Whether it’s an unexpected job change, a sudden breakup, or a new living situation, we’ve all faced a major life change at one time or another.
And let’s be honest; it’s rarely fun.
Perhaps we feel lost. We question our decisions. We search desperately for the “next right step.” And most of the time, the experience tests our strength and pushes our limits.
In fact, my husband and I just worked through some unexpected career shifts and we went through every emotion I just described. #RollerCoasterOfEmotions
But here’s the good news; it’s not all doom and gloom.
You won’t remain in this whirl of uncertainty forever.
And there are strategies that you can try today that will help you move through that major life change as easily as possible.
And that, my friend, is exactly what I’m here to share with you today.
How to Get Through Major Life Change: 3 Simple Strategies
Major Life Change Step 1: Process Your Thoughts
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when you’re working through any challenge is to actually feel your feelings.
You: But wait, won’t feeling my feelings feel awful?
Me: Yes, probably. Sorry ‘bout that.
I realize that it’s a whole lot easier to distract yourself with comfort foods (Hello, Ben and Jerry’s!), shopping (Amazon, here I come!) and social media (how have I been scrolling Facebook for 2 hours?!) than actually process those emotions.
In fact, I can completely understand your desire to do so.
But here’s the truth. You can buffer with those distractions as much as you want, but they remain just that – distractions.
The moment you stop distracting, those painful feelings come up once again.
So if you want to actually move past the challenge and come out stronger on the other side, then you need to process those difficult emotions.
And how can you do that?
By taking a deep dive into your thoughts.
How to Process Your Emotions:
Grab a pen and notebook (or download this awesome workbook!) and start writing. Unload ALL of your thoughts onto those pages and don’t censor anything. Keep writing until you have nothing left to say, and then push yourself to write for another page.
Yes, you read that correctly; write for another page.
Even if you write “I don’t know what to write, and I’m frustrated because Paula is making me keep writing until the end of this page…” keep writing.
Once you get everything down on paper, take some time to look at your thoughts.
Because there is something powerful about taking that jumble of crazy inside your head, downloading it to paper, and clearing your mind.There is something powerful about taking that jumble of crazy inside your head, writing it on paper, and clearing your mind. Start journaling. #selfcare #journaling #morningpages Click To Tweet
In fact, I think you’ll be surprised by what you see there.
If you’re anything like me, you will see a whole bunch of drama.
Chances are, you narrated your story with a passion that completely justifies your feelings of overwhelm, stress, confusion, fear, and anxiety.
Am I right?
I thought so, because that’s what I do, too.
But now, I challenge you to look at your story in a new light. Consider your situation with an objective lens.
Be a lawyer in the situation.
Is everything you say true? Are you writing facts or are you letting your feelings get in the way of the situation? Could you take your story and retell it in a way that serves you instead of hurts you?
Give it a try.
Take one statement that causes you pain or upset and flip the script. Push yourself to find the silver lining and retell your story.
Find the Silver Lining
Negative thought: I can’t believe they broke up with me. I’ll never find another partner.
New thought: This is an opportunity for me to dig deep and discover what I really want in my life.
Negative thought: I lost my job, and I have no idea what I’m going to do next. This is literally the worst-case scenario.
New thought: I lost my job and now I get to start fresh. I get to explore what interests me and pursue what truly lights me up inside. Perhaps this is one of those “blessings in disguise.”
Once you find the positive thought that brings you relief, hold on to it and write it down.
Replace your old negative thought loop with your new positive thought. Put that new perspective on repeat in your mind for a while.
Any time the negativity sneaks back in throughout the day, rethink your positive thought.
On day two, do the entire writing exercise again.
You are retraining your brain to see the situation differently, and this takes practice. If you stick with this process for two weeks, I have NO DOUBT in my mind that you’ll see things in an entirely new light by the end.
Major Life Change Step 2: Take the Next Step Forward
If you’re anything like me, when a major life change takes place, it’s tempting to focus on the big picture, catastrophize the situation, and completely overwhelm yourself.
Thoughts like “I’ll never be happy again,” “I’ll never find another job,” or “I’ll always be alone” loop in your mind on repeat. (Make sure you’re practicing step one to halt that loop!)
Once you’ve completed step one and you’ve managed your thoughts, it’s time to focus on the next step forward.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with the big picture scenario, like finding a new job that’s comparable (or better!) than your last, focus on the next small step that will help you get to your end goal. For example, you might start by searching Linkedin, updating your resume, or talking with others in your field.
Once you decide on that small task, give it all of your attention. Don’t allow those bigger fears to creep in. Remind yourself that you’re working on the next step, and that’s the most important thing right now.
One foot in front of the other, friend.
As the old saying goes, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.We all put our pants on one leg at a time. Take it one step at a time, friend. #LifeChange #Transition Click To Tweet
Major Life Change Step 3: Practice Self-Care
During a major life event, it is so important that you make time yourself.
While it is easy to worry about everyone else, you must ensure that you’re meeting your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs first.
Make sure that you’re fueling your body with healthy nutrition. Get outside for a walk in the sunshine. Find time to read your favorite book, listen to an inspiring podcast, or work on a creative project.
I know, I hear you; this probably feels like the worst time to practice self-care.
But the truth is, self-care is critical at this time.
Life is asking a lot from you during these challenging moments, and in order to tackle it head-on, you need to be at the top of your game.
As I always say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
My favorite way to practice daily self-care is by following my Favorite Five Self-Care Routine.
Simply choose five self-care practices that make you feel incredible (reading, walking your dog, sipping your favorite coffee, etc.) and practice at least three of them every single day.
Yes. Every. Day.
Not sure you can make time for daily self-care practice? I respectfully disagree 😉; find out how you can practice daily self-care here!
Working through a major life can feel overwhelming. And frankly, it often takes longer than you like. Give yourself grace, friend; it will pass.
Make sure that you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Practice daily journaling with this free workbook to clear your mind of stressful thoughts. Reframe negative perspectives into a positive light.
Avoid overwhelm by focusing on the very next step. One foot in front of the other.
Practice daily self-care. No exceptions.
You got this.
How do you work through a major life change? What are your favorite strategies to handle a transition? Share your tips below!