” The only thing constant is change”, I have heard this statement my whole life. When I was younger change was exciting and new. Graduating from high school, going to college, making new friends, graduating from college, getting my first full time job, getting married, buying a house, having children, and the list goes on and on. Yes, all those changes were scary but somehow the excitement overshadowed the anxiety.
As I have become older, this statement still holds true, but now it seems that I would be more comfortable and less anxious with things not changing for a while. But major work and life changes are common: Laid off from your job, retirement, relocations, divorce, children graduating from high school, increased responsibilities, loss of loved ones, and other numerous events.
Whether these changes are welcome or unwelcome, all can be extremely stressful unless we learn how to adjust to them. Taking the time to recover, refocus and regenerate following life changes can help us survive and even thrive.
RECOVER - After a life change you need to regain your sense of balance and routine. You situation may be, at least for now, stressful, challenging, or unfamiliar. You may have symptoms such as headaches, backaches, or depression. To begin your recovery, it will help to step back from your new situation. Plan mini breaks like going to the movies, taking a drive to local attractions, planning a weekend away, or just taking time for yourself. These “distractions” can help you get distance and perspective. Exercise and sharing your feelings with others are excellent stress reducers which can help you get back on track.
REFOCUS – If you are able to look at “the big picture”, you will gain greater peace of mind about the change. If you have been recently laid off from your job now may be the time to accomplish some of those things around the house, take some leisure time going fishing and spending extra time with your kids and family. You may also take the time to learn new skills, reconnect with friends, or spend more time networking with others. Take the time to think about what has happened, why, and what it might mean. You will realize that your feelings are mixed. With time, those feelings will change. Talking to trusted friends, family members, clergy, or a professional counselor may speed the process.
REGENERATE – All change is stressful for your body and your body needs time to heal. Get extra rest, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and eat properly. Try to increase your circle of support, connect with new people or reinforce old friendships. Social media including Facebook is an excellent way to do this.
No one can escape change. Accepting the fact that change has taken place is important. When you take steps to recover, refocus and regenerate, you will find acceptance easier. These steps will help you successfully make the change part of your life.
Until Next Time,
Lory Naugle, MS, NCC, DCC is a Professional Counselor in private practice in Shippensburg, PA. She provides counseling to children through adults for various mental health issues. Lory also provides counseling by distance means such as skype, secure email, telephone, and secure chat rooms.