How to bounce back from a (minor) crisis and be stronger for it

When you are working on any kind of project it’s normal to come up to a roadblock from time to time. The thing is we all start out on a new project full of enthusiasm and determination to get to the finish line but we may have not taken into consideration all possibilities and suddenly… BANG! something goes wrong. This can be very discouraging and even lead to what feels like a minor crisis. 

In my work with fitness clients (and sometimes with my Thai Massage clients too) I come across these situations all the time. People get started on a fitness journey following the latest fad, they go hell for leather for the first couple of weeks with their motivation fueled by quick results only to have a meltdown by week 3 or 4 when their metabolism bites back and causes them to become hungry and have cravings for all the things they used willpower to avoid. Then they reach out for help.

You see the worst type of crisis isn’t necessarily getting injured or suffering incredible misfortune: we tend to be very resourceful when it comes to that. No, the worst type of crisis, and IMHO the hardest to overcome, is when you lose your mojo and you can’t be asked to do anything, let alone carry on with your project whatever that might be.

What can you do to get back on track?

First of all you must ACKNOWLEDGE that you are in fact going through a minor crisis. Accept that it’s happening and the feeling of being stuck is probably going to stick around for a little while. There is no point in sweeping the feeling under the carpet or pretending that all is well. It clearly isn’t. And it’s OK. Sometimes too much enthusiasm at the beginning of a project can drive you to do too many things at once and this eventually backfires by making you feel uninspired and lethargic. Maybe, if you allow yourself to contemplate the possibility, you might even discover that at the core of your crisis is a little bit of fear around your project. Again, acknowledge and accept.

MAKE PEACE. Just because you hit a snag it doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole project is over or doomed to fail. It’s just an obstacle that you didn’t see coming. Although fighting fire with fire isn’t always a good policy, when it comes to obstacles you can choose to either let them stop you (and sometimes this is a wise choice) or you can go through-over-around them and carry on marching towards your goal. I sometimes find that it’s best to go with the flow and see where your gut feelings take you. Perhaps you have over exerted yourself and you need to recharge your batteries which is hard to do when your brain is constantly on the go. Try to get a good night of restful sleep and see how you feel in the morning.

Man thinking while sitting in the snow

The third step to get over a crisis is to REFLECT on what’s happening. This is where you begin to turn a negative event (crisis) into a positive one (learning opportunity). How did you get here? Why did you start your project? What were you hoping to get out of it? Why didn’t you see this coming? What is this experience trying to teach you? What is your gut telling you? Did your gut feel it coming but your brain overruled it? Why did you second guess yourself? What are you afraid of? 

If you are into that sort of thing you can write your thoughts around your issue in your journal, otherwise you can just visualise the answers in your head perhaps as a form of meditation. It would certainly pay off to take some time out in solitude to just chill and let the answers come to you. They are most likely hanging around your subconscious and you need to allow them to come forward into your conscious mind.

The important thing here is that you re-evaluate and re-connect with the reasons that got you started on this journey in the first place. You might decide at this point that the reasons are now different but still good enough to keep going. That’s OK. The world changes all the time, so do you. Adapt. And overcome.

If you can’t get anything, try to REVERSE ENGINEER the timeline. Start from the crisis and go back to the beginning, step by step, as if you were to undo everything you have worked so far on your project. You will either bump into the event or action that caused the crisis so you can take corrective action or at the very least you will get the opportunity to redo your project from the start. 

This is something I do countless times whenever I am developing a website. Sometimes I miss the good old days of when the internet first became a thing because in order to build a website you only needed a few lines of HTML coding and a stylesheet. Whenever a crisis arose all I had to do was to go through the coding step by step and lo and behold the issue was caused by a missing parentheses or too many commas. Easy to fix. These days, however, as much as WordPress gives everyone the opportunity to create a funky website with themes and plugins, it also adds to my stress burden when something goes awry because reverse engineering stuff takes a phenomenal amount of time and patience. But it brings answers in the end. 

Man celebrating in Usain Bolt pose
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Once you have mapped out your journey in reverse take a good honest look at all that you have accomplished up to the point of the crisis and CELEBRATE every small win. Make a really big fuss of all the positives and keep focusing on them. Surely, your project wasn’t all doom and gloom from the start? There must be something positive that you can find in there. If there isn’t sink your losses and toss your project on the muck heap where it clearly belongs. 

There’s no shame in abandoning a project that doesn’t feel right and doesn’t fuel your enthusiasm.

But I am sure you’ll find plenty of positives. You just have to want to find them. 

Now that you have acknowledged, accepted, reflected, reverse engineered and celebrated it’s time to drop your project like it’s hot and GO AWAY for a while. Get a complete change of scenery so you can recharge, regroup and restart. Consider taking a short trip somewhere you have never been or try something new and scary so you wake up and feel lively again. Even if for you this translates into reading a book. 

If you want to read something new and scary I highly recommend “Why we sleep” a book on the science of sleep and dreams. It’s scarier than the scariest Dario Argento horror movie when it explains the damages that lack of proper sleep causes to the human body at any age. Especially when in the womb.

Finally, if after doing all of the above you still feel a bit wobbly, don’t be afraid to reach out to somebody you trust for support. Sometimes having the outside perspective on your project and events that lead to the crisis can provide the turning point for finding a solution. Friends, family, colleagues will all be able to offer their opinion but they might be too close to you.

This is one of the reasons why The Calming Zone was created with a forum that’s disconnected from social media: so that when you need support you can reach out to like minded individuals who can offer help and support in a friendly and non judgmental way without the rest of the world knowing that you need help. So if any of this resonates with you head on over to the forum and join us. It’s free to come in and have a chat.

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About the Author Cristina

Personal Trainer. Thai Yoga Massage Therapist. Mental Health Ambassador. Martial Artist. Animal Flow Instructor. Social Scientist. Blogger. Sometimes Vlogger. Maid to the quadrupedals in my life.

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