Summer is finally upon us! And that means everything we’ve had planned to get us through the cold months of January… to June… is fast approaching. Beach holidays, city breaks, family get-togethers and everything in between, but things change, right? Especially since the pandemic, we’ve got used to cancellations and the altering of plans. We don’t know about you, but that’s something we find extremely stressful! So how can we better cope when things just don’t go to plan? Read on to find out.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, a lot of uncertainty is now impacting our day-to-day lives. This means that we are at risk of much more unwanted changes, and this is becoming a bit more of an expectation nowadays, especially when it comes to making plans and going away. So when this inevitably crops up, how do we deal with it? Well, there’s a few things we can do that might ease the frustration. When things change and our plans and expectations get altered, this is often something outside of our control. Knowing this is step one to dealing with it in a more successful and stress-free way, then we can start to cope in a way that benefits our wellbeing.
Let’s start small
Maybe you’re hosting a family BBQ, or you organised shopping and brunch with all your close pals, it’s likely that someone tested positive for the ‘rona, or the BBQ blows up before you get round to lunch. Whatever it is, there are some things we just can’t plan for! However, the way we choose to deal with these changes, whether it’s good or bad, can help us cope better and consequently feel better.
Now, there’s this saying that ‘if you expect nothing, you’ll never be disappointed’, and whilst there’s a smidgen of sense in that, we don’t totally promote this attitude. What this does, is cloud our perspective with complete negativity, expecting the worst or nothing at all! This stops us from enjoying things, being excited about our plans and sharing this with loved ones. It might even taint the memories when we eventually look back on these times.
So, instead, go into things knowing what is and isn’t in your control. Heck, even make a list if you’re that kinda person! You know, you can’t control the weather, people’s health or technical difficulties (to an extent…). But you can control making sure the food stays fresh or that there’s taxis booked for everyone. Things may or may not go wrong, but knowing that you tried your best and you had only good intentions might help ease a bit of that stress. And who knows, you might even be able to have a little giggle about it in the end!
This is your pilot speaking
Flight cancellations have been a bit of a hot topic at the moment. And in light of this, we’d recommend triple checking your flights a long time before you leave for the airport! Maybe keep an eye out for alternative flights just in case! You want to be early or on time still, regardless of the changes that have been happening, you really don’t want to take the risk of missing your flight and adding more stress to your supposed-to-be-relaxing holiday.
Don't expect things to be super-duper easy. There will likely be queues and possibly some long waits, so pack some snacks and grab something to drink in Duty Free, bring some cards or your favourite travel board game, ensure you’ve downloaded an interesting podcast or your ‘gotta get through this’ playlist on your device, and if you’re feeling crazy, have some good old fashion conversation! Making sure we have a rough plan for the worst case scenario will just allow us to feel a bit more relaxed if it does occur, and honestly, bringing cards is never a bad idea. Go fish.
Try not to get down about it. Remind yourself that it’s out of your control, and no matter what it takes to get there, things will turn out ok! Come on, you’re not going to end up living in the airport, even if you’ve got to sit around for a few hours. Try and shine a bit of positivity on the situation, maybe you got to do a bit more shopping than you thought you’d have time for, or you manage to find humour in the situation. Look for any positives like that or even fantasise a few! What if you meet your soulmate on your new flight? Or you end up getting to look around a new city on your layover? Or you just learn to shrug your shoulders and know that this is part of life, things won’t always go our way or how we expected them to, but it’ll be much more manageable when we stay calm. That’s a pretty good skill to have too. Reframing our mindset to be a little less negative in these moments of inevitable stress can really make a difference to how we feel in the moment.
On that note, staying calm and logical allows us to deal with uncertainty and stressful situations. These circumstances require us to have a bit of a thinky head on, instead of a feely one. We might have to organise new ways of getting places, download certain documents or find alternatives. That’s ok, but being in an emotional state can become an obstacle and often disrupt the process. Take some deep breaths in these scenarios, calm your mind and body as much as you can with breathing and grounding techniques. Talk kindly to yourself and be gentle - know that you’re going through a bit of a tough thing right now, and it’s ok to feel a bit rubbish about it all! But you are capable of managing and getting through it, things will be ok, and understanding that amongst all the chaos will make sure our wellbeing is intact in the meantime - one less thing to worry about!
Final note: Try not to make stressful times anymore stressful with your reaction. We have control over how we respond to things that cause us a bit of frustration, and whilst it’s important to feel our feelings, being level-headed and grounded will always make space for the best possible outcome in these situations. Consider what you have control over, and go from there.