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How to cope in a crisis

Coping under pressure is aided no end by employing a four-letter word

In a crisis women are often great at looking after others while letting their own needs slide.

Many of us have been there, when the whole family has the flu, making soup and hot lemon drinks, while answering work emails and tending to the daily chores.

Then, when we’re finally struck by the lurgy everyone, having made a full recovery, is out the door, back to school or work, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

In these situations it’s easy to put your own health on the back burner.  You might forget to eat lunch, miss your yoga class or neglect to drink enough water.

I’ve been experiencing a bit of this myself recently, with a close family member in hospital.  For four days I tended the bedside, soothed tears, interrogated health professionals and attempted to sleep on a plastic covered pull-out bed in a brightly lit ward, waking every few hours as my loved one’s vital signs were measured.

During all this it was very difficult to get away to have meals at regular times, and finding a healthy option was not impossible but not exactly easy.

When the drama died down a bit, and I had a moment to collect myself, I realised I’d need to change what I was doing or pretty soon I wouldn’t be fit to provide any care at all.

So I asked for help.  It’s a simple thing but really makes a difference.  Often people will be hanging around the sidelines able to lend a hand but don’t know help is needed.  Also, they may need a little direction but that’s okay, give it to them.

My help came in the form of home-cooked meals brought in for me by my partner.

Just sitting down in the evening to eat a wholesome, delicious meal, made with fresh ingredients and a bit of love, off the hospital’s paper plates was uplifting. It’s so simple but it gets you through.

I’m putting it to you to be mindful of your own health needs.  Take time for yourself to cook from scratch or make it to that yoga class.  Even if you have to schedule it in to your diary.  And remember to get those around you to share the load a little.

Date modified: February 17 2021
First published: Apr 2016

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