The most beautiful, yet challenging aspect of life is that it brings so many changes, big and small. While change can be overwhelming, it also teaches us the most important life lessons. It compels us to change the way we interact with our surroundings and with ourselves.
What is common, however, is that major life changes can cause significant psychological stress. Under such circumstances, it is important to actively adopt coping mechanisms to deal with emotions like anxiety, anger, helplessness and depression. Here are some tips to help cope with major life changes:
#1 – Keep a Regular Schedule
When circumstances change, we often feel things are going out of our control. This can be unnerving. By creating and adhering to a schedule, it’s possible to focus on what we can control. The schedule works as an anchor and reminds us that some things are still the same. It’s a good idea to write down your routine and keep checking tasks off as they are completed.
#2 – Seek Support
It is normal to be overwhelmed by change, but know that everyone goes through difficult phases, so don’t hesitate asking friends and family for help. Simply talking to someone who cares can reduce the perceived burden of your problems. However, it’s important that the people you choose to talk to have a positive attitude and don’t feed into your anxiety. A great option to consider is seeking professional help. As per the experts at the Institute for Personal Growth, psychotherapy can help you identify stressors and assist you to feel more relaxed and confident.
#3 – Eat Healthy
Many of us tend to binge on carbohydrates and sugar when coping with emotional upheavals. Major life changes can also lead to excessive drinking and smoking. Women are more likely than men to develop unhealthy eating habits, drinking and smoking due to stress, says a study quoted in an article by Health Day. Remember that your favorite cookie or a glass of scotch cannot fix anything. Instead, these aids come with problems of their own. So, whenever you feel tempted, choose a healthy option instead. Bite into an apple or have a hearty salad.
#4 – Exercise
Adding exercise to your routine can help you feel a whole lot better. In fact, even mild or moderately intensity exercise, done two to three times a week, can lower the symptoms of depression, says a research published in the European Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies.
#5 – Stay Away from Social Media
Being active on social media has its pitfalls. Some of us tend to compare our lives with others, while what is portrayed on social media may not even be the reality. It’s important to remember that the images posted on such platforms are the best moments of one’s life and not their whole life.
#6 – Join a Support Group
A major life change can often leave you feeling isolated, but it does not have to be that way. A support group helps bring together people who have had similar experiences. Being a part of such a group and participating in their activities can help overcome self-esteem issues and develop confidence in yourself. It can also help overcome feelings of being misunderstood or judged.
#7 – Keep a Journal
Spending just 10 minutes writing in your journal every day can be greatly beneficial for your mental health. A journal may offer insights into your behavior that you may have previously not been aware of. Keeping a journal also helps you address specific aspects that are bothering you. Plus it’s a great motivator to achieve your goals.
#8 – Practice to Think Positive
Thinking positive during a difficult situation may not come naturally. It may need you to constantly remind yourself to look at the brighter side. But it has its rewards. Just changing the way we think and focusing on positives can promote the release of a number of feel good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. So, counting your blessings begins a cycle of positivity. Also, this helps us communicate better and in a more positive way with people around us, which can have a good impact on your relationships.
#9 – Set Goals!
A change that turns your life around can make you feel completely lost. You may feel a loss of purpose, which makes it difficult to move on. In such situations, it is a good idea to set new goals. It could be regarding your professional life, or a relationship, or about your health. Keep the goals simple and more short term, so that achieving them can motivate you.
#10 – Relax and Recover!
There’s no rule that says you have to function at your 100% at all times. The best thing to do after a major life change is to take it slow. Take some time off to relax and recover. Focus on things that give you the least stress. Engage in activities that you love, like listening to music, playing an instrument, cooking or playing a sport.
Apart from these, yoga and meditating have proved to be effective in dealing with major life changes as well.