You may have heard each of the following strategies, insights more than once before, but they’ll have a whole new meaning if you’re going through a major life transition right now and it feels like everything’s falling apart.
1. You are not alone
Everyone goes through challenging times. What the challenge is and how it affects you will be unique to you. It’s important to share what you’re going through with someone, if we don’t we increase the risk of getting stuck in the bad feelings that can come with transition. I know it’s easier said than done to talk to family and friends but rest assured there are many organisations that you can reach out to.
I’ve added a few below for you to check out:
Samaritans is available for anyone struggling to cope and provides a safe place to talk 24 hours a day. You can call them on 116 123 or if you’re not ready to talk on the phone or you prefer to write you’re feelings down then you can contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can check out the Samaritans website here Take A Look.
Shout is a 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone struggling to cope and in need of immediate help. Text SHOUT to 85258. Visit their website here. Take A Look
For a comprehensive resource of helplines I highly recommend Find A Helpline
If you need non-urgent information about mental health support and services that may be available to you, please call their infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email email@example.com. If you feel more comfortable texting, you can now do so. Send your texts to 86463.
Mind provides these points to consider before calling a helpline:
- What times are they open?
- Is it free to call or is there a cost involved?
- Is what you say confidential?
- What will you do if the line is busy? It’s often worth trying several times, or you might plan to call back later or try a different service.
Check out the organisation’s website, or you could ask the advisor to explain their policies during the call. Visit MIND here. Take A Look
2. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack
There’s no doubt that you will need to give yourself time to experience all of the feelings that come about with a major life change. Change can be uncomfortable. Imagine a crab. He only grows so much before he feels the tight squeeze of his shell and he has to shed the old to make way for the new. He grows and grows again until he must shed his shell again. And on it goes. Give yourself a break from all the unimportant or non-urgent things that tend to fill up life. Prioritise more time for yourself and your own care. It will help you cope with the changes that are to come.
3. All things change!
It feels like this confusion and pain will last forever, that you’ll never be happy again, or things will never feel “normal” but this isn’t true. Everything in life changes. We know this, we see it all around us. Nothing is permanent. Just like nature, life is nothing if not change. The winter gives way to spring. The flowers bloom and then hibernate. The moon wanes and waxes. Life will always have ups and downs that we can’t always see coming. You can trust that this transition that you’re facing right now is just that – a change that will eventually settle into a something much more comfortable. Hopefully not too comfortable? Stagnancy can feel just as bad as stress.
4. Appreciate the benefits of change.
In life-span developmental science, getting stuck in life’s grooves has been shown to be detrimental to your health and growth. Changes in routine can serve as stimulation to your stagnant nervous systems and allow you to grow new neural pathways. We don’t always see how a major change will benefit us until we actually take that next step, and another and another. It can feel scary to walk towards an unknown future but the discoveries you make along the way can also be the most exciting of your life!
5. It’s okay to let go of things that aren’t serving you
To move forward we often have to leave people, places or things behind. That can be painful. We like to keep the status quo because it makes us feel safe and we think we will avoid the pain. But, at some point, the pain of staying where we are outweighs the pain of letting go. We have to let go of things such as people and situations that are holding us back from what’s pulling us forward. Though it’s not always easy, it’s a natural part of life.
6. There is always something to be grateful for
Your life may look grim, but if you want to find goodness and beauty in your life, you can. You may not have the same life you had two weeks ago, but you have friends who love you. You can appreciate the beauty of the setting sun. Every life has wondrous things in it, we just have to notice them.
7. It’s okay to say no to negativity
While you surely have friends and family who are loving and supportive, it’s also possible that there are a few negative Nelly’s in your environment also. Especially now, it’s a good idea to say no to their invitations to hang out. When you feel stronger, you can decide if they are someone you want to continue to have a relationship with. But for now, just say no – as nicely as you can. And see number 1 for alternative sources of support and guidance.
8. Say yes to hope.
The ability to remain hopeful that things might be terrible now but you know things can and often do get better. Hope can be the motivator to take action, the nudge you need to reach out to someone or to something e.g. taking your beloved dog for walk, cuddling a cat, coffee with a good friend.