Hope Wissel

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Post Holiday Blahs

“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”  Maori Proverb

It is Tuesday morning after a long weekend.  For some the weekend was about work.  For others it was about family and friends.  It was about barbecues, parades and parties.  It was about celebrating life.


Then there were those who struggled. Maybe they struggled because they were alone.  Maybe they struggled because they lost their job.  Maybe every day is a struggle for them. Maybe they just can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Which one is you?  In either case, you may want to turn your alarm off and go back to bed.  Most will get up and face the day while some will hide under the covers and avoid life.   I remember those days.  The days that I forced myself to get out of bed.  The days that I sat and cried for no reason.  The days of sadness. The days of trying to fake it till I could make it.  That is what it was like living with adjustment disorder combined with depression.

Sounds pretty awful, right?  Those days of  highs and lows seemed to never end.  All I wanted was to be normal, whatever that is, right?

I saw a small light occasionally which is what kept me believing.  I had a choice – “Let life lead me, or lead my life.”

I realized that I was a fighter (deep down).  I wanted to always look for the best in others. I wanted to fall down and get back up again — and again.  I fought through the struggles of abortion, addiction, homelessness, debt and depression.  I was fighting to be the optimist – staying positive when giving into the the negative would have been easier.

1. I stopped saying things like:

“It figures,” “Isn’t that just my luck,” “It would only happen to me,” and, “I just can’t catch a break.”

2. I stopped joining in other’s pity parties.

Empathy and compassion are important.  I am learning to acknowledge feelings of negativity, but not dwell on them.

3. I thank my lucky stars.

This one is HUGE for me!  When I start to get stressed and depressed, I stop and say “thank you.” To anything. Thank my house, for providing warmth and four walls. Thank my car, for continuing to start. Thank my job, because it keeps you clothed and fed.  Thank my business, because it keeps me reaching for my dreams.  Sounds crazy, right?  But it does work.  Gratitude goes a long way to chaining your attitude about life.

4. Make someone smile.

Buy a coffee for the person next in line,  or buy a balloon and ask the cashier to deliver it anonymously to the next kid who gets in line.

Don’t have the money to do anything – email/text a friend with a message to have a nice day.  Hold the door with a smile or compliment a fellow shopper on their outfit.

Living an optimistic life takes work and slip-ups will happen.  Find the good in every person, in every situation.  You have to fight for the light at the end of the tunnel.

If I weren’t a fighter, I wouldn’t be here today.  I may not have always thought of myself as a fighter but I never gave up. It was and is about believing in the power of good, not bad. It’s about turning off the negativity and looking for the good in everything.

If you are struggling, reach out and let someone know.  Help is just a hand (or call away).  God placed this message on my heart this morning for someone.  I hope it brought a smile to someone.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!