Getting a Grip if You’re Tumbling

When life sends us grim letters, reminding us of its fragility, we can easily get derailed.

When illness, death, tragedy, criticism, or crisis strikes, we can tumble quickly.

When we take our hands off our wellness handholds, we free fall.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve experienced a nexus of several challenging and unrelated life scenarios.

I was falling.

My sleep was disturbed, my nutrition went out the window, and I didn’t exercise (aka move my body meaningfully) for days. I spent countless hours spinning in unproductive communications. And, you can forget meditation, journaling, and my daily big 3.

I clamored to get a grip.

It was understandable. Life was dishing out some pretty rough stuff.

As I tumbled, here are five solid handholds I found for getting a grip

1. Pull Back on the Schedule

I didn’t want to cancel my contract. I didn’t want to let people down. There are so many challenging dynamics in schools, people don’t need me to add to them.

However, I had to pull back. I finally conceded and as I reflect it was the right thing to do. Truthfully, I kept the activities that were most life-giving (i.e. Better Leaders, Better Schools Mastermind groups) and ditched the rest.

2. Exercise Self-Compassion

I had to forgive myself for curling up in a blanket and crying. Then, I had to forgive myself for the time I spewed some venom in a text, even though it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. Furthermore, I really had to have compassion for the emotional roller coaster that I was on during those days.

Self-compassion was a handhold my friend reminded me to grab. I am grateful.

3. Back to the Basics

Amidst the struggle and the churn, it is back to the basics. The priorities are about survival: sleep (including naps), good nutrition, moving my body in walks and yoga, and resting in quiet.

I found safe places to talk and healthy ways to decompress my nervous system.

It took time. Yep. Impossible to keep going at the same pace.

4. Reach out to Friends

My besties knew what was going on and they showed up. I received regular check-ins from my friends. There were flowers, tears, dinner invitations, and chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t spend time or energy on lots of connecting; I just knew they were there. Nothing is better than a friend’s presence amidst the storm.

5. Art of the Start

Gradually, I needed to get refocused. I needed to get my laundry done, work on a menu, and find my stride in preparing for my week. Yes, pulling out my Full Focus Planner was essential in this process. Simply, I restarted.

There is NO shame in having the legs kicked out from under you. There is NO shame in restarting. It’s life.

No matter how many times I get derailed, I don’t let that stop me from practicing the basics. I smile and remark, “It’s the art of the start.”

In conclusion, I know I’ve blogged about this before. You probably know all of these strategies. Yet, I think we all need regular reminders that profound progress is in the fundamentals. And, when all hell breaks loose, that’s where to focus our energy.

For the sake of the children,


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