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From Survive to Thrive

Written by Coach Miranda Johnson

If I had a nickel for every time someone has said to me, “You’re from Wisconsin, you should be used to being cold”, I think I’d be a rich woman. Okay, yes, I do come from the North, but I will be the first to admit that I have never lived through anything like we all did a few weeks ago during the “snowpocalypse”.

I know a lot of you may have already lived through previous natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey, but for me this was a first and it was a lot more challenging than I could have ever imagined.

While I can understand and appreciate that we all want to move forward and pretend that the week-long disaster didn’t happen, I personally don’t think we should. At least, not without a solid reflection first.

It’s one thing to have survived through something like we all just did, but there is something else entirely to be said about actually taking that experience and then learning and growing from it. Any time that we are faced with hard times whether it be some sort of natural catastrophe, family emergency, or tough financial circumstances, we are also forced to become stronger.

The easy thing to do in situations like these is to become super stressed out, adopt the “woe is me” attitude, and let everything else fall to the wayside. I personally had a few mental breakdowns myself. But once of course we’ve made sure that all the big priorities are taken care of and safety is ensured, it’s important to acknowledge all of the good things that can come from these types of circumstances.

Crises bring people together and make them stronger. How many times did your neighbor check on you or vice versa? I know for a fact that I heard multiple people in our gym community offer up their homes and showers to others, no questions asked. We can all look back now and feel empowered by the fact that we can survive through some pretty uncomfortable living conditions. Think of that the next time you are digging deep to push through a workout! We are a lot stronger and tougher than we realize sometimes.

These experiences also allow us the opportunity to learn about who we are as well as the types of people we are surrounding ourselves with. Things like how we respond to stressful situations (“fight or flight”), what kind of partner/neighbor we are, who we want by our sides during these times, etc.

Hopefully, we are never forced to live through something like the “snoopcalypse” again. However, we can never fully escape tough times. Suffering is a part of life, and I believe it makes us better people. So, the next time we are faced with hardship, let’s focus on the following:

Embrace the situation (and the feelings that come with it):

A lot of times, it’s easier to push all of our emotions down or put them on the back burner when we are put into survival mode. But, it is also equally important to try to take time to process our stress and emotions, before they bottle up and explode. This is also a good reminder to “control the controllables”. A lot of times in these incidents, we have no control over what is happening (which is what typically causes a lot of the stress), but freaking out about that fact does nothing to help it. Focus on the things you do have control over and remind yourself that “this too shall pass”.

Practice gratitude:

Ideally, it doesn’t take a situation like the “snowpocalypse” to remind us that we should be living mindfully, but a good kick in the butt can always do just that. Force yourself to make a habit of finding the “good” in every situation. Ask yourself, “What is the lesson here?” Or “how will this make me stronger?” If you don’t have one already, adopt a daily gratitude practice. It can be as simple as stating three good things at the end of the day with your spouse/a friend/loved one.

Reflect and Move forward with purpose:

Use this time to look back and reflect on what you want out of life and the actionable steps to take to move towards getting there. I don’t know about you, but I found that I learned a lot about myself during this time. Personally, I realized that a lot of things (especially material ones) that I thought mattered to me, really didn’t at all. I also learned that it is okay to lean on others and that we should never be too proud to ask for help.

We all survived the Houston winter storm. The question now is, how will you look back, reflect, to move forward and thrive?

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