We assume that our lives will go according to our plans–education, family, career. But we sometimes encounter things beyond our control that keep us from following the path we predicted for ourselves.
When these disruptions come along, it can be very difficult to maintain peace of mind as we pick up the pieces and try to get back on track. But it can be done. Many great figures in history had failures that could have stopped them, but instead they forged ahead and achieved amazing things for humanity.
A good example is experiencing an accident. Despite all your careful planning–obeying traffic laws, wearing your seat belt, maintaining your vehicle, and so on–you end up injured and off work for an extended period of time. The mistakes of someone else, in this case, have gotten you off course. It is incidents like these that can have a long-term affect on your life.
In order to bounce back and move forward after an unplanned setback like an accident, we have to know how to go about regaining our sense of direction and balance. This takes several steps.
Build A Recovery Plan
It is a lonely feeling to be mired in a daily routine of bed rest and doctor visits. You are unable to work, unable to maintain your home, and unable to socialize as you once did. The physical recovery can be slow and grueling, and in the meantime your income is probably reduced even as large medical bills roll in.
As distant a need as it may seem at the time, you need to contact a personal injury law firm as soon as your health permits it. The wheels of justice turn slowly, so every minute of head start you can get is a minute sooner that your compensation will come.
The same applies to any other setback. If you come up short academically in an educational program, you need to find a new curriculum that better suits your talents. If your job relocates, you need to examine your options for a less volatile career. And so on. The important thing is to get a plan established for getting back to normal.
Maintain A Routine
When you’re off work or school for an extended period, it’s important to keep the days from smearing together into a long series of TV shows and Internet. This can erode your happiness and create a long-term impact on your spiritual health, as well as slowing your physical recovery.
Structure your day, even when it doesn’t seem to need it. First write in the necessities–doctor appointments, physical therapy times, legal consultations–and then some time to be outdoors, even if it’s just to sit in a chair and read or relax. Find spiritual time for religious meditation or inspirational entertainment. And don’t neglect human interaction! Find friends who can spend time with you as you recover.
The important thing is to plant some trees in your routine; that is, to establish immovable things that help you frame up the rest of your day. Once those are in place, you will find that it’s much easier to avoid an endless string of unshaven days spent on the couch staring at game shows.
Address The Cause
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. When we get knocked off our planned path, it can be easy to fall into a blame game. But it’s important not to go in that direction as you begin to identify what the underlying problem is. If you’ve had a car accident, the cause can be obvious: Someone made a mistake, and now you’re hurt.
But maybe an incident of poor scheduling on your part put you on the road in a place where distracted drivers are numerous. It’s still not your fault, but sometimes we can take steps to avoid being in those dangerous situations. If you go for a walk in the woods and wander off the trail into the path of a snake, it’s not your fault you were bitten, but you’d be wise to stay on the path next time.
Again, this is not about blaming yourself for the mistakes of others. It’s about reducing the feeling of helplessness you get when something bad happens, and giving you a strategy to feel more confident later that you can avoid a repeat of the incident. And sometimes avoiding a repeat of history is the best way to move past it.