Coping when plans are interrupted

When our plans are interrupted it leaves us feeling a wave of emotions -  anger, upset, frustration but to name a few. For many people across the country, across the world, COVID 19 has not only come along and interrupted plans, but it has annihilated them. Businesses shut down, dream weddings shattered, graduation ceremonies on hold, holidays of a lifetime cancelled. But how we react to this determines how we move forward and how we cope with such changes.

Firstly, understand your feelings, and accept that it is natural to feel that way. It is ok to feel let-down, hurt, disappointed.  Something you have worked hard for, or have planned for a long time has been sideswiped in a way that no-one could have ever expected.

Secondly, allow yourself time to 'grieve' and process your emotions and the loss you are experiencing. It can seem an easier option to avoid facing the reality and to go into denial and feel numb. But it's healthy and necessary to react and have a time of 'grieving'. During this time, try to avoid acting rashly and placing blame out of anger for example. Those around you, decision makers in particular, are also facing challenges and uncertainties and doing the best they can.

Thirdly, whilst it's good to acknowledge your emotions - don’t allow this anger/upset/sadness to overtake your life. Of course it’s ok to be upset in the short term, like we said, that’s a perfectly natural part of life. However, it can really impact your emotional wellbeing (and those around you) if it consumes everything in your thoughts in the coming weeks and months. Try to adopt a positive mindset and remember this was out of your control and is affecting everyone globally. It might also be helpful to remind yourself that this is only temporary.

Fourthly, put a plan in place. Inevitably these interrupted plans will need tending to. If, for example it was a wedding that had been cancelled, try to liaise with the venue for new possible dates which will then allow you to re-focus. If your physical business has closed, why not use this time to get a website up and running and improve your online presence? Or you can consider a restructure, declutter, streamline and come back even better than before? As a student, why not use free time you may now have to enhance your future employability through an online course?

Fifthly, give yourself small, immediate, achievable goals. Perhaps during this time of uncertainty, you want to read up on some information that would really allow you to progress in your career/business. Perhaps you could get to work on compiling ideas for your table centrepieces for your wedding. Perhaps you can learn some new card games to play when you do get away to that coastal cottage later in the year. Whilst these may seem trivial or unimportant compared to the plan that you had interrupted, having something to focus on is still incredibly important in moving forward.

Lastly, stop and take a breath. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. You need to have some time to take stock, and re-set. It might be helpful to 'unplug' and avoid the news, social media and constant messaging just for a day or two.

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