May 31, 2015

5 Ways to Deal with a Life Changing Situation.

Change, sign
Once upon a time everyone had a life path mapped out for them.

Men took a job (preferably permanent and pensionable) and women stayed home, made babies and looked after everyone. We’ve come a long way since then, and I for one am grateful. With cheap airfare, the internet and international expansion of a huge number of corporations we have opportunities never even dreamed of by generations before us.

But with opportunity comes change. One of my favourite phrases is “The only constant is change.” Our lives are constantly evolving and shifting around us—the paradigms of our existence never solid. While this can be exciting and challenging, it can also be overwhelming and stressful.

I have immigrated, and then un-immigrated from my home country—In 2 years I’ve moved over 24,000 miles around the world, moved house 7 times and moved roles in work twice.

Sounds like a lot right?

I’ve also been in a long distance relationship with the love of my life, then moved in with him, and then my best friend moved abroad. While these experiences have been exciting, challenging and rewarding—there have also been times when I’ve curled in a ball on my bed crying because I was so overwhelmed by the constant pushing away from anything that resembled a comfort zone.

But I’ve gotten through the change, and I will again, do you want to know how?

1. Talk.
Talk to everyone and anyone, be honest about your feelings. People don’t have a crystal ball – they cannot instinctively know why you are suddenly quiet or sad or irrational, you have to tell them. And talking about your feelings always puts them in perspective

2. Remember that feelings are visitors.
They come and they go. Although you may feel like you’re drowning and there’s no way out, the panic and pain will pass. I like to think of the pain associated with changes as growing pains – remember those horrible pains you’d get while taking a stretch as a kid? The emotional version of that. You’ve just got to sit with it for a bit, but they will pass, I promise.

3. Build a support network.
I made a list, there was 12 people’s names on it that I could call at a moments notice. I talk to at least 6 of them daily and they have been invaluable to me in times of hardship. I have always been able to draw comfort to them as well as offer it back. I once heard a word -guanxi, which means a series of social relationships where everyone in the relationship benefits mutually. That’s what I have built and for that I will always be grateful.

4. Breathe.
When it all gets too much, take time out and just breathe. I personally do a 5 minute mediation (often I only have 5 minutes!) and it just calms me down and allows me space to process. I’ve included one of my favorites below.

5. Focus on the things you can control.
Often we feel overwhelmed because there is a lot going on around us, abstractly affecting us, that we cannot control. In this situation we need to realign our focus towards things we can control.

For example, although it worries me that my friend might be lonely away from home I cannot control that. I can however control my work for example—another area of my life that occasionally causes me stress. I can work hard and hit my targets and reduce stress in that area.



Now Breathe…





Relephant Read:

What it Feels Like When We Change.


Author: Claire Quigley

Editor: Renee Jahnke

Image: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

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