When we are hit hard with a BIG life change, expected or unexpected, it is stressful to say the least.
When we are young, we intuitively know how to calm ourselves, be it holding our blankie, sucking our thumb, crying, or reaching out to be held. As we grow up, many of us, lose touch with how to self-soothe and deal with stress in healthy ways.
How Do You Take Care of Yourself When the Going Gets Rough?
When I ask people how do you give yourself comfort when you need it? Often the answer involves overeating, using substances, spending money, distracting themselves with things like the internet, video games, or TV, or isolating and shutting down until things blow over.
When a BIG shake up hits your life, it’s important to take REALLY GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF and give yourself the time you need to calm down, feel your feelings, get your thoughts straight, and get rebalanced.
Remember this stressful time in your life is not just a test of your coping mechanisms; it is also an opportunity to come into contact with some of your long suppressed and most precious attributes as a person.
Here’s some important tools for your Life De-Stressing and Rebalancing Reboot:
It all depends on attitude: What we think about our situation contributes to how we handle the transition. If you hear yourself saying, “I can’t take it,” ”I’ll never make it!” chances are your body will respond by tensing up. Stop scaring yourself! Your body automatically responds to the messages you say to yourself. Replace your negative thoughts with positive responses. Think positive. Think opportunity. ”I can do this.” ”I’ll get through this and move on!” ” What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. I’m getting stronger and stronger. “
Relaxation is literally a breath away: Mindful deep breathing is a simple and powerful way to get your STRESS levels in check. It automatically reduces your stress hormones, slows down your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure and relaxes your muscles. The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen, getting fresh air into your lungs. Anytime you feel stressed, take a minute, slow down and breathe deeply.
Take care of your body: Looking after your body, will look after your mind. The more you rest, eat well and exercise, the better you will feel physically, and this will help you feels better psychologically. Do something physical: jog, yoga, bicycle, go to the gym, dance, scrub the floor, take a walk in beauty. The link between your mind and body is a strong one. Just as negative thoughts create tension in your body, body movements of freedom ease the strain and stresses of our minds.
Change your scenery: Do something NEW. Take up a new hobby, learn a new language, find a new sport, get a new haircut, buy an article of clothing you never dreamed of wearing, travel, redecorate, buy some fresh flowers, new bedding, put new pictures in the photo frames, get rid of the old reminders and mementos.
The sounds of silence: Loud noise raises stress levels. Take some time to sit and BE–no noise, no music, nothing. Silence. It’s amazing how rejuvenating and inspiring this can be. You never know what solution might pop into your head when you have a moment of silence to yourself.
Support is the key: Maintain continuity in your personal relationships. Talk to friends. Use friends for emotional support, sounding boards, companionship. Create a phone list for hard times and USE IT! Build a social life. Join a group. Keep busy!
Here are some groups you can join: all woman’s group, a divorce recovery group travel club, political club, theater club, choir, athletic club, investment club, dining out club, spiritual gatherings. Take a class. Frequent museums, concerts, theater, art gallery openings. Get involved in a sport. Finding a good therapist is also highly recommended.
Lists, Lists and More Lists: Create a “Things I Can Do When I’m Overwhelmed List” Start with #1 and work your way down the list. Focusing on something constructive can help you get re-centered.
Create a “phone list for hard times”. Keep it by the phone and use it whenever you need to talk to someone. You don’t have to go through this all alone. Reach out and touch someone.
Create a “20 Things I Love List” and do 1 a day or take a day to do them all.
Fill your life by fulfilling your own desires: Do something you’ve been wanting to do. Pursue a new creative, enjoyable activity. Get the degree you’ve been afraid to get. Make plans. Stay busy.
Do something for someone else: Kindness and charity is a win/win no matter what you feel like inside. Doing good, feels good. Being there with compassion for someone else lessens our own sense of isolation. Do some volunteer work at a local shelter, become a Big Sister, donate your unused household items. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment. As an added bonus, giving is a great heart opener.
Whether we are ready or not, we all go through numerous transitions and changes in our lives. Change forces us to let go of the old (ways, beliefs and habits) and step up and into embracing the new. While the situations and circumstances are different, the skills and attitudes to successfully move ahead are usually the same, namely being positive, patient, practical and proactive.
With Love and Blessings,