Life Happens: How To Cope With The Stress Caused By Unexpected Life Events
You are going along, everything running smoothly, and then, all of a sudden, the unexpected throws you off course. It’s a fairly common scenario, but it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next. If you find yourself facing an unexpected life event, follow these tips to successfully cope with the stress that will inevitably follow.
Know What to Look Out For
Not all unexpected events are stressful, but there are some that are best to watch out for. If you are like many others, knowing what types of situations can cause stress and trigger a potentially negative response gives you a feeling of preparedness. It also offers the chance to take action as soon as you find yourself facing one. Some common examples of events that can lead to stress and anxiety may look familiar:
-Death of a Significant Other
-Loss of a Job
-Divorce or Separation
If you have found yourself facing one of these major life events recently, here are some suggestions to help you manage the resulting stress.
Take a Step Back
When faced with a situation that is overwhelming, take a step back. Give yourself the opportunity to view it objectively instead of from within the middle of the storm. You may be surprised to see that what seemed like a category five hurricane is nothing more than a passing shower when viewed from the outside.
Knowing the difference between a reaction and a response can be a lifesaver in this situation. When you react to a situation, you don’t take time to think it through. It is an immediate response borne largely from instinct.
A response, on the other hand, requires a choice. By stepping back and taking a minute to think it through, you are giving yourself the change to make a well-reasoned and thought out choice.
Be Realistic in Assessing the Situation
Part of making that choice is realistically assessing the situation you are in. If it is a job loss, how did you end up out of work? Did your own actions contribute to the outcome? If so, how can you learn and grow from the experience?
Learn Your Options
No matter what type of life event you are facing, there are options to get you out happy and healthy. From job search assistance to adoption options, you have a choice on how you get through this situation.
Stay Focused on Positive Outcomes
Not all change is bad. In fact, a lot of good can come from it. No matter how bad things look, now is the time to focus on what good can be found in your situation. If you were unhappy in your job, maybe losing it is the catalyst you needed to find one you can pursue with passion.
Practice Self Care
Self care is critical to helping alleviate symptoms of stress. And, there are lots of ways you can practice it regularly without disrupting the rest of your schedule.
Eating a well-balanced diet can ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to thrive. Look for foods that focus on plants for the biggest bang for your buck (and effort). Aim to get at least eight glasses of water each day, too. Bringing a reusable water bottle with you when you go about your normal routine can serve as a reminder to keep sipping.
Add a stretching routine to your day, even if it is for just a few minutes. Yoga, tai chi, and meditation have all been shown to reduce stress levels and improve your outlook.
Get Help if You Need It
Support systems are critical to getting through major upheavals. Sometimes, however, an informal group isn’t quite enough. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, understand that it is normal. Help is available. Find a professional that can help you navigate your situation and teach you to use stress-reduction techniques in your daily life.
Life will occasionally throw a pretty serious curveball in your direction. Be prepared to field it and keep the game moving along by realistically and objectively assessing the situation you are in, knowing your options, and finding a clear path forward.
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