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The Truth About Getting Beyond Survival Mode in a Crisis

In life, we canrainbow of hope all face a crisis…or multiple crises…and be thrown into survival mode in a matter of minutes. Life can turn on a dime and no one is immune. The moment of truth might take the form of a medical emergency, a financial devastation, the loss of a family member, a weather catastrophe, a relationship betrayal…there are so many different forms of crises.

I’ve weathered many in my life…and just recently, our family had a sudden medical emergency…a crisis that threw us all for a loop…

When faced with that kind of emergency or any other…you go into survival mode. It takes strength and courage to go beyond that…and it’s tough.

5 Essential Steps to Survive a Crisis


  1. First things first. Breathe. Look at your situation and prioritize. Ask yourself “In this situation, what absolutely needs to be done…right now? What is nonnegotiable? What can be put on the back burner?”
  2. Self care. Make sure you eat three meals a day. They can be small meals. In our medical crisis, the last thing that I wanted to do was eat…but it was necessary…so choose small meals that you can get quickly (and no, chips from a vending machine at the hospital don’t count.) Pick sandwiches, soup…make sure you get protein…and drink your water. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else. Make sure you take a shower and have clean clothes. Yes…in crisis times, you might need that reminder.
  3. Get help. When your friends know that you are in trouble and offer to help, let them. We accepted rides to the grocery store, air being put into the tires of the family car, the support of friends who came over to visit…other things are letting people help you with dishes, walking the family dog, getting the mail. Small gestures count, too…phone calls, texts, messages on Facebook…all wonderful support…
  4. Sleep and rest when you can. Find a way to turn off the thoughts in your mind that are going around and around. If you need to…and you probably do…allow yourself to feel those emotions and cry…get hugs…if sleep eludes you, you might need to see a doctor for a temporary solution. Don’t let a day go by without having some sleep.
  5. Be grateful. Yes, that’s a tough one. Our crisis happened on March 7…and every day since then has been a gift. None of us have any guarantees…so be grateful for what you have…and focus on any small thing that you can…the look in the eyes of your dog when you walk through the door…the feel of a gentle breeze on your face…the gentle squeeze of your hand by a loved one. Before you go to bed at night…or even when you’re in the middle of panic…stop…and make a list…think of all those things that you can be grateful for…then feel it…just like that…

No matter what the nature of the crisis, these simple steps will help you get beyond that survival mode. They have helped me. They helped our family. We have come through the other side, stronger, more grateful, more aware…and remember these keys.

4 Essential Keys of Life Preparation, Crisis or Not


No one expects a crisis…yet they do happen…and the following keys are essential for everyone, crisis or not…and are critical if a crisis does happen…

  • Keep your friends and family close and have a support network.
  • Build a financial reserve.
  • Take care of your physical health and stamina.
  • Remember that all any of us really have is now…right now…

And a bonus key: If there is an area that you are worried (not panicked) about, set a timer for 10 minutes…worry about it and then when the timer is finished…stop worrying…and think about something else…because worrying never solved anything.

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Gwenn Panny May 3, 2014, 9:39 am

    Yes. Self-care is important during these hard times.
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    • Sherie May 4, 2014, 11:19 am

      It really is, Gwenn! Thanks so much for your comment and for reading the post!

  • Carolyn Hughes April 29, 2014, 9:08 am

    I agree that it’s so hard to be grateful in the midst of a crisis but it really does help to get everything into perspective. No matter how desperate the situation, you can always find a little blessing. No matter how small, it can give you that little light of hope in an otherwise dark place.
    Thanks for your great advice Sherie!
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  • Oona Houlihan April 8, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Setting a timer to stop worrying is an original idea. What I find is that most people that have never lived through a crisis and never have seen a person close enough to be of importance emerge from a crisis unscathed are seldom capable of coping well the first time one hits them. Though it sounds a bit illogical, but there’s no better preparation to weather the next crisis than having weathered one before. Problem is, the first crisis, the “template” to learn from must be a bit goldilock like – not too severe to break the person and not too slight so as to leave no real impression.
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