How to deal with a major life change

December 20, 2018 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

Are you going through a big life change? We all do at some point. An illness or injury, moving, marriage, divorce, career change, a new baby, older children leaving home — all of these are part of life.

But any type of major life event takes an adjustment. For some, a big change can also take a toll on mental health, especially during the holiday season.

If you’re having trouble dealing with a life change, you’ll be happier and healthier if you can find ways to cope. Here are 10 strategies to help you move on to the next phase:

  1. Accept that change is occurring. Change can be frightening, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s part of life. You may not be able to control everything that happens in life, and that’s okay. Instead of focusing on the past, look for the positives in your present situation.   
  2. Take it one day at a time. Change will be easier to accept if you take it one day at a time, rather than become overwhelmed with the big picture. Break your goals into systematic, manageable baby steps.
  3. Eat healthy. There is increasing evidence that nutrition affects mental health. Eat well-balanced nutritious meals that are high in protein at regular intervals. Limit alcohol, processed foods and junk foods high in sugar like candy and soda. Learn how to eat clean.
  4. Exercise. Studies show that exercise promotes a better outlook, a clearer mind and can make you happier. Fit fitness into your daily life by finding a physical activity you enjoy. Take a fitness class at the gym. Even taking a short walk or stretching can help relieve stress.
  5. Talk to a friend. Having a friend to lean on as a sounding board can make a big difference in dealing with a life change. Friends can validate your feelings and provide a new perspective to help you cope.
  6. Take a breather. Have you ever found yourself so wound up that you’re holding your breath? Deep breathing can help oxygenate your blood and clear your mind. Take a deep breath and count to 10, then breathe out slowly.
  7. Let go of your expectations. One reason it can be difficult to deal with a life change is that you don’t know what to expect. It’s new, it’s different. Just remember that life is full of beginnings and endings. One chapter closes, another begins. You’ll get through it.
  8. Sleep. Stress and sleep issues go hand and hand. Good sleep is vital to your well-being. It’s your body’s time to rest and recover. Even a 20-minute nap has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which aids in stress relief. Get tips for better sleep.
  9. Simplify. When you’re going through a big change, it can be easy to feel overloaded. Now’s the time to get rid of the nonessentials. Identify what matters most to you and focus on that.
  10. Stay positive. Approach the change with positive actions and solutions. Avoid a “woe is me” attitude. It will hold you back. Instead, look for things to be grateful for. Learn the health benefits of showing gratitude.

We all go through a big life change at some point. When it happens for you, try to go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can. Also remember to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. After all, a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

If you’re struggling with a life change and need support, help is available. Get support from Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

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