Preparing for Life-Changing Events
Although smart planning is the key to effectively dealing with periods of crisis, you may find yourself suddenly dealing with an unexpected event you didn't prepare for.
Maintaining Order in a Crisis
There's no escaping the fact that a crisis is a life-changing event, but how you handle a crisis will, in part, determine whether your life changes for better or for worse.
Any plan you make for dealing with a future crisis should be flexible. You won't know ahead of time how you'll react and exactly what you'll have to confront. One good approach is to plan for a worst-case scenario.
A key component of planning for a crisis is organizing your records and personal papers. This is particularly true if you become sick, incapacitated or die and your loved ones have to assume responsibility for your finances. At the very least, you'll want to set up a filing system and give a list of your important documents and advisors to a trusted friend for safekeeping.
When you plan for a future crisis, be as specific as possible and write down your options. This way, you'll be less tempted to avoid decisions by thinking you'll deal with that when the time comes, and you'll have something concrete to refer to if you must deal with a crisis situation.
While you need to do something in a crisis situation besides hide your head in the sand, you shouldn't do just anything. In fact, it may even be preferable to take no action for a few days to let your emotions cool a bit. Then, act, but don't react. If you can't keep your emotions separate from your actions, ask a friend, relative or professional to help sort through your options.
Make a simple list of tasks you have to do with as many items as possible. As you do them, you can check them off. This is important because when you're under stress, you may forget to do important tasks. In addition, a list will help you remember to focus on action, not reaction.
No one should have to weather a crisis alone. Even if you're alone in the world or if you don't want to burden your loved ones with details, there are community resources and individuals (paid and unpaid) who can give you general and specific advice.