Interrupted: Coping with Disrupted Plans

In this episode:

Eight ways to respond when your life is on hold and plans disrupted. Face the challenge with a perspective shift about delayed plans, uncertain future, and indefinite waiting.

(Article contains affililate links. This means that when you click a link and make a purchase, I might receive a small comission from that purchase.)

Inspired Life

Postponed. Interrupted. Delayed. Canceled. Uncertain. Indefinite. Hindered. Suspended. Questionable. Undetermined.

I tried to think of all of the words that could give a planner anxiety. Not planner as in someone who plans events, but a person who likes to have an orderly method for life. A planner:

  • Puts events on calendar far ahead
  • Arranges details using binders, sticky notes, phone reminders, and white boards.
  • Has a sense of what will be happening for the next two weeks, two months, two years.
  • Has a FranklinCovey binder and actually writes stuff in it.
  • Reaches deadlines and finishes stuff.
  • Keeps details and possibilities organized in her brain for months before an occasion.

Imagine the anxiety for anyone who is a planner when life is interrupted. What about when it’s interrupted not only for them but for the whole world?

Suddenly all those horrible words are tossed around multiple times per day: Postponed. Interrupted. Delayed. Canceled. Uncertain. Indefinite. Hindered. Suspended. Questionable. Undetermined.

This week, I’m giving some quick tips on how to cope when everything you had scheduled is on hold. For some, this is immediate as our world copes with a pandemic. But for others, this has already been their reality as the uncertainty of a diagnosis blocked plans. Or the loss of a home in a tornado, or the loss of a spouse…

Vacations have to be canceled, weddings put on hold, gatherings postponed, and plans suspended. Let’s look at what we can do when plans are postponed indefinitely.

Life, Repurposed

Let's look at 8 ways to respond when your life is on hold and plans disrupted. We can face the challenges with a perspective shift about delayed plans, uncertain futures, and indefinite waiting.

  1. Choose how to respond. My first reaction is to get upset. Angry, even. But after that initial grief, I have to make a conscious choice to respond differently from the initial meltdown. It takes practice to change my  response.
  2. Breathe. Sometimes when I am stressed out, I need to slow my breathing. I start with a slow breathe to clear my head and get some oxygen. My husband sometimes thinks I’m sighing because I'm irritated with him, but I’m just breathing it out!
  3. Talk to a friend. I hate to bother people, so I don’t like to interrupt someone else. But I have a circle of people who I know I can interrupt at any time to tell them I’m struggling to cope. We need each other!
  4. Plan in the short range. I recorded this in the middle of a “shelter at home” order for my state. I don’t know when it will be lifted. It’s in place for the next 30 days for now. I don’t know if I will be able to attend the conference I’m planning to in a few months. But I do know that I have ripe bananas on my counter and I could make banana bars tomorrow. I will plan for that.
  5. Reach out to someone else who might be struggling. The best way for me to get out of my head is to find someone else who needs emotional support. Listening to someone else’s story keeps me aware that other people have hurts, needs, struggles.
  6. Give words to the disappointment. Write it out in a journal or talk it out with a friend. Express the loss and name your feelings.
  7. Resist the urge to micromanage something else. I am a planner, so when the anxiety of the unknown comes along, I have an unhealthy way of coping by trying to micromanage the wrong things. I have to teach myself that I don’t have to control everything. It’s going to be ok if I don’t know the future.
  8. Look for productive ways to invest your energy. I have boxes of craft supplies in my house that I haven’t been able to touch for years. There are books to read and letters to write. I have umpteen things I always said I didn’t have time for. But when life is interrupted, there might be time for something that you’ve longed for. Those things could also turn into meeting needs for others with handmade gifts, donations, etc.

Recommended Resources

For today’s resource, I made you a playlist on Spotify. This Hope and Encouragement list contains songs for when life is interrupted and you need to know it's going to be ok. Open playlist in Spotify, or use the playlist below:

Other Resources:

Each Day a Gift: A Gratitude Devotional for Women: 90 Devotions to Make a Habit of Praise and Thanks
Strong, Brave, Loved: Empowering Reminders of Who You Really Are


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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Posted in Articles, Faith and Inspiration, Podcast Episodes.