Today’s question is this:  “What do you do when you have no idea what to do?”

What are you TALKING about – you may wonder.  This has no context.

Well, neither does being sick.  We are only sick when we compare ourselves to some other state we were once in that “felt better”. So, by comparison, when we feel “sick” – we don’t feel as good as we have at an earlier time.

OK – got that?

Back to the question again:  “What do you do when you have no idea what to do?”

So, now we’re talking about when something has gone haywire (at least compared to the way things once were), what do we do when we don’t know what to do.

Well, again, that’s one of those questions that has a million answers.

What’s do you think?

Since I love making an example out of myself, I’ll tell you what I do when I have no idea what to do as a general rule.  I learn something.  Or, if I don’t have energy for that, I try and remember something that I once learned.

I recently went to my primary care doctor’s office where we’re beating this issue of insomnia to death.  Forgot to prepare an Appointment Preparation worksheet so I felt unprepared.  I didn’t know what to talk about when I was there  –  I was just too tired to even think about it.  I’ve spent way too much time at her office lately trying to work this thing out and I’m so confused and sick of the entire subject.  I wish to God it would make me tired enough to make me sleep already . . . . for a long time too.

Anyway, I was in that situation where I was sick and had no idea what to do.  And I knew that.

So, I asked myself this question which I’ve borrowed from my colleague Janet Bailey– if I knew what to do WHICH  I Do what would I do right now?  – and you know what?  I knew immediately what to do.  I pulled out my calendar where I’d jotted down some notes of when I’d stopped sleeping, when we’d started certain supplements, their effects on me and on the back of a receipt – I put it all together.  In 30 seconds or less, I knew what I wanted to accomplish in my visit.

Ideally, I’d have had it together and come with my Appointment Preparation Worksheet in tact and had a copy for her as well.  Well, that’s not the way it happened.  But, what I knew how to do was to ask myself those same questions and communicate my needs clearly.

It dovetails nicely with my Patient Power Manifesto where I’ve committed to communicating clearly and succinctly what my needs are and also listened clearly to her instructions, not leaving there til I get it straight.

It all worked together – without the forms but with the learnings that come from training myself to be attentive both to my symptoms, my structure and use my primary care doctor for the things she’s good at – making sense of lab tests, giving clear instructions, and telling me how to follow up.  We got things straight, we’re still working this out, but I’m getting things sorted out.

Here’s my question for youHow do you cope when you’re feeling sick?  What do you know about yourself that helps you through it?

I know you may feel like you want to throw up your hands at this question (or maybe slug me for asking it) but YOU DO KNOW what helps you so draw on that if you can.

And if you can’t draw on that, then be willing to just listen to whatever comes up including the frustration, pain, angst, or overwhelm for clues about what might help you given your situation.

Comment Zen

  • Share how you feel, ask questions if you want, give feedback.
  • Support and insights are most welcome.  But, please – no criticism or judgments of me or others.
  • You are welcome to mention websites or authors you’ve found helpful.  Refrain from giving medical advice.

7 Responses to “What do You Do When You Have No Idea What to Do?”

  1. GirlPie Says:

    Good question! Hope do I cope when I’m feeling “less than well” (since I don’t get sick)?

    If I’m not noticing, I’ll sleep too much… probably to avoid the feeling of “not right-ness.”

    Once I become mindful that I’m not up to my usual, I look for reasons: too much junk food, too much sitting in front of the computer, not enough fresh air, not enough water… and (after I get over being irritated that I forgot the “cure” in the first place!) I “take my medicine” and get back to feeling like myself.

    Thanks for the reminder — off for more water and an early bedtime now ~ ! Keep up the good works! (OR give yourself a day off now and then, that would be a GREAT work!)


  2. Char Says:

    Took your advice Girlpie and took some days off thanks to this comment.

    I love what I do so much that sometimes it’s hard to stop and really give myself the time that I need to rest physically. It’s a work in progress.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Janet Bailey Says:

    Char, I’m so glad the “If I knew…” question helped! And yay for putting it all together on the back of a receipt!

    Hm, what do I know about myself that helps me cope when I’m feeling sick…OK, this is not exactly a news flash, but homemade chicken soup. With leeks, carrots and turnips and salt, that’s it. A HUGE kettle of it so that I can freeze it and help myself to it for as long as I need. Don’t know if it speeds up healing, but it makes me feel better about everything during the moments I’m drinking it.

  4. Char Says:

    I love this practical suggestion here of making chicken soup and freezing it so that you have it. Just the act of making soup can be healing when it’s done with the intent to help yourself heal. I believe that chicken soup does make everything better and am glad you shared such a practical strategy here.

    By the way, Janet is a genius at helping us realize what we already know about things and use those things in a way that fits the current sitatuion. Check out her blog at She inspires me on a daily basis with her simple open ended approach to life through mindful questions and helps me bring out the best in myself and others. Love her work!!!

  5. Julie Jordan Scott Says:

    I am adept at enlisting help from my beloveds. I may take to the sofa and request tea.. and give myself space to check in with what is what.

    I am grateful I have grown to this point.

    Excellent questions, Char. Appreciate them and YOU!!

  6. Sandy Says:

    Remember you are loved and cherished by many people and animals.

  7. Char Says:

    Hey Sandy:

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder that we are all loved and supported.

    I forget that so often despite the fact that my work is supporting others.

    It is so much harder to ask for than receive support for me and I very much appreciate you showing up here with this important contribution.


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