How to Survive When Your Support System Fails

What system works for you when you need to support yourself?

How to Survive When There Is No Support
••• How to Survive When There Is No Support. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

It takes a village to raise a family. But what happens if you lose this village or perhaps it never even existed? 

This past New England winter was very hard for me. I took on new challenging work projects and then I lost most of my support system due to illnesses and being house bound because of the tremendous amount of snow. Oh, and don’t forget the snow days and school delays. There were times when I was at my wits end! But I wanted to make things work so badly that I found ways to survive. Here’s how I made it through the tough times when my support system failed.

There were times when I wallowed in how bad things were. How I survived was focusing on the reality of the situation and having faith.  Asking “What was the reality in that moment?” moved me forward and changed my perspective like I had a job I had to do. It was time to just do it. Everything else could wait. The kids wouldn’t suffer from brain damage if they watched Big Hero 6 again. I just needed to focus on what needed to be done in that moment. I had faith that things would work themselves out, which they have.

 It was difficult to have faith but coping can be about choices. I chose to face reality and have faith.

Sometimes I’d get so frustrated I’d just scream! How I survived was exercising. Venting this way was my saving grace!  Ironically I enjoyed all the shoveling this winter. Must frustration was taken out on breaking ice and throwing snow. Plus the kids couldn’t see my tears when I was alone with the snow blower. The fresh cold air was refreshing.  

Another venting strategy was a new workout DVD purchase. I can’t say enough good things about BeachBody’s Insanity workouts. My son would ask me why my face looked so wet, ha! Breaking a sweat helped change my perspective on things. It also just made me happy!

Since I enjoy writing I keep a journal. When life got really bumpy though I’d avoid my journal and opt for surfing Facebook. We all know that when you’re struggling reading about other’s happiness and successes may not be helpful. This is when I would realize I had to put the phone down and pick the pencil up. 

When I felt helpless I searched for happiness in something else. Two of my top values are family and creativity. I combined the two and made a picture collage on a blank wall in my home. Now when I need a pick me up I get to look at my creation and smile.

Although sometimes my children are part of my frustration connecting with them gives me strength as well. I would forget to question how they were feeling about everything that was going on. I’m sure it was affecting them, too. They are only going to be six, five, and two once in their lives so I would sit and enjoy their company, their laughter, and their hugs and kisses. How I survived was sitting with them and showing them love. All we need is love!

I am a neat freak, but when I was the only being neat my habit drove me bonkers! How I survived was purging items in my home. As the month passes I would have an open empty cardboard box to throw unused items. Once full I’d tape them shut and schedule a donation pick up. If I needed motivation to purge I’d make the appointment first to help keep me accountable. In the end, the less things I had to be neat about the less bonkers I would feel!

Sometimes I was the one doing everything. Everywhere I looked at home or work there was something pressing to do. When you have a chaotic mind set everything appears urgent. How I survived was getting organized. I reigned in my weekly priorities with a quadrant to-do list split up into self, people, home management and career projects. I felt focused and accomplished when I used this system. At the beginning of the week I’d create the list and at the end I felt accomplished looking at a (somewhat) completed list.

Have you ever felt like no one was helping you? How did you support yourself? Leave a comment over on my Facebook page and tell me all about it.