I have started, stopped and re-written this post many times in the last several weeks. It has been the most difficult to write since the Tilt & Flourish launched. After nine months of writing about how to flourish, embracing the flourish and encouraging you to slow down and enjoy the wonders around you, it is now time to write about a tilt. My usual process didn’t work with this one, so I took an alternate route to its completion. It turns out that writing about survival while you’re concerned about surviving is challenging, at best. Difficulties and stressful times are familiar to us all, but I’m a firm believer that there are lessons to be learned and shared in every single one. Sharing for the benefit of helping others is a good thing, but it isn’t always easy. Such was the case with this post.

The fourth quarter of the year is always an exciting time. It starts in September when I celebrate another trip around the sun and continues through holidays filled with beauty, kindness, celebrations and of course, good food. The end of the year is typically a happy and productive time for me.  Last year was no different. With my holiday plans in place and my calendar inching closer to a new year filled with beautiful possibilities, life was grand!

PLOT TWIST: On December 22nd, the government shutdown began. My holiday vacation was already underway so I decided to focus on enjoying my friends and family. TBH, as a federal employee, I wasn’t shaken at first. Shutdown rumors and furloughs seem to happen with too much regularity in recent years. When it began, I was hopeful it would end quickly. By the time it approached three weeks, my internal alarms were going off.  With no clear resolution on the horizon, I began to wonder just how long this thing could last.  Around the same time, calls and messages from fellow affected colleagues and friends began circulating (a clear indication that I wasn’t the only one with heightened concerns). While no one spoke the obvious out loud, the lack of resources coupled with no end to this problem in sight was cause for concern.

Life has a way of redirecting our best-laid plans. My plans for the new year had not included this. Whether we call them plot twists, curveballs, crises or tilts, when tough times arrive they can be frustrating and frightening to navigate. They can come in the form of an illness, family crisis, job change, financial problems or something else. It is essential during challenging times to try to focus on something other than the current circumstance so that frustration and depression don’t overtake you. Sometimes the simplest things can provide stress relief. I started with cleaning and purging my home. For me, cleaning is both productive and cathartic. It has always proven to distract me in a good way. My regular schedule is pretty busy, so I used the early days of the shutdown to do things that I had neglected. It worked well for a while, but I had to find other ways to deal with my stress as time went on. That’s how it goes. There’s no single formula for dealing with uncomfortable and sometimes, heartbreaking circumstances. We have to be intentional about the way we handle ourselves to remain mentally and physically healthy. Although I haven’t mastered handling tough times, I have discovered some things that help. If you’re facing a challenge, here are a few tips that might be helpful:


  1. THINK POSITIVE –Reflect on all the good things around you (there are many). You have so much to be grateful for, even though it may be hard to focus on at the moment.  If you can’t think of anything, click here for an earlier post of mine- it may help.

  3. DON’T ISOLATE – While it might be tempting to close the blinds and pull the covers over your head, DON’T!  Interact with people, engage in a favorite activity, or both. Your mood and your ability to handle whatever you are facing will improve.

  5. LEAN ON YOUR FAITH – It won’t fail you!

  7. SAY YES – People around you will offer help in whatever way they can. Now isn’t the time for rogue independence. Everyone one needs help at some point, and when facing challenges we all need something.

  9. GET BUSY – Keep your mind and everything else occupied.  My mom used to say, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ Being productive during times of stress and anxiety helps to keep tension at bay and emotions in check. Use your excess energy to do things that you may have been putting off.

  11. LOOK FORWARD – Challenging times don’t last! At some point, the challenge will end.  If you don’t believe me, look back. You’ve survived beautifully before and you will again.

  13. TAKE GOOD CARE – It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself during tough times. Take time to practice some true self-care when times are rocky. Exercise, meditation, prayer, proper rest and eating nourishing foods are all great ways to keep yourself and your health in focus.

Until next time, go live your life on purpose!

“And this too shall pass.”

— Unknown

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