Sadness is part and parcel of life. Divorce, breakups, death, terminal illnesses, bankruptcy, and so many other problems are ingrained into life. If you’re religious, just remember what someone told me, “God wouldn’t have let you go through it if you couldn’t handle it.” If you’re like me and don’t take religion very seriously, then this saying should hit the spot, “Shit happens, deal with it.”
From being a product of a nasty divorce to seeing a parent suffer through cancer to being broke to going through heart-wrenching breakups, I’ve experienced my fair share of downs. I’m not belittling my experiences, but personally, nothing comes close to what one of my best friends experienced.
She met a man, fell in love, planned to tie the knot, and one sunny Sunday after brunch, he told her that he wanted to become a woman. Her life changed in the blink of an eye, and in her words, “The ground collapsed from right under me. I wanted to die.”
It took her over three years of nonstop strength and determination to get over it, and not just that, she was there every step of the way during his transition. Although she has been single for a while, they are still in each other’s lives. I don’t know how she did it. She is now stronger than ever, and in my world, she stands as a beacon of hope.
She has taught me and so many others that no matter what comes your way, you are fully equipped to handle it. No amount of sorrow and pain should break you because you can persevere. Positivity and travel played huge roles in helping her get over what she dramatically yet aptly described as, “The death of the love of my life.”
She has personally contributed to this article, and being someone who was there with her from start to end, I can attest to the fact that the steps listed below work.
How to move forward after a big change in your life
When a huge life change hits you like a ton of bricks, here are some ways you can deal with everything that’s happening.
#1 Get closure. You have to understand and accept what happened, hold on to it if you must, then let it go. Whether you went through an ugly divorce, the death of someone close to you, a big move to another country, or anything else that uproots your life as you know it, be sure to embrace the change, learn from it, and look positively into the future.
#2 Evaluate your situation. Of course, this is all dependent on exactly what changed in your life. Figure out the basics like getting a roof over your head, a job to keep you busy, a steady income, and so on. Make a plan to get the basics on track first, then move on to the other stuff that will make you happy like doing something worthwhile, slicing your vices, and whatever else that gives you that zest for life.
#3 Set goals for yourself. No matter what you went through, you need to start accomplishing goals, no matter how small they may be. Start with a daily and monthly to-do list. Focus and work hard to check everything off your list. Not only will it give you a sense of accomplishment, it will also give you the chance to get some form of routine back into your life, which is always a welcome addition to your day after a massive upheaval. [Read: The 3 stages of embracing and overcoming loneliness]
#4 Focus on yourself. I realize that this may be very difficult if you have others under your care, like kids. However, you must realize that before you can help them, you need to make sure that you can handle it. Remember those repetitive inflight safety videos that harp on about putting an oxygen mask on yourself first before doing it for those under your care? Well, it’s the same thing.
If you’re unwell or not ready to take on the challenge of facing life, those under your care will suffer the consequences. Sign up for counseling or get help from a friend, family member, or support group when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed. This applies to everything, not just kids.
#5 Keep loved ones close. You are going to need all the help and support that you can get. It’s understandable that you don’t want all 500 of your Facebook friends to know what’s going on with you, but be sure to keep a small circle of important people close by. Lean on them when you have to, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
If you don’t have anyone you can count on, there are myriad support groups and organizations out there, so don’t ever worry about being alone because you really aren’t.
#6 Invite positivity in. Thwart negativity, and focus on the happy things in life. I know that it’s much easier said than done, and there will be days when you just want to hide from the world, wallow in your misery, and yell at the universe for being so unfair. That’s totally fine. Get it all out of your system and freeze out the negative energy. Focus on the good that is to come, and strive to get there without letting sorrow get the better of you. [Read: How to master positive self-talk and banish negativity]
#7 Quit obsessing about the past. As author Mandy Hale once wrote, “When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. It has nothing new to say.” There’s no use in constantly thinking about what you could have done differently to change your situation. The past won’t change, no matter what you do. What you can do, however, is use what you learned from the experience as a catalyst to push yourself forward. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited by the future]
#8 Travel more. The only way to get your life back on track is to see things from a different perspective. It’s almost impossible to get back into the daily grind after going through something traumatizing. Getting up, going to work, and going through the daily motions will be harder than usual, so I encourage you to change it up and take some time off from real life.
Indulge in a spot of traveling, and head somewhere new and exotic. Meet people from various walks of life, walk in their shoes, eat their food, laugh with them, talk to them, be inspired by them, and learn from them. You will come home refreshed and holding onto the epiphany that you can overcome anything. [Read: 7 life lessons you’ll learn on a road trip]
#9 Do something new. If you cannot afford to travel or if you’re simply too tied down to head off on an escapade, then just do something new. Push yourself to do something that you never thought you would undertake. Whether it’s joining a Toastmaster’s club and brushing up on your public speaking skills or picking up Muay Thai, scare yourself, and push till you hit the very edge of your limits.
You will realize that with enough determination and focus, you can do anything you set your mind to. Apply this reasoning to every aspect of your life, and you will start feeling like your old self in no time.
#10 Find a release outlet. Don’t underestimate the importance of finding a release outlet. It could be anything that tickles your fancy. Whether it’s something gentle like writing or playing the piano to something more aggressive like boxing, be sure to find something that you can turn to every time you feel overwhelmed.
It will give you the opportunity to release pent-up energy and negative emotions. Not just that, honing your skills and doing something that you are passionate about can help give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
[Read: 12 steps to change your life and find your happiness]
When you feel like the ground has crumbled beneath your feet, you need to find a way to rise from the rubble and start rebuilding again. These 10 tips can help you deal with the changes in your life, as you try to regain your footing.
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