Welcome back! Or perhaps I should welcome myself back. I’ve been offline and without power or phone service for a few days thanks to a massive ice storm that attacked the state of Maine.
You may have seen some of the footage of the ice and snow on the national news. Long story, short the damage was (and still is) pretty bad. Heavy ice snapped big trees like twigs and took down power lines, leaving over a hundred thousand households without power during below zero weather.
When I posted on 23rd, I said I was thankful we’d made it up to Maine and still had power. I believe my exact words were, “I’m super grateful that we still have power because I have (not so fond) memories of the ice storm of 1998, when we lost power for 2 weeks (not exactly the way I imagine spending Christmas this year!).” and apparently I’d spoken too soon.
Shortly after that post was published we lost power and didn’t regain it again until Thursday night. Thankfully my parents have a generator, so we were able to run our furnace to stay warm and take a quick shower. Sadly, many people don’t have generators (or maybe couldn’t afford the gas) and ended up in makeshift shelters on Christmas.
When we attended church Christmas morning, the priest asked individuals without power to raise their hands. Not surprisingly, more than half of the parishioners in attendance raised their hands. He then asked how many people had to change their holiday plans because of the storm. Again, hands were raised. In that moment, I felt bad for myself, but I felt worse for others who weren’t as fortunate. While we were warm, and comfortable in my parent’s home, many people were cold, hungry and scared in their dark, iced-in houses. So, instead of sitting around pouting, I decided to put together a post with a few tips for dealing with disappointment.
6 Tips for Dealing with Disappointment:
- Remember things will get better. When you’re in the middle of a difficult situation it’s hard to keep a positive outlook. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always a, “glass half-full” thinker, but during difficult times, negative thinking won’t get you where you want to be. During the ice storm it felt like we were going to be without power forever. I was annoyed, sad and frustrated. But I just kept trying to remind myself that, “tomorrow is a new day” and things will get better with time.
- Stop stressing about things that you can’t control. I’m the type of person who loves to schedule everything. I’d already planned exactly what I’d do each day on vacation. Pre-Christmas shopping with my mom on the 23rd, baking on the 24th and the Christmas dinner we’d make on the 25th. Once I realized I was going to have to change all of those plans, I was able to relax a little bit. Not having power was completely out of my control and there was nothing I could do to change that.
- Cry. No seriously! Sometimes a good cry can completely change my outlook. Christmas eve at about midnight I had a mini “freakout.” I didn’t feel well (partially from eating far too much pie and junk food) and I was super stressed out. I went downstairs to find my step-dad just getting home from work (he’s a supervisor for the State highway department and every time it snows he has to supervise a crew of plow truck drivers). I burst into tears when I saw him and he reassured me everything would be OK. I cried for about 5 minutes and then I was able to relax enough to back to my room and fall asleep.
- Complain. Complaining might not “fix” the problem, but expressing the disappointment to others (in a healthy way and within reason of course. An all day bitch session doesn’t really solve anything and may make you feel worse) may help you move on. Christmas day my whole family complained for about 20 minutes about how much the ice storm sucked and how crappy it was that it kept us from getting together on Christmas eve. My mom complained that we couldn’t use the toaster in the morning and I complained I couldn’t blow-dry my hair. Bf complained he couldn’t use the microwave to heat up his coffee in the morning and my step-dad complained he had to work 18 hours a day for 4 straight days (his complaint was by far the most legit-poor guy!).
- Be thankful for what has gone “right”. We were able to spend Christmas day with my grandparents. The roads were clear on Christmas morning so we were able to make it to church. We were still able to make Christmas dinner and enjoy it together as a family. I’m very grateful for those “good” moments among all the bad.
- Remember things could be worse. Everyone has heard this before at some point in their life, but I feel like it’s really a good tip. No matter how bad things are going for you, things are far worse for someone else. I didn’t get to make some of my favorite Christmas treats, or visit with my grandparents as much as I would have liked, but I did have heat and hot water and I wasn’t cold or hungry. Our pipes didn’t freeze and we had a safe and comfortable place to stay during the storm.
Have you dealt with any recent disappointments? How did you handle them?