Let’s face it. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand. And, as women, with all our strength and ability to manage multiple priorities and amazingly intuitive hearts, sometimes it’s all just a little bit hard. Something terrible like a death in the family, a sick child or even a gut-wrenching fight with an old friend can stop us dead in our tracks and no matter how quickly we were travelling down that professional road to success, it can be a reality check you didn’t need (or want) that knocks you off your feet. And the reality is, we can take some time away from our day to day responsibilities but there always comes a time when we need to face reality and get back to into it. So how do you keep it together in your professional life when it feels like it’s all falling apart?
Confide in Someone You Trust
This requires you to use your own judgement but, if it’s at all possible, it’s helpful to share your situation with a trusted Manager or colleague. You can be as specific or as vague as you feel comfortable with – you may only need to say you’re dealing with some personal matters at the moment that you’re finding challenging. This will at least allow them to give you some space and understand if you’re not as quick off the mark with getting your work sorted. If you’re lucky enough to have a very trusting relationship, they may be able to help share your situation with other colleagues as well so you don’t need to. One thing to keep in mind here is that, even with the best of intentions, people may not always know how to help. If you can suggest things that you would find helpful (like lightening your workload for a few weeks or moving a stressful deadline) and be clear on what would work best for you, it’s more than likely you can get what you need.
Think of Work as a Welcome Way to Take Your Mind Off Things
If home, family or friends are a source of stress at the moment, work can actually be the mental distraction you need as something else to focus your mind on during the day. Work can be demanding but it’s a less personal and much less emotional type of stress. You may also even find a big fat crisis puts things in perspective for you on stressing about the small stuff. Look at your work as your personal office sanctuary for the time being, a place to get away from the storm of what’s happening outside.
Make Use of the Resources That Are Available To You
Most larger corporations and many smaller ones offer some type of counselling services, online resources or partner with other organisations that are able to provide assistance and support for their employees during tough times. It’s in their interest to see that their employees’ mental health is looked after so have a look at what’s available for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Give Yourself Space and Time
Forgive yourself for not being 100% at the moment. As women, we put a heap of pressure on ourselves to nurture and help others but sometimes it just has to be all about you for a while. Set your own personal limits but allow yourself time to feel whatever it is your feeling.
At the same time, remember you can control your thoughts like you can control everything else in your life. If you find yourself thinking about your personal situation all day, allow yourself, say 15 minutes to think about it and then set it aside for an hour. Take a walk, refocus and remember that you are in control of your day and how you spend your thoughts.
Life can be unpredictable and set backs and sad times are going to be part of it. But if you can see them as a stumble, not a fall you’ll know that, in time, you’ll be back to your career rocking, goal smashing, incredible self. Remember that out of personal crisis we always emerge stronger and when it’s your turn, you’ll be able to support someone else through their own hard time in your own amazing way.