Three Strategies for Hard Times

I'd guess that, by now, Life has blindsided you at least once and possibly many timesgenerally, while you were simply minding your own business, right? Me too, and thus I've blundered onto a few coping "strategies" over the decades that might also serve You now and then. Here are three, for example, that I'd suggest to a friend who asked for my thoughts with regard to a tough situation.

   Make full use of your personal "tools."

Above all, trust and draw heavily upon the smarts and moxie you've developed through the years. Because ambushes by circumstances and/or people do sometimes take place, we're wise not only to stay alert, but also to recognize and acknowledge (at least to ourselves) when something does seem amiss. We're also wise to do that sooner rather than later, because the issue may only get worse unless/until we do.

Moreover, you may sometimes find assertive tactics more effective than the "velvet glove" (again, sooner rather than later). Although our personal strengths can often assist far better than we might imagine, we sometimes fail to use them to the extent possible and/or call upon them tardily or even overlook them entirely if we're busy and possibly distracted. In the meantime, challenging things might be happening in our lives or those of our loved ones, with perhaps less time to recoup than we'd like.

  Keep your sense of humor on the job.

Whatever else you do, try to keep your sense of humor out of couch-potato mode. If laughter and fun try to slack off when you're under stress, which is practically a given, follow the lead of Jolly Cat here and yank them back on the job. Without those two, certain challenges—whether or not related to aging—can take you down fast and hard. (Guess how I know this.)

But laughter tends to be a great antidote, so keep the yucks going as much as you can. Should you find yourself somewhat isolated for whatever reason, maybe you can access funny movies and also audio or visual clips of comedians you've enjoyed in the past or people you find funny now. You might find such diversions far more effective than you expect during the hard times. Or, to put this another way, laughter can often help us hang in strongly enough to "fight another day."

   Just deal with it.

This quote from an Elmore Leonard character always cracks me up: "If you can handle it, do it. If you can't, (bleep) it." But since procrastination is surely a primo tool of the devil, and the ostrich approach rarely works that well even for the ostrich, the latter half of his advice seems impractical for our purposes. Better (IMHO) to deal with challenges as they arise by assessing the situation, figuring out a strategy, and then putting it into effect.

BUT—if you're looking at something big, complex, or simply ugly, mean, or nasty, perhaps ask yourself a couple of questions first:

  • Do you really have to handle this issue alone? If not, look for some help from friends and/or family. No one's offering? Well, maybe they don't want to intrude...or presume. Or maybe the scope/complexity of whatever you're facing calls for professional assistance. Either way, if you need help, you can do yourself a Big favor by finding it. After all, even the Lone Ranger had someone to lean on now and then.

  • Must the issue be resolved immediately and/or all at once? Unless you're dealing with a nest of hissing cobras, maybe you might try taking things a step at a time. Even for those who generally prefer the "blitz" method, gradual but immediate, firm, and steady steps sometimes prove surprisingly effective against Big Stuff.

    Plus, they may generate less notice and thereby less resistance. So, before grabbing your metaphorical cudgel, perhaps you might at least consider a more-subtle route. If that proves impractical or ineffective, however, you may need to become more "assertive" (rough-up your game, so to speak).

And there you have them, a few ways to hit back when hard times come calling. But if such times aren't actually here at the moment, perhaps you could use that energy for goals you may be looking at—or a fun activity you'd like to explore. (Boxing, perhaps?)   ;-)

If you've already begun the "exploration," three cheers and a parade! If not, how about now...before something does come along to mess with you. Just seize the day, and run with it!

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If you choose to explore this site, please understand three things: (a) I am neither therapist nor professional coach; (b) my focus here is primarily aging women; (c) my comments are not intended to disparage any women (or men) whose immediate choices may range from limited to nonexistent. To them (or anyone, really), I mean no offense with my remarks.

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