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Crisis: it’s one of the most significant disruptions in life.
It creates fear around what has happened, what’s to come, and what might happen. And when we are in between fear and trust, it is easier to focus on fear.
So how can we choose to trust ourselves? How can we choose to trust that these crises are just temporary? How can we trust that life will get better?
John Lim is the founder of Save the Social Worker. He works with thousands of social workers in Singapore to build thriving careers while maintaining their mental health.
Lim says, “When I moved back to Singapore, I found myself depressed. I found myself anxious and binge eating. I was starting to make some progress when COVID-19 happened. I thought my progress would halt severely. It turns out that there are ways to turn crises into an opportunity.”
Lim shares three ways to turn life crisis into an opportunity:
1. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.
Being in crisis affects not just ourselves, but the people around us. But rather than seeing the crisis as a black hole that sucks away your opportunities, consider it a springboard.
“COVID-19 meant that I no longer had to spend time each morning rushing to work. I no longer had to squeeze myself at the library with a bunch of strangers,” Lim says, “I found myself with more time. That gave me an opportunity to self-reflect.”
>> What can I do?
>> What can I do for the people around me?
It does not have to be world-changing; it can be a simple action.
Lim shares, “It’s the small things that matter so much. Whether it’s a card to a friend or baking something for your neighbor, start with something.”
2. Process all your losses, emotions, and changes.
Life crises can make you lose out on important events. You may end up missing significant family events or have some slip-ups at work. I know you just want to move on and feel better, but it is crucial to process everything that happened.
“Nobody is looking. Nobody is judging you,” Lim reminds us, “it is so easy to get into a denial-mode, but you need to pause and realize that nobody is looking. So ask yourself questions around your emotions.”
>> How am I feeling?
>> How do I feel about this situation?
>> What did I miss out on?
>> How do I think this will affect me?
Lim adds, “You may think your emotions are ridiculous, but they are not. The key is to acknowledge them and accept them. Giving yourself time to process everything is the fastest way to start moving forward.”
3. Create new boundaries for yourself.
You might be feeling overwhelmed—it’s much tougher to go through life than usual. And you may find your boundaries being blurred in relationships and life in general.
“You have to be intentional about it all,” Lim shares. “Other people won’t always know what your boundaries are unless you are clear about them. Create boundaries around your life, relationships, work—everything.”
Lim also provides an example of how to build healthier boundaries between work and home. He says, “I deliberately switch my phone and laptop off at 5:30 PM. It stays off.”
The key is to clarify your boundaries based on what you find acceptable or not. Be intentional about them.
Create rules for yourself that you can stick to.