Some tips for surviving and thriving through these challenging times.
I remember how I was gently shown the door the day my first born started school.
Everyone else had left. What was I doing? I didn’t expect as a parent that I would be feeling the emotion of loss added to the mix.
Fast forward 25 years of life and I have come to accept that loss as a result of inevitable change is normal and it involves letting go and letting ‘God’. Easy to say but hard to do when you carry loving and nostalgic memories of people, places and things and you think you are in control.
You might be feeling a mix of emotions associated with change and transition depending on your life experience and circumstance like fear of the unknown, stress, anxiety, depression and anger.
You may be feeling tired through lack of sleep, unable to concentrate, pessimistic or overwhelmed.
If you are - Stop and Breathe – so simple, yet so effective. It will help you to stay calm, present and grounded. Whenever we move forward we leave something behind, and this creates a state of grief, however small. And if the change is unexpected and unwanted like the sudden job layoff or relationship breakup, the shock and depression are greater.
With such turmoil comes anxiety. We are out of our comfort zone. Our imaginations can run wild and we may worry about an unknown future. Learning to live in the now - not in your nostalgia for the past or worry about the future - will make any challenges seem more manageable
Get out in nature – go for a walk. Realize that this is a new chapter in your life. While you need to acknowledge your loss, you don’t want to get stuck in the past. You know the road, you’ve acquired experience and skills along the way. You can do this again, and this time even better. When one door closes another opens. Realize that when you close the door, all the acquired experience and skills come with you.
Give yourself time alone. What do you need now? Think about what you want right now. What is waiting in the back of your mind to begin? Who would you like to be? Increase your self-awareness. Learn about yourself. Read inspirational books. Take time to take good care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise. Get plenty of rest. Take time to relax.
Think positive, think opportunity. Now is the time to brainstorm and explore new places, ideas and people. Self-reflection can help you identify your main sources of challenge and worry, and to see other sides of the situation. Taking time for reflection will also help you to act mindfully and with intention as you take your next steps. Spiritual Retreats offer an opportunity to clear the mind, increase self-awareness and let in the new. Follow your heart and interests.
Travel experiences open so many possibilities – as one travel agent advised me just ‘put the stick in the sand’ and see what happens.
Get support. It’s tough to do this all on your own even if you think you can. Family, friends, natural therapists and counsellors can offer support on all levels. When you are feeling a bit ungrounded, support from a therapist can help you keep moving ahead. Telling your story is very healing in itself not to mention learning safer ways to heal and transform anxiety, depression or anger. By allowing yourself to experience the emotional pain, you will find what you need to do to grow.
Have realistic time frames and expectations. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ – important work takes time. Too often we rush to make a new beginning. We plunge into a new situation only to find ourselves frustrated, lonely, resentful, or preoccupied with unfinished business from the past.
Be patient, take small steps and you will eventually look back and have many aha moments as you see the bigger picture.
· stay safe and be flexible
· care for your physical and emotional health
· keep some kind of ‘routine’
· stay in touch with friends and social networks
· use stress reduction techniques such as breathing and mindfulness
· start a wish list of new plans and goals to fit your new circumstances
· embrace the new changes
· take one step at a time
· keep your sense of humour
· talk to helpful people, such as a counsellor or someone you can trust
Transitions are those unique times when we are feeling loss off the old but have not yet stepped into the new. While the circumstances are always different, the skills and attitudes needed to successfully move ahead are always the same, namely being positive, patient, and proactive.
My name is Jennifer Treacy. I offer Holistic Counselling to the Sunshine Coast. No matter what sort of emotional issue (e.g. anxiety) you are experiencing, my warm and empathic nature will help you to cope and work through your time of change and transition.