It has been a rough week over here. We were blindsided with a terminal diagnosis for our dog, Walter, and it leveled me for the first half of the week. An unexpected emergency is no one’s idea of fun, but the added stress of work responsibilities can just make it worse.

So let’s talk about what to do when Sh*t Hits the Fan — coming from someone currently waist-deep in the sh*t.

First and foremost, the priority is you. If possible, take care of your physical and emotional needs before worrying about how you’ll manage your responsibilities. Remember: if you fall entirely apart, none of it gets done anyway (this post with Dr. Kristin Stevens Psy D., LP, has tips for maintaining healthy habits when you’re struggling with your mental health).

When you’re ready, try “The Four Ds Method.” Start by collecting a list of what you are responsible for right now and for a future period of time that will support your need to deal with said sh*t (a week, a month, etc.). Then assess the list and place as many items as you can into one of four buckets:

🗑️ Delete: What tasks are no longer important or necessary? Be ruthless and delete ‘em right now.

➡️ Delay: What isn’t time sensitive and could be delayed? Adjust deadlines and update your systems.

👯‍♀️ Delegate: What could be done by someone else? Prepare to hand it off to them ASAP.

👩🏻‍💻 Do: What are you capable of doing, if anything? Be realistic and enforce boundaries.

I was incredibly grateful for strong systems and The Four Ds 🗑️➡️👯‍♀️👩🏻‍💻  when sh*t hit the fan unexpectedly for me this week.

And it wasn’t just because it helped me navigate unexpected time off work. My systems are also what help me prioritize my mental health —- simple movement, gentle nutrition, hydration, good sleep, and gratitude. Even though I felt like I was falling apart, my systems were running in the background to support me as much as possible.

It might seem incredibly simple, but that’s what you need in a time like this. An easy, simple method that can help your brain process what is currently on your plate and organize it in a way that feels manageable.

Of course, I hope that there’s no devastating news in your future, but if there is, I hope these tips might help ease the stress. And of course, if you find yourself thinking “Systems? What systems? I have none, and my life would fall apart if catastrophe struck!” Then make sure your name is on the waitlist for the next round of my group course, Thyme Transformation. It will be the main focus of my time and energy as we close out the year (between Walter snuggles, of course), and I’d love to see you there.

What To Do When Sh*t Hits the Fan

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  1. ty so much D. i am def. going through the s**ttiest thing right now. i really appreciate this list!

  2. oh and also so much love to Walter. dogs are literally the best and i know how much love and fun he brings in to your home. 🙂

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