How to Survive Hard Times: 5 Lessons from Volunteering in a Hospital

“When we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ~ Albert Einstein

My very first night strolling the long, hospital corridors, I felt real trepidation. How would it feel to be informed youll never walk again?

Supporting individuals in such life-altering scenarios put all of my own struggles into viewpoint. Fret about jobs, cash, and relationships shrivelled to miniscule percentages. I felt an extensive sense of appreciation for my own movement– something that I d constantly taken for given but which I was starkly advised can be taken from me at a moments notice.

So every Monday night I would rush out of work early, change into my volunteer tee shirt, scrub my hands, and join the nursing staff on the night shift.

My job was to befriend and support clients who were often far from family and friends. I quickly found out that the tiniest gestures can make the most significant distinction.

As soon as did I hear anybody complain– rehab was viewed as a precious chance to gain back control of their lives, and never ever. In their journey towards independence, I would enjoy each small action of development. Going from sitting to standing was a substantial success, like climbing up Mount Everest with an equivalent emotional high.

From the first tentative steps, their journey progressed to the very first tentative trips to restaurants and cafes. I was struck by the steely decision my patients showed in browsing the complex logistics of a world created with just the interests of the able-bodied in mind.

So much of my own fearful mindset toward special needs, I realized, had actually been colored by negative social stereotypes. Wheelchairs symbolized confinement when in truth they provided much longed-for self-reliance.

It was tough to take into words what drew me to ending up being a client support volunteer. I was material in my task, had an active social life, swam every weekend and hiked, but still there was something missing out on. My own life felt sheltered, and I desired to feel part of a larger world where I might make a distinction no matter how small.

My offering experience provided me an entire brand-new viewpoint on life and taught me a handful of effective lessons about enduring tough times, consisting of …

Why do you desire to do it? It was a question I was asked repeatedly by pals before I started my volunteering placement in a spine injuries system, the uncertainty in their eyes showing back their own fears around life-altering special needs.

Clients are not things of pity. Nor are they the heroic figures represented in the media. They are regular people gradually getting used to altered circumstances– an ability that we all have within us.

Through the ups and downs of rehabilitation, I found out that absolutely nothing is certain with back injuries. Individuals who are told that they may never ever stroll again sometimes defeat the chances. And what is possible is typically far more than whats not possible.

Turning the pages of a book, grabbing a cardigan, drawing on a straw are easy gestures that all of us consider granted– until you have a spinal injury. In normal British fashion, I would also make limitless cups of tea while listening to tales of long, gruelling days in the rehab center.

1. Its not what takes place to us, its how we respond.

Life will constantly toss up obstacles and we have extremely little control over them. The only thing we can manage is our response. We can choose to be a victim and remain powerless or we can face situations head-on and select to live the best life we can.

None of my clients were responsible for what occurred to them, but they all took responsibility for how they reacted. Our mindset to difficulty is whatever and ultimately shapes our sensations, actions, and ideas.

That option is constantly within our control and determines what sort of life we ultimately live, irrespective of our scenarios.

2. Were all more versatile than we think.

Coming to terms with life-altering injuries is a gradual process of change where we learn that sometimes our beliefs do not always match truth.

Few things in life end up being as bad as we imagine them to be. What at the beginning appears impossible slowly ends up being manageable as we adjust and adapt to a brand-new regular.

Some doors close but brand-new doors open. It may not be the life we had actually prepared, however it is what we select to make it.

Time and once again, I was advised that we can adapt to the very worst that life tosses at us. Were developed to hold up against trauma and have a natural ability to not offer up.

3. How you feel today isnt how youll feel tomorrow.

If we hold on till the next day things can change. An incremental shift in our thinking, a progressive approval, or a sudden change in our scenarios can radically change how we view our situation from one day to the next.

” It will not constantly feel like this” is a mantra that constantly proves out no matter what circumstance were in or where we remain in our lifes journey.

How we react emotionally to a life-altering situation can rapidly change from day to day.I would stress over clients who remained in despair one week just to discover that their mindset had changed the following week.

In life, we experience numerous dark nights of the soul, where in the strength of the moment, life can feel entirely hopeless.

4. Take small advances every day.

When were incapacitated, taking action is the only way forward. The first action is the hardest but causes the next and the one after that until youre finally on your method.

When confronted with lifes problems, the only escape is through.

Patients were motivated to take small actions every day towards greater self-reliance. When youve all of a sudden lost your movement, each step you take is filled with nervousness.

Rehabilitation is all about getting proficiency of your circumstance.

5. Be patient.

About Linzi Clark.

Patience is a long-lasting ability that puts us in control of our situation by permitting us to mindfully experience the journey towards a positive result.

One of the most frustrating features of a back injury is not knowing for how long healing will take.Some clients set their sights on set calendar dates and would suffer disappointment and frustration when the result did not meet their expectations.


By not putting timeframes on our expectations, we can just observe the various learnings along the method and live more quietly in the present understanding that we will reach our destination when the time is.

Volunteering in a spine injuries system has expanded my horizons in ways I never ever anticipated and has actually given me a brand-new point of view on life-altering disability. My patients have shown me that it is possible to move far beyond the limitations that are imposed upon you to make the many of the life you still have.

Linzi Clark is an office employee and part-time blogger who is enthusiastic about work/life balance. Through her blog posts at Office Breaks, she offers ideas and guidance to help individuals end up being better and more efficient at work. You can also overtake her on Twitter and Facebook.

And never ever as soon as did I hear anybody grumble– rehab was seen as a valuable opportunity to restore control of their lives. Life will always throw up difficulties and we have extremely little control over them. We can pick to be a victim and remain powerless or we can face situations head-on and pick to live the very best life we can.

I was material in my task, had an active social life, treked and swam every weekend, but still there was something missing out on. My own life felt sheltered, and I wanted to feel part of a larger world where I might make a distinction no matter how small.

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