It never made sense to me when people used that whole “life gives you lemons” metaphor as a lesson on how to deal with anything that life throws your way.
In my humble opinion, life often (dare I say almost always) hits you with unexpected events that are much more difficult to deal with than if you simply received a basket of lemons when you asked for limes or oranges.
Whether you’ve been hit with an unexpected bill, a death in the family, a power outage, or a stolen phone, here’s a simple guide to being ready for anything life throws your way, because life is a bit more complex than lemons and oranges.
1. Keep Your Kitchen Stocked
I bet this wasn’t what you were expecting, but this is really important. Whether there’s a weather emergency, a power outage, or you just get too busy or stressed out to go shopping, keeping your kitchen stocked with nonperishable goods will help you be prepared for a number of circumstances.
As someone who has lived through the death of a very close family member, I can tell you that shopping is the last thing you want to do after a loved one’s sudden death. Real Simple suggests stocking up on nonperishable fruits or hard sausages.
It’s probably also a good idea to have canned veggies, pasta, quinoa, or oatmeal to help get you through seriously bad weather or a stressful few days.
2. Consider Seeing A Therapist Just Once
This isn’t something you have to do often, but it’s a good idea to see a professional therapist at least once. If you’re not someone who’s naturally in tune with your emotions, therapists can be really helpful at gauging where you might be emotionally and thus chemically.
Remember, stress can affect things like sleep, diet and weight, productivity, and social interactions. It’s great to chat with a professional about what has happened in your life, and—one particularly refreshing plus of talking to a therapist—he or she won’t be biased like a family member or friend might be, according to blogger Jamey Stegmaier.
Seeing a therapist is a great way to understand more about yourself and your emotions, which can be extremely useful should you have to deal with any unexpected hardship, money trouble or difficult decision.
3. Prepare For Cold & Flu Season
Mark a day on your calendar in the fall (so, in the next month) to get a flu shot. Stock up on cold medication, tissues and immune systems boosters like Theraflu or Emergen-C. Prepping in advance is like knocking on wood, right? OK, maybe not, but it’s still a good idea to be prepared. Who enjoys running to the pharmacy when lifting an eyelid is pure pain?
When you’re properly prepared and you think you’re getting sick, just take one of the immune system boosters and get a good night’s sleep. Hopefully you’ll knock out the cold before it starts or at least minimize the amount of time that you’re stuck in bed.
4. Doomsday Prep You Car
Maybe that title is a little melodramatic, but, then again, maybe not! Even if you have your car regularly screened for safety, Mental Floss pointed out that accidents do happen.
Put an accident kit in your trunk just in case you’re ever stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. You should include a toolkit, a car jack, a lug wrench, jumper cables, a flashlight, warm clothing and a first aid kid.
Thanks to a few rough learning experiences, I’ve found that it’s also a great idea to keep a cellphone charger that can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter somewhere in the car.
Also, if you have a spare key for the car, be sure to put it somewhere safe and then tell your significant other, a close friend or a family member where it is, in case they ever have to come meet you at your car with it.
5. Put An ICE Contact In Your Phone
ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, and most first responders will look for it if they pick up an injured person and his or her phone is unlocked.
This is also a great thing to do if you practice any kind of physical activity. Try to keep your phone charged if you’re going running, for example, and invest in a device that straps it to your body so you can always have it with you.
That way, if a fellow runner comes across you after you’ve been hurt and he or she doesn’t have a phone, you will have yours.
6. Meditate Or Practice Mindfulness
Yes, sitting in a quiet room, alone and with no stimulation sounds absolutely horrifying to many of us. But confronting your emotions or asking yourself “what if” questions occasionally can be a very helpful mental exercise.
If you’re someone who has a difficult time being independent, try to imagine what you would do if you were dealing with specific circumstances by yourself. Odds are, if you can think through just the few steps of how you might deal with something really difficult, then you’ll already be better prepared for it.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like introspection or mediation, then try taking a fitness class that is focused on being mindful of your body and how you’re feeling.
Sometimes hearing a yoga teacher or just a mediation instructor on YouTube say “You are enough,” or “You can do it,” can be enough to get you through a really tough week.
As a yogi, I find that once I can breathe through an incredibly difficult yoga pose, I can often breathe through a challenging situation. Is the metaphor cheesy? Sure. But does it the theory work in practice? Definitely.