cameron’s philosophy of morning pages.  3 x A4 pages of unconscious writing.  As close to waking as possible, sit somewhere you won’t be interrupted, and write whatever is in your head. As quickly as possible.  Don’t filter or worry about your handwriting.  Just get the noise from your monkey mind onto the page.  When you have written 3 pages, close the book. And then get on with your day.
  2. hydration + wholesome food.  When you’re world is upside down it’s especially important to stay as vital as possible. It’s the only way you’re best able to take care of yourself and your loved ones.  This means staying hydrated and eating nutritious food.  Start your morning with a glass of warm water and lemon juice.  Throughout the day, keep a glass of water by your side – you’re aiming to drink 8 glasses a day.  Put a timer in your phone if necessary to remind you to drink. Eat wholesome food; a rainbow of fruit and veggies as well as wholegrains, healthy fats and protein.
  3. gentle exercise.  Get outside every day. Find time to step out of the house. Step and listen to the birds singing. Feel the sun on your face and fill your lungs with fresh air.  It’s important to focus on your strength and flexibility too.  Get out on your bike. Or, or maybe a run or brisk walk. Anything that will challenge you, as long as you’re still able to talk. Show up to one of the free yoga or pilates classes on YouTube or Instagram. Use this time to focus on your strength.
  4. mindfulness.  Every day find 10 minutes to just sit and breathe.  Our breath is our life force and when we are stressed we have a tendency to breath shallow and fast. Some of us even hold our breath.  These 10 minutes will slow your mind down and bring much needed calm to an anxious mind and body.  Find a guided meditation or prayer, sit somewhere quiet and allow yourself to focus purely on the words.
  5. gratitude.  Finding appreciation in the small things is the quickest and most joyful way to reignite your energy. It will warm your heart. It will bring clarity to your thoughts and plans.  Whether you write in your journal or allow those thoughts to flow through your body. A few moments every day as a reminder of all you have will boost your vitality and pull you forward towards a brand new day.
  6. rest.  Good quality sleep may be elusive for a while and as it’s the corner stone to vitality. You must find a way to rest throughout the day.  Whether that’s finding time to nap, or allowing others to cook the dinner whilst you have a bath. Make sure you prioritise a time just for you.  And remember a relaxing wind-down routine at the end of the day can make a huge difference to your ability to fall asleep.
  7. extra support.  Whatever challenge you’re facing or have faced, I highly recommend finding a counsellor or therapist. Someone who can help you make sense of it all and help you to heal.   Our emotional resilience during any trauma is of upmost importance – it is this that takes us from surviving to thriving.  The professional help I had during and after my cancer battle was life changing for me.

It was the professional help, the safe space and support that was given to me that ignited a passion within and became the driving force behind my business. As I recovered and began to thrive, I went on to qualify as a coach, art therapist and EFT practitioner so I could support others in their success stories as they too navigate their way through challenges.

These practices made all the difference to me.  But I’d love to know what works for you. It may be something that small, but made all the difference when times have been tough.

If you’re curious to learn more or need a little extra support as you navigate your way back into the world then book a call and secure a place on my Essential Resilience Programme.

Here’s to a great month .


About the author:

As founder of the women’s vitality and leadership company, Vital Leaders, Kat has lived experience of Boardroom brilliance and burnout. Couple this with her corporate insights, coaching excellence, and psychotherapy expertise and it’s easy to see why she’s recognised as one of the UK’s leading coaches. She supports ambitious women to own their genius and elevate their success.

She’s also the founder of The Vitality Club, a private members network for ambitious women who are ready to embrace their authentic power and sky-rocket their career, without burning out.

And she’s the creator of an empowerment group, Life After Cancer, which is a voluntary-led initiative dedicated to supporting men and women as they rebuild their lives after their battle with cancer.

Kat’s mission is to make a significant impact on the lives of women around the world, guiding them back to their authentic voices, to embrace their genius; powerfully, boldly and without burning out.

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