Dealing with a big life change can be difficult, no matter if the change is good or bad. Stress is brought upon you and it can seem impossible to keep your head above water. In my life, I seem to be an expert on life changes. In a four year span I ended a long-time relationship, met my future husband, got engaged, graduated college, got married, my sister got married, she moved to another state, I moved 5 times, my parents both lost their jobs, my sister got pregnant, had baby, she moved to another state, my job relocates, my parents move, I get divorced, and here we are today...Phew, I am tired just thinking about it.
A big life change can be a death, loss, diagnosis, divorce, marriage, new baby, new job, job loss - any and all of the above.
Life can throw you curve balls very quickly. In the blink of an eye amazing or tragic things can happen that seem to turn your world upside down. It's important to cope with these changes in a healthy way. Stress, whether good or bad, takes a toll on your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Here some steps to make sure you are dealing with all of these life changes in a positive way:
Talk to Someone Who Loves You
Talking about how overwhelmed you are is a great way to release stress and make some decisions. It may also help to have someone repeat what you're saying back to you. If you talk about the change, how it affects you (how it affects your family, work, etc.), then you can begin to break up the big change into smaller pieces. This helps you process and may lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed. Also, talk about your feelings rather than analyzing the problem or good thing that's happened. Sometimes we focus too much on our heads and not enough on our hearts. I am talking to myself here, too.
Take Care of Your Body
During stressful times in my life I tend to throw my body to the back burner, which can actually make stress worse. When I am stressed I want fried, rich, sweet, and unhealthy food - because who doesn't? This can actually make stress worse by making you feel bloated and sluggish. Be sure to eat healthy, get plenty of exercise (great stress reliever), and get plenty of rest. When my life is stressful I incorporate naps a few days a week. When I get home from work I will light a candle, play soft music, and lull myself into an hour long snooze. I will wake up refreshed and it keeps my body in a restful state. Be sure to limit your nap to an hour or you may have trouble falling asleep at night. Eat plenty of raw, fresh foods, and take a 30 minute walk per day. These are small things you can do that can help with a big life change. If the big life change affects your physical health and/or capabilities, then be sure to talk with your doctor about ways you can manage stress in a healthy way.
Do Something Fun
This doesn't have to be elaborate. No one is asking you to go to an amusement park and ride roller coasters. This can be something simple that you enjoy and helps you to relax. This can be a picnic, a meal at a favorite restaurant, or taking 30 minutes to read a good book. Just be sure it helps you decompress and have fun. Grab a friend or family member to take along, if you'd like. Fun loves company.
Pray, Meditate, Do Yoga
Our bodies are layered with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Do good for your soul in the midst of a big life change. This can be prayer, meditation, yoga - whatever it takes to center yourself back to what matters. When I was dealing with a lot of life changes, it helped me to pray and release all of my angst and stress to the Lord. It comforted me to know that I didn't have to deal with these things alone. This can help you to focus on what's important and may help you to release your feelings of being overwhelmed. Also, being involved in a church or supportive community can certainly help you in dealing with a big life change. It helps to have support from people who believe in the same things you do.