August 18, 2008

7 Steps to Recover from a Crisis

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden..”  — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Crisis is a fact of life.

Everyone you know has either just gotten through a crisis, is coping with one right now, or will be going through one in the near future. It’s an inescapable truth from which no one can escape.

Here are 7 steps we can take to recover from a crisis and reestablish a sense of equilibrium.

1. Acknowledge Relief and Release

During crises, we may feel as though it’s incumbent upon us to “keep it all together.” Holding the world on our shoulders, tension builds in our bodies that must ultimately be released.

Release that tension by acknowledging what you’ve just gone through. You’ve been able to respond to crisis over and over in your life, and you’ve done it again.

2. Breathe

The tension that builds up in our bodies during crisis affects our respiration. Our breathing becomes shallow, constricting the flow of oxygen to our vital organs.

To further release that tension, we must reoxygenate our bodies.

Begin with several deep sighs. You’ll immediately feel your body start to relax. Then, sit with the spine erect — not stiff — and take 15 deep breaths.

Let your body inhale and exhale naturally. Deepen your sense of release.

3. Spend Some Time in Solitude

Crises put us on edge. Our senses work on overtime in a heightened state of alertness. They need time to recalibrate once a crisis has passed.

A few hours of silence and solitude will speed your recovery.

Walk alone. Visit a favorite spot. Be silent. Do not speak. Turn off your music player, telephone, and computer. Absorb the quiet of the world around you and rejuvenate.

4. Reengage With The World

During crises, we tend to respond by focusing on the issue, giving all our energy to the troubles at hand. In so doing, we often tune out the world.

Sometimes, we tune our friends and loved ones out in the process.

We need to reengage with people once we have taken the time to recuperate. We are, in the end, social creatures. Human interaction is a form of nourishment we cannot afford to neglect. We need the fuel of relationship to complete our recharge cycle.

Get out now, and be with those you love.

5. Get Some Exercise

We often ignore our bodies during times of crisis. When the crisis is over, our bodies want our attention. One of the best ways we can attend to our bodies is through simple exercise.

For some, exercise means a rigorous workout in the gym or on the mat. For others, it means a good, long walk followed by several minutes of gentle stretching.

Full-body workouts of any kind are the best, since they involve the entire physical system.

Whatever your favored mode of exercise, go out and tend to your body. In so doing, you’ll tend to the mind, too, and refresh yourself in ways no other activity can deliver.

6. Do Something Different

Take time to do something you don’t normally do, or haven’t been able to do for awhile. Take a bath. See a movie or read a book. Go see a play or musical. Write, draw, or play a musical instrument.

Find an outlet for your pent-up energy and express yourself!

7. Rest and Relax

Above all, after a crisis you’ll want to make ample time for rest and relaxation. Take naps. Get a massage or soak in a hot tub. Turn off the television at night, sit quietly for 30 minutes, then go to bed and sleep well.

You might even want to take a few days off. Or even loaf a bit.

What we do for ourselves after a crisis is as important as our response during it. By taking care to recuperate fully, we maximize the experience.

Discovering new depths of self, and new realms of creativity in every waking moment!


Make a gratitude list tonight. Acknowledge your relief by remembering and honoring what you’re thankful for, and enjoy a peaceful night’s rest.

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