You’re going through a difficult change in your life. You feel stuck, unsure, confused. You’re experiencing a lot of emotions sometimes mixed together. Be assured, you’re not alone. Most people have a hard time with change. You can read more about it here.
Now, you’re looking for some relief, some ideas that will help you get to the next stage where you’ll feel more adjusted, more stable, and more yourself.
I’ve been through a lot of major changes some great ones and some… well, let’s say I wished I hadn’t had to go through them, but didn’t have much of a choice. Some of them I managed well, others took me more time and more effort.
Here are some of the tips I used that I hope will help you through your journey.
1- Accept your present situation
There’s no point of fighting where you're at right now. If you feel down, sick, hurt, scared, stressed, well that’s your current truth.
That’s what your mind and body are experiencing, and trying to run away from it, or pretending that it’s not present won’t change it.
That doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself. Acceptance is NOT resignation. It’s the first step towards change. It’s acknowledging what you feel and think to move past it.
2- The only way out is through
Acknowledge and feel your feelings: don’t run away. But don’t get stuck in the story of your feelings either.
There’s a difference between feeling your feelings and wallowing, which can get you stuck in them.
Stay with whatever raw emotion you’re experiencing, notice the physical sensations attached to them. If you’re sad, notice the physical tension, the tears, the noise coming with it. Observe if you feel tired after.
Try to stay away from the thoughts, come back to your body. It will prevent you from getting stuck. If you have a hard time doing it, set a time limit everyday. Give yourself 10-15 min only. Then, imagine you have a box and place all your worries and concerns in it, close it until you need to go back to it. It may not always be easy to do. Be gentle with yourself. We're not looking for perfection here, just an intention.
3- You are not your situation
Once you accept your situation, don’t identify with it.
Yes, you are going through a change in your life, but you are not your life circumstances. You are more than a divorcee, a new mom, a wife of expat, a widow…
if you only focus on that part of you, you don’t make room for others to grow.
4- Be brave, be vulnerable, ask for help
The majority confuses asking for help with being weak. It’s the opposite. Think about it, is it easy for you to ask for help? If yes, you’re part of a minority.
Asking for help for most people is scary and vulnerable. It brings up a lot of mixed feelings. It actually takes a lot of courage to reach out, be vulnerable and share your troubles.
The courage comes from going beyond your fears.
5- Stay in the present moment
Don’t use the future to be more worried.
Projecting can be beneficial if it’s constructive, if you’re building your future with intention. Not if you keep focusing on the worst-case scenario that may not even happen. Come back to now and what you know for certain.
6- Take time to lick your wounds
We need time away, to process digest and time for action.
Take time away in your cocoon, your safe place. Use it to take care of yourself, but not overthink. Thinking will only get you so far. You can’t resolve everything through thinking even though your mind wants you to believe otherwise.
If you get to that stage, it may be a sign that it’s time to take action, to apply some of the things you’ve been mulling over. Start with one step, however small.
7- Take care of yourself
Have self-compassion, a caring gesture towards yourself. Laugh at least once everyday: look for it, like a pill you need to take regularly. And move your body.
Exercise…You need the endorphins your body will release more than ever.
8- Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t
A key element of going through a major life transition is that we feel powerless. The change happens to us and impacts us whether we want it or not. It’s temporary.
Focus on what you can control only.
9- Help others
When going through a difficult time, much of our attention gets placed onto our situations and ourselves. Set aside some time to volunteer and help others to put your focus on other people.
Helping others will help you increase your own happiness.
10- Acknowledge the progress you’ve made
You’ve come a long way. Every step towards healing or feeling more balanced counts.
Maybe you managed your stress better today by breathing more consciously, or by exercising. Maybe you didn’t feel like crying as much. Maybe you connected with a friend.
Being aware of the progress you make as it happens will help you shift to the glass half full. You will also notice that you are not really stuck and that there’s movement in you life however small it is at first.
11- Keep Track of your Progress
Nothing like a visual aide to help you see instantly your progress. Write down in a journal what you did differently, what helped. Take a moment to reflect on it and let it sink in.
Everyone heals and goes through major changes differently and at a different pace.
And when you’re ready, look for the lesson. Difficult times are opportunities for growth and learning. You get a chance to deepen your understandings of yourself, others, and the world around you.
For some of you these tips will make a big difference in your progress, whereas for others, you may need extra support. That's OK. Some changes are harder to handle alone. Seeking professional help will help you get through that next stage without spinning your wheels.
If you have other tips that have helped you, feel free to share them in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.