How to deal with major life change
“To bring in your desired newness, you must first allow old parts of your life to fall away. These changes are to be celebrated, not feared. Give thanks for this shedding of the old. Embrace all of the lessons it brought and then let it go. Be giddy with excitement at the newness of the gifts that are now being bestowed upon you, and let their magic surprise and delight you.”
This is from the oracle card I drew on New Year’s Eve. As always, its message was spot on.
I have been asking for major transformation in my life for the past several years. I wanted more freedom in my daily life, more creative work I felt passionate about, more travel around the world. I desperately wanted to get out of the 9-5 lifestyle and out of being tied down to any one place. I was hungry for life transformation in a big way.
2017 was the year I got catapulted with it. Only all that transformation didn’t feel so good when it was actually happening!
Something I failed to realise about transformation is that, by its very definition, there is always loss involved. An ending of the old – of the things you’ve known and grown accustomed to. Somehow the gravity of this didn’t cross my mind when putting my visions out to the universe for a new kind of life. I was so caught up in desiring the end result that I failed to grasp what would be required to get there.
Which was a tremendous amount of letting go.
If you are experiencing a ton of life change right now, understand that this is not a bad thing – this is creating SPACE for your desires to show up. You can’t attract the amazing partner who appreciates and adores you without letting go of the relationship that’s no longer the right fit. You can’t get the passion-filled career without letting go of the stifling corporate job. You can’t get the transient lifestyle without letting go of the monthly rent payments keeping you tied to one spot.
Some of the things I was forced to say goodbye to in 2017, that turned out to be essential to getting the kind of freedom I had been asking for:
– my long-term apt
– my job
– many of my possessions
– my spending habits
– my employer-paid high salary
– my relationships with certain people
– my self-doubt
– my beliefs about what is possible in the world
Although I knew deep down that these losses were bringing me closer to many goals, I spent much of 2017 in a state of ebbing and flowing panic, traumatized by the huge levels of change that were occurring in multiple areas of my life.
The fact is, life change – whether you know it’s for the best or not – is freakin HARD.
It’s traumatizing and painful and can trigger some of our deepest fears.
I’ve learned a lot about coping with loss this past year. In case you’re someone like me who struggles a lot with letting go, I’d like to share with you some of the things that really helped me with weathering this storm of life change.
4 tips to help deal with major life change and letting go:
1) Ground yourself
When lots of stressful change is happening it can feel like you are spinning out of control – like nothing in life is in your control. You can feel vulnerable and sensitive, kind of like an exposed nerve. Incorporating grounding practices into your life will help immensely to anchor you back down during this time and soothe the shock and trauma you feel.
When it comes to grounding in your diet, think root veggies all the way. I think it’s no coincidence that when 2017’s life chaos started happening for me, I developed a massive craving for potatoes. Can you think of a food that’s more grounding than a potato?! This is the one cooked food I incorporated into my diet as a raw vegan last year and I feel like it’s done so much good for me. When I eat potatoes, I can literally feel their earthy grounded vibration being taken into my body.
Other daily grounding practices to focus on – meditation, indoor or outdoor gardening, relaxing music, grounding essential oils (think calming & woodsy scents), walks in nature, restorative yoga, journaling, crafting, cat naps. Setting up a daily routine that incorporates several grounding practices is the #1 most important thing you can do during major life change.
2) Keep your glucose storage up
Our bodies run on glucose – sugar – did you know that? The problem is, all too often we end up choosing low quality (or even toxic!) forms of sugar to fuel our bodies with, rather than more nutritious and energizing forms. Feeding your body the right kinds of sugar is especially important during times of hard life change because when we’re under a lot of stress, we burn through our glucose stores! Think about that craving for a chocolate bar or cookie when feeling overworked or upset… the body is asking for mega glucose support during this time and letting you know that it’s drained. Fruit is the best possible source of sugar (fuel!) out there, followed by…. you guessed it, potatoes! 🙂 Staying on top of eating large amounts of glucose will go a long way in helping you stay afloat when you feel like falling apart.
3) Ask better questions
When stuff is happening that makes us feel anxious or upset, we tend to focus on the worst. We ask “Why is this happening?”or “What have I done to deserve this?” Maybe we don’t even ask any questions and instead just keep telling ourselves how much the situation sucks. It’s ok if that’s where you’re at. Trust me, I’ve been there more times than I can count! But if you’d like to pull yourself out of the gutter and deal with things a little better, it’s all about asking better questions.
Some better questions to ask around the changes and endings in your life:
– What have I learned from this?
– How has this experience made me stronger?
– How am I a better person because of this?
– How has this made me grow?
When you ask a question, your brain literally starts looking for an answer to it – so make sure your questions are useful. There are lessons and growth in literally everything if we choose to see them.
4) Look for the opportunity
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller
I love this quote so much. With change and loss and endings, there are always opportunities too. Some of these you might be aware of right away while for others a good amount of time needs to pass before the opportunity is revealed. For instance, when I couldn’t walk and was bedridden for months, the opportunity for me was to start developing deeper compassion and love for myself. When I ended a long-term relationship, the opportunity was the freedom to meet someone who would treat me better and be more aligned. When I lost my home, the opportunity was to start implementing some of the lifestyle goals I had been dreaming about for myself.
Sometimes we’re too overwhelmed with pain to even explore the opportunity for a while. That was the case with losing my home – it took many many months before I was able to fully appreciate the blessing in not living there anymore. The sheer devastation was that deep. If you’re in the same boat, focus on the first 3 tips to start and come back to this one after more time and healing has taken place.
Just remember – with every loss, with every change, with every goodbye, there is always an opportunity. Often, there are multiple ones.
One final note I’d like to add – sometimes major life change can bring with it a whole separate bag of issues such as PTSD. This is something I also personally experienced last year. If you feel a lot of lingering trauma over your loss that doesn’t seem to be getting better, I have a follow up post coming on how to address this. Stay tuned for part 2 to this post, coming soon…