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At some time in life, most people find themselves at a crisis. They lose a job, get sick, or have something happen to a loved one. They often get through the crisis, but then suffer for months or even years trying to get back to normal functioning. Why does it take so long?
For some, it's because they want to go back to "normal" as soon as possible, and push too hard to get there. For others, it's because they won't accept that "normal" has changed. The crisis changed their lives, and what was once dependable--income, energy, or family interactions--has changed forever.
So how do you adjust to changed circumstances and reclaim a fulfilling life?
I call the process of creating a new normal Renew, Rebuild, and Rejoice.
Renew. Renew means to make new again, and for our purposes has a couple of applications. First, after a crisis, you must look at your life as if it is new. Challenge the old normal. If you've lost your job, maybe you should look at new fields, or new ways to use your skills--maybe work for yourself, or for a different industry than your previous employment. If your changed life revolves around a health problem, rethink what you "must do" every day if your condition saps your energy or ability to function as you once did.
Renew also means to restore to new level. Restoring things takes time. Even if you can have your old normal back, and want it, accept that you will need time to do that. You may need to rearrange your schedule to allow time to rebuild. Taking the time to build yourself up rather than jumping into your regular schedule as soon as possible makes it less likely you will collapse or otherwise suffer from doing too much too soon.
Renew your life by re-assessing normal, and giving yourself time to. .
Rebuild. Rebuilding is the actual process of getting back to 'fighting trim.' Rebuilding can mean anything from doing physical therapy to seeking counseling to following a special diet to give yourself what you need to recover from your crisis. It can also mean literally rebuilding--whether it's doing weight work to get your muscles back after an accident or repairing your house after a natural disaster. Rebuilding is a conscious choice, and you can make the tools you use in rebuilding a permanent part of your life it appropriate.
Rejoice! The point of overcoming a crisis is to be able to live a full life again. Too often, a crisis steals something from you, and then you never recover from the sense of loss. Rejoicing means embracing the new normal, and finding fulfillment within the boundaries of your life. It means being thankful to still have a life, however different it may be. Rejoicing also implies a hope for the future. Things may be challenging now, but by making time to do the work and take the rest to recover from whatever knocks you down, you hasten the day when you can wake up smiling, and enjoy your life.