If you’re going through a challenge in your personal life, navigating it with the right tools will help you feel better, make better decisions, and show up as your best self. Whether it’s a struggling child, home repairs, in-law dynamics, feeling irritated with your spouse, a separation, someone lied or stole from you, a diagnosis, or something else—this podcast will help you navigate life when it feels down right impossible.

You can’t prevent challenges (problems are forever), but you can be prepared for them. In this podcast, you’ll learn a step-by-step process that will prepare you to work through any challenge. You’ll learn how to show up calmly, focus on what you can control, create a plan, and take care of yourself. This will help you feel empowered and confident in any challenge, big or small. If you’re going through a rough time right now or have a problem you need help solving, this podcast will help you do just that.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space designed to help you overcome challenges and live your best life. I’d love for you to join me inside Grow You, my community for moms where we take this work to the next level.

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Full Episode Transcript:

Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced, Certified Mindfulness Life Coach, as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.

Hey there. Welcome to the podcast. We are gonna talk about what to do when something sucks today. This podcast may be for you today in this very season of life, or it may be something that you just remember and save for the future because one thing I know is that something will suck. Something will definitely suck for you at some point because we all have challenges. And again, I like to say that my goal and intent is never to teach you how to prevent all challenges and live from fear, but instead to better prepare you for navigating challenges in a way that you feel really empowered.

With that, I wanna invite you to take my free training, the Empowered Mom Kit. If you have never experienced coaching, this will help you learn how to coach yourself. I teach you the fundamentals of my tools and it will help get you up to speed so that you can apply it in real life. If you are navigating a challenge right now, you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, the Empowered Mom Kit gives you four video lessons and four downloads worksheets that you can get started with and really make some progress in in this next upcoming few days. It’s that, um, helpful and powerful. And if you do do that, email me at [email protected], and I will have my team forward those emails to me because I wanna hear how it’s going for you. You can get the Empowered Mom Kit over at nataliebacon.com/kit.

Now let’s dive into what to do specifically when something sucks. So what am I talking about here? When something sucks? Well, it’s personal. You get to decide what that thing is in your life and whether to what extent it sucks. But some common examples that I coach a lot of my clients on are going through a divorce. Your child is struggling and you’re struggling to help your struggling child. Maybe you did a move, a move in the same city or a cross-country move, anything like that. Maybe it’s something with your family, your extended family. There’s a lot of challenges that I help my clients navigate with in-law dynamics, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, anything like that. It might be that someone stole something from you. So I don’t know if you remember, but a few months ago when I talked about my move on the podcast, I briefly mentioned that a mover stole a check from my desk drawer, a physical check, and wrote out $2,200 to someone, a different name, and they deposited that check at an atm.

So they stole money from me. And I’m going to use this example throughout this podcast, but it’s very unlikely that this is the exact specific example. Hopefully not anyways that you are navigating, but I do know that I get so many emails from people who are really struggling. Something just sucks in their life. And I want this to be a resource for you and for anyone who emails me in the future that I can send them this so that you have some steps to go through to really help you feel more empowered when you’re navigating that challenge. And I’m gonna use that example from my life because that kind of sucked. I wanted to think that that sucked. I don’t wanna be excited or happy when someone steals money from me. So let’s dive in. What to do?

The first step is to calm down and get regulated. The nervous system will be really activated when something first happens that’s unexpected, that really sucks. And you need to tell your nervous system that you’re safe. Your nervous system is designed to keep you safe. So if it goes into fight, flight, freezer, faw, it’s doing that in an effort to protect you. The problem with that is it often kind of overreacts. So there was no real upside to me getting dysregulated when I found out that the check was missing and that the money had been taken from my account successfully, um, deposited on their end. There was no upside. My, my health, my humanness, my safety, none of that was in actual danger at that time. I was safe in my own home and other than seeing a check for $2,200 go out, otherwise I was perfectly safe. And yet my nervous system went into overdrive.

So it’s useful to have this nervous system. We want it to be there. It helped us get here for our survival. And yet most of the time when something sucks, even if it’s as big as you know, a divorce or a really big challenge that you’re having with your kids, an activated nervous system is typically not helpful for these modern day problems when we are safe. Now, if you are being chased by a bear in the woods, you want to fight flight or freeze, you want to have that activated nervous system because your body, you are in real danger. So your brain doesn’t really know the difference. It perceives all quote unquote danger as a threat to your survival. If your survival really isn’t at stake, you need to calm it down in the moment and get regulated. Why? Because you can’t make good decisions when you’re dysregulated. You will be in kind of frantic, worrisome energy and it will make it worse. So step number one is all about focusing on getting calm, getting out of that nervous system activation, getting out of fight, flight, freezer, faw, processing your feelings and calming down.

Step number two is to focus on what you can control. You can’t control a lot of circumstances. You cannot control what other people do or what they say or what’s happening in the world. You can’t control if your husband yells. You can’t control if your child hits. You can’t control if someone has wronged you or stolen from you. You can’t control the weather. You can’t control if you are laid off or your spouse is laid off. You can’t control what happened in the past. You can’t control your sister-in-law if she is not responding. You can’t control the rules at your kid’s school or your kid’s friends.

There are so many examples of what we can’t control. And what you can control is going to empower you. And that is how you think, how you feel and what you do. So how do you want to think about whatever it is that sucks? What thoughts, fuel, competence, capability and strength and any other emotions that you want to feel. Create those thoughts on purpose and practice thanking them so that you feel how you want to feel. So when that mover stole a check from me and deposited it for $2,200, I knew that it would not serve me to have thoughts like, this is their fault. I hate that this happened. This shouldn’t have happened. They need to pay for this. What if they come back, they know where I live, what could I have done differently? I hate them. Thoughts fueled by blame and frustration did nothing, right?

It just focused on what I couldn’t control. It doesn’t mean that I was happy about it. Oftentimes when I teach this, clients will say, okay, so you’re telling me that I should just let it go and not care, and that is not what I’m thinking or meaning. If you think of kind of a spectrum, on one end there is the, um, blame and frustration and anger. And on the other end it’s, I just don’t care at all. And in the middle is deliberate, conscious, caring. That comes from deciding on purpose how you want to think. So for me, I decided on purpose how I wanted to think. I thought thoughts like this is really hard and that’s okay. Sometimes bad things happen. I can choose who I want to be through this, and I give myself permission to feel lots of emotions. This was really important for me within the first 48 hours, I have a lot of experience myself as well as coaching clients who want to get out of the feeling bad right away.

And this is different than getting to calm. You can get to calm right away. But for me, like in this example, I got to calm, but I still felt sad. I felt sort of defeated, disappointed. I just had a lot of heaviness and there was some clean emotional pain there. I didn’t wanna be happy about this. That sadness I could feel that’s very different than stress and freaking out in frantic energy. But I had to remind myself that it was okay to feel that heaviness and that sadness because immediately my brain wanted to go into fix-it mode. And again, that wasn’t useful for me, particularly in those first 24 to 48 hours. After that is when I was much more kind of emotionally, well I would say I was feeling, um, like those feelings had passed and I was able to feel more higher vibration feelings like contentment and confidence and strength.

But giving myself permission to feel those negative emotions in the first day or two was really, really powerful. So pay attention to how close in time you’re trying to change your feelings because the closer in time it is, the more you wanna give yourself permission to feel those negative feelings. I also like to write down what I can control. I can control how I think about this. I can control how I feel. I can control what I do. I don’t have to let that primitive, worrisome, fear-based brain be in the driver’s seat because it will take over. Unmanaged, focusing on what you can control will help you get unstuck. It will help you move forward if you’re focusing on what you can’t control, it will feel very disempowering because you can’t control it, can’t control what husband does or says. You can make requests, but you can’t control. So ask yourself, who do I want to be? What do I want to think? How do I want to feel? How do I want to act?

Then, step number three is to create a plan. What do you want to do next? This gets you focused on the future and solving the challenge instead of feeling stuck and dwelling on what happened or dwelling on the past. So I decided I was going to close my checking account. The refunded me the money. It was fraud and theft. I decided i was going to file a police report and file a claim with the third party moving company that had sort of triaged and outsourced the move. So there were two companies kind of involved. One was with the company that stole the check, and the other was not. And my intent with these actions was not to look for punishment or blame or stand up for myself or kind of that like, um, anger and frustration energy.

Instead, I decided this is who I want to be when someone steals from me. Particularly because I thought that documenting it could potentially help future people from going through this. I really loosened up my thoughts around worst case scenario and instead tried to create a story that actually didn’t feel so bad for me. Because the truth is I’ll never know why someone would do that. Never. And so why not create a story that benefits me And even doing that, like telling the story that they really needed this money, I still wanted to file the police to report and report it to the moving company in case that would help prevent this from happening to someone in the future, not from a place of blame and punishment. And you did this to me kind of energy because that is not gonna help me show up as my best self.

And the only reason I was able to get sort of to this place of clean thinking was from applying this work to this scenario because I promise you that my brain on default definitely goes to that place of blame and kind of righteousness and um, and punishment. And there’s, there’s a difference between holding other people accountable for their actions and holding people accountable for your feelings. So I held myself accountable for my feelings, right? So I feel very differently about it today than I did a week after it happened than I did five minutes after it happened, right? That’s because of how I’m thinking about it. So I allowed myself and I gave myself permission to feel all those feelings and I still wanted to hold them accountable for their actions. But I came from a place of clean thinking and clean feeling, not from a place of sort of punishment that I didn’t think was useful.

That’s just, you know, sort of my thought process in it. Yours might look different, but I offer this to you to kind of see an example that I think for most of us would be one where it’s pretty clear that, you know, we want to think that that’s wrong and, and we want, um, that to to happen less and and not happen in the future, right? We don’t want to promote theft and, and fraud. So whatever the example is in your life, whatever you’re struggling with, whether it’s as clear cut as that or it’s not, it doesn’t really matter. Because when you create a plan for what you wanna do after you’ve allowed yourself permission and time and space to feel your feelings and focusing on what you can control and creating that intentional mindset, you take completely different actions than if you just rush to, oh my gosh, what should I do? And your primitive fight, flight, freeze, brain takes over and if you’re like me, you end up acting kind of crazy. That is definitely not gonna be the most useful for you. No judgment at all. I’ve totally been there. If I, if you’ve done that in the past, I have too. But this is just hopefully going to be a way for you to think about it going forward, um, in a way that really helps you navigate when something sucks.

Step number four is to take care of yourself. When something sucks can be so tempting for the brain to fixate on it. And in so doing, you sort of leave your body, your mind is so focused on it and you forget to take care of yourself. That’s what I mean when I say you leave your body, you forget to do the, the baseline self-care that makes such a difference. So get outside, take a walk, notice the fresh air. Notice how it feels, notice any sounds. Getting outside can be a great way to ground yourself, particularly when you are thought looping about something that really sucks. Drink water. Kind of force yourself to drink water. Again it’s so easy to neglect ourselves when we’re going through something really challenging. And these kind of little actions to take care of yourself can make a huge difference. Sleep to the extent that you can sleep. And if you can’t sleep, lay in bed without screens at all. Don’t turn on that tv, don’t lift up that phone. Just lay there and let your body rest. I promise you this is better than you laying there scrolling. So much better. Cry if you need to cry. I’m a big crier and um, I, I shouldn’t say big, I don’t cry often, but when something sucks I cry.

And I like that. It’s like a release of emotion. It’s action. And sometimes other people are uncomfortable and that’s okay. If they don’t like you crying, it’s totally fine. I cried in my bank when I was in there closing down the bank account and they were a little uncomfortable. They asked me if I needed water or, or wanted to stop and I said, no, it was fine. You know, I was just, had some tears. It was emotional for me. And giving yourself permission to release that emotion through tears can be really helpful. Instead of trying to hold it in. Ain’t no shame in crying. I think it’s really a healthy release of emotion. Anything else that you like to do that genuinely takes care of yourself.So if you like baths or a hot shower or anything else that feels really restorative to you, do that.

It’s not gonna make the problem go away, but it will keep your body at a baseline. It’s so much harder to manage your mind and navigate challenges and make decisions when you are dehydrated, when you’re lacking a lot of sleep, when you’re sort of holding in your emotions when you haven’t been outside. So these little things will just help your body, um, be at a baseline where you can then kind of do the rest of the work to, to help you show up how you want to.

The last step, step number five is to create intentional thoughts. How you talk to yourself matters. So if you beat yourself up for whatever it is, that sucks. Even if you are someone who contributed to it, it’s just not useful. So the drawer that the checks were in that were stolen was unlocked. And it would be so easy for me to call myself stupid and dumb and how could I do that? And so I would blame myself, but then if I let my brain go wild, it would blame them. Well, I’ve moved so many times in the last 10 or 15 years and this has never happened, so it’s their fault. And my brain just goes back and forth. Blaming not useful, right? It doesn’t change what happened, what happened just happened can hold them accountable for their actions. But how I talk to myself is optional. Now, does this mean I’m going to take different action in the future? Probably. I’m not gonna leave checks in an unlocked drawer during a move, but I don’t have to make that new decision from a place of hating myself for making a different decision in the past. I just kind of joke and say, well, I learned that lesson the hard way. And that’s okay. So don’t add sort of that trash self-talk onto what you’re already dealing with.

Don’t sort of attack yourself with other people’s actions. Meaning attacking myself in this example would be, I’m so dumb, I left those chucks in that drawer that’s attacking myself with their actions, right? They stole that check and wrote it out and deposited it and I don’t know why. And it doesn’t really matter why, right? What matters is who I want to be and how I want to navigate the challenge, cuz that’s all I have control over. So using gentleness and kindness and compassion towards yourself is so important. It sounds like it’s okay love. You will get through this. You are protected and loved. You are strong and wonderfully made. You are going to figure this out. It’s okay to feel how you’re feeling. Your feelings are valid. You will work through this. It’s all working out in your favor. Even if it doesn’t make sense right now, I think it can be really useful to create intentional thoughts that you want to tell yourself when you’re going through something that sucks, even if you’re not going through it right now.

So if you’re not going through something really challenging right now, you might just jot down some thoughts that you want to have in your back pocket for the next time that you do experience challenge. I think that intentionally creating thoughts is one of the most impactful ways to change your life. So if you don’t do this process, your default brain will take over. And that means you will be consumed with worry and fear and worst case scenario, dwelling on what happened, focusing on what you can’t control and staying stuck. But when you do this process and you manage your mind, you will have the benefit of being prepared, of being resourceful, of being kind and compassionate to yourself, of solving your problem in a better, more effective way of making better decisions and of moving on. Again, it doesn’t mean that you can remove the challenge entirely. You can’t prevent challenges. I like to say problems are forever, but you can get stronger and navigate challenges. You can be more prepared to navigate them in a better way. That is one of my hopes for kind of doing this work with you. I hope that this process was really helpful. I love you my friend. You are doing amazing things in the world and you will get through any challenge that you are facing. I love you. Take care.

If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.

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