The top 5 mistakes to avoid when things don’t go according to plan

I wake up feeling nauseous. 

I can still remember the amazing feeling of being at the Mercado de San Miguel the night before eating tapas and paella and drinking sangria.

So special for me to have been eating anything I wanted without checking or worrying about what might be in the food I’m eating.

So the nausea alarms me at first.

I recovered fully from severe food sensitivities thanks to DNRS quite a while ago so I wonder what could be happening and why I’m feeling this way.

Not much time to wonder though as I have to run to the bathroom where I’m violently sick. 

The noise wakes Dermot up and he comes to console me and it brings back horrible memories of the time when I was chronically ill and used to throw up as often as 20 times a day.

But it’s not long before it becomes clear that this is no reaction to anything I ate. This is gastric flu – the same bug Christa has just recovered from.

So while it’s a relief that it’s just a normal bug, spending the day unable to get out of bed, unable to eat anything and running a high fever was definitely not the way I had hoped things would be in Madrid.

This holiday in Madrid is our first family holiday in almost 2 years. I was already ill during our previous family holiday in Dublin so I was really looking forward to this holiday for many reasons. 

This holiday was in fact one of my goals when I started DNRS because until I started, I was sure Dublin was going to have been our last family holiday ever.

So I had imagined what this holiday would be like for a long time. And I definitely hadn’t imagined being ill.

And yet, although gastric flu wasn’t part of the plan, I’ll always be grateful for getting to go on this amazing family holiday.

But being ill on holiday reminds me of the mistakes it’s so easy to make when things don’t go according to plan. 

So here are the mistakes I almost made in Madrid which could have ended up ruining our holiday – mistakes which I consider to be the top 5 mistakes to avoid when things don’t go the way you would have wished them to. Avoiding these mistakes can make everything so much better.

1. Getting annoyed, angry and frustrated and being hard on yourself and others. 
I think it’s ok and actually important to acknowledge that you’re disappointed when things don’t go according to plan. It would have been completely unnatural for me not to feel disappointed when I was unwell while on holiday. 

But I think the best thing to do is to acknowledge the disappointment, annoyance and frustration but try as much as possible not to let them take over as that just makes things worse. Trying to keep things in perspective is also helpful.

2. Wallowing in self-pity.
My initial reaction when I started feeling unwell was to feel sorry for myself. I was upset that I had looked forward to this holiday so much after being chronically ill and that now this was happening. 

I think it’s very normal in such situations to feel as though nothing turns out right for you, but that’s just the self-pity talking and again the best thing to do is to try as much as possible not to let this take over and to try to find the silver lining.

3. Thinking that because this happened, things will never go smoothly again in the future. 
Related to the previous mistake is the feeling that this went wrong so next time something else is bound to go wrong. 

I find it helpful to try to remain positive and hopeful as much as possible instead of feeling defeated by something which went wrong. I try to remind myself that tomorrow will bring a new day, a new plan and a new outcome. 

4. Dwelling on things which you can’t change. 
There are always things in life which are beyond our control. Although when something doesn’t go according to plan it’s difficult not to even think of these things, at the same time, dwelling on them gets us nowhere.

Instead it’s much more helpful to focus on what you can change and adapt to the situation and think about the options available. Getting to read a book I had been wishing to read but not finding time for was a great alternative when I couldn’t even get out of bed. Not the way I had planned things but still nice.

5. Seeing everything through negative lenses and forgetting all the positive things.
Because something doesn’t go the way we wished it to, it’s easy for us to start seeing everything in a negative light and start feeling regret for the way things turned out. And these negative lenses make it hard for us to notice anything positive. But it really helps to reframe negative thoughts and try to focus on the positive instead.

In my example, I was still really lucky to be in Madrid with my family (minus Kim who unfortunately couldn’t make it at the last minute :( ) and it was still another DNRS goal which I achieved.

Some of the things I did in Madrid were further proof of how my chronic illness is now completely in the past. Including eating literally anything I wanted (before the gastric flu of course!) and remaining calm when we arrived at our apartment and found about six air freshener diffusers plugged in and other air fresheners in every room and wardrobe,  which till not too long ago would have made me ill for days on end. 

So to sum it all up, no this holiday didn’t work out exactly as planned but it was still amazing and there’s still so much to celebrate and definitely nothing to regret. 

Only gratitude for having recovered from my chronic illness and for being able to enjoy things like family holidays again.