How does a woman cope with an emotional crisis?
You are an intelligent woman with a family who loves you and a wide circle of friends. Your life is rich with activities that challenge and fulfil you. Then, one day the unexpected happens. You lose your job; or your long-term relationship fails; or you have a death in the family. How does a woman cope with an emotional crisis?
When natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes happen, what is the first thing you ought to have in your possession? The answer is an emergency survival kit. Similarly, a woman who wants to overcome her emotional crisis can equip herself with an emotional survival kit.
An emergency survival kit consists of items in five main categories: Preparation, Sustenance, First Aid, Tools and Communication. We can draw an analogy from this to prepare our own emotional survival kit.
Naturally, there is preparation that goes into assembling your emergency survival kit. You will need to list the items you wish to buy for your kit. Likewise, for your emotional survival kit, you will need to prepare to the best of your abilities, for the possible emotional crisis that you may face. Be alert to the “warning signals”. An example is a possible retrenchment exercise in the company that you work for.
In the current economic climate, job security is a rarity. It is practical, at all times, to have sufficient savings to act as an emergency fund. How much? Some general guidelines are as follows: 2 to 3 months of your current salary or 6 months worth of living expenses. Work out a realistic budget for expenses of necessities. Start small but be consistent every month. Add on to your savings where possible.
Whenever possible, update your resume to reflect your current achievements. Therefore when the need arises, you are able to send your resume quickly to various recruitment agencies or prospective new employers. It is wise to keep in touch with your ex-colleagues as they may prove to be invaluable resources for information on new jobs and opportunities.
Preparation is also crucial when it comes to dealing with family members who are ill. Before buying an insurance policy for your immediate family members, you can consult different insurance agencies to discover what they have to offer. Consider insurance policies that have sufficient coverage for death, personal injury and critical illnesses. You must also be comfortable with the premium payments as this will be a long term commitment on your part. Once you have enough information, you will be able to make an informed decision on the appropriate insurance policy to purchase for your family.
If a family member has an incurable disease, it is better to accept the situation and make appropriate plans. Denial will only make the matter worse as you are not dealing with the inevitable. Set a budget for prolonged medical care or funeral expenses beforehand. If it is too morbid for you to handle this alone, seek the assistance of a trusted family member or friend. It is better to deal with such things before your emotions cloud your judgment.
As for relationship breakdowns, keep your eyes open for warning signals, such as:
· Your partner prefers to spend more time with friends than you.
· You feel that you are drifting apart from each other.
· Your partner is not open and honest with you.
If you feel there are problems emerging, keep a logical approach and attempt to have a frank conversation with your partner about what is troubling you. You may also seek the advice of a trusted friend or family member. At the end of the day, if the relationship fails, do not beat yourself up if you have done all that you can to make it work. It is far better to let go a bad relationship than to continue being in one.
An emergency survival kit should contain enough water and food to sustain you for at least seventy-two hours. Likewise, to survive an emotional crisis, you would need to sustain yourself too by eating well and having enough rest.
An age old advice is to always eat in moderation and maintain a good proper diet. Do not binge but allow yourself small treats to make yourself feel better.
There are certain foods that can improve your mood. Salmon, milk or soy milk are rich in Vitamin D. They increase your level of serotonin which is a positive influence on our moods. Oatmeal is high in fibre and helps smooth out blood sugar levels for better mood functioning. If you find it too bland to eat oatmeal on its own, you can liven it up with fruits like bananas, kiwis and strawberries. Supplements like Vitamin B complex are also known for their anti-stress benefits.
In order to foster a better sleep routine, you can consider cutting down on caffeine a few hours before bedtime. Keep your bedroom dark and relaxing. It may help to free your mind from worries by saying a prayer or meditating or listening to soothing music.
3. First Aid
An emergency survival kit would not be complete without first aid supplies such as bandages, antiseptic and basic medication. The best first aid for an emotional crisis is talking to someone about it.
Do not suffer in silence if you are emotionally overwhelmed and unable to cope on your own when a crisis hits you. It is no longer a stigma to ask for help. You are doing yourself good by getting yourself help. A good way to start looking for professional help is to look up the websites of Institute of Mental Health and the Singapore Association of Mental Health.
An emergency survival kit also contains tools which would help you cope with the crisis at hand.
Tools to maintain an emotional balance can come in various forms. You can learn simple relaxation methods through the forms of yoga or meditation and practice it regularly. You can keep a gratitude journal by writing down things that you are grateful for each day to keep things in perspective. A “positive” treasure chest is also a handy tool. You can store items such as photographs, letters and cards, special gifts from your loved ones or a favourite item of clothing. The key objective is that each item reminds you of happier times and gives you hope.
A battery operated AM/FM radio is a necessary item in an emergency survival kit to stay informed.
Likewise, during difficult times, keep your communication lines open with family and friends. Do not isolate yourself. Participate in family gatherings and outings with friends. You may want to try to meet new people too. Joining activity groups which interest you is a good start. If you have always wondered what it is like to learn ballroom dancing or salsa, do not hesitate to contact dance schools. Go ahead and try new things! You will never know what you are capable of if you stay within your comfort zone. A sense of accomplishment in doing something new is a great boost to your emotional well-being.
As we have seen how people rebuilt their lives after horrific natural disasters like the 2004 Tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we know that the human spirit is strong. Each of us has the inner strength to face difficult times. Reflect on your personal resilience; the times when you have rebuilt your own life after an emotional crisis. Make positive plans and achievable short term goals for the future. Be proud that you are a remarkable woman who has stood her ground and held her head high despite hardships, and triumphed.