When life throws you a curveball, it can be daunting to figure out how to get back up. Things go wrong, plans go awry or we reach the end of an era and suddenly can’t see our way forward. Losing a loved one. Illness. Relationships foundering. Redundancy. But focusing on small habits can make it easier to keep on track while you rebuild. When changes leave us feeling flattened and directionless, here’s how to build ourselves back up to a future that looks fabulous!
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HOW TO FIND YOUR PURPOSE
We all have times when life events can derail us. Use these expert tips to help rediscover your passion and joy for life
Getting over a major life change like a death or divorce is tough, but focusing on small habits can make it easier to keep your life on track, when you need to rebuild. That may be making time to meditate for five minutes; catching up with a friend every week; or making an effort to go for a walk on your lunch break. Life coach Monica Castenetto, author of What’s Your Excuse For Not Living A Life You Love? gives her tips on rediscovering your sense of purpose.
Accept emotional changes
Any change sparks an emotional response. Perhaps you’re reeling from life-shattering events – a relationship ending, a redundancy, or a diagnosis of serious illness in a loved one or yourself. It’s easy to stuff your feelings away, go on autopilot, and focus on “doing”, not “feeling”. But feelings will fester or catch up later, so allowing yourself to feel those emotions is the first step. It’s not wimpy but wise to acknowledge sadness if a period of your life has ended. Grief is a natural response to loss of any kind, even when it might ultimately be for positive reasons. Just listen to your feelings first and don’t argue with them!
Now share those feelings
The best way to come to terms with painful feelings is to talk about them, and fortunately most of us are good at this. Maybe you want a friend who’s already gone through something similar (and come out the other side!) or just a long-term mate you trust. Some people prefer the anonymity of sharing via an online forum. Not ready for that yet? Try writing it all down instead. Getting physical helps swirling thoughts too. Walk or run it off – best in a beautiful natural space.
Find others who are having a bit of a reassessment of their lives. They may be people you already know or friends of friends. But this could be a time for meeting new people, through volunteering or joining a book club. Plan some meet-ups to do easy, fun things. You’ll naturally share dilemmas but you’ll also be enjoying new experiences. Not usually the social “fixer” in your group? Put arranging a low-key bit of socialising on your list of things to do. Changing the way you behave is a very good way to start.
Accept the change
If change has been forced on you, such as a relationship or a job ending, as opposed to a natural sequence of events like children leaving home, it’s a natural reaction to try and reverse the situation or put your head in the sand. Try not to. Once you have made sure you’ve done all you can to clarify the situation, the sooner you can accept what has happened, the better. It will stop your mind churning over “What might have happened if...” and “Why you didn’t do xyz?”. Make a conscious decision to let the past be the past. When those “if only” and “why me?” thoughts surface, remember that you’ve promised yourself not to engage with them. Only when you’ve accepted that the situation “is what it is” can you start moving forward.
Find the real you!
That sense of who you truly are, what you love doing and what makes you who you are can get submerged in years adopting other myriad roles. Think about what you enjoyed in your teens and childhood. Were you creative? Sporty? Studious? Think about the experiences you want to try in the future. Travelling? Rediscovering a talent? Trying something new?
You don’t want too much unstructured time on your hands, so get started quickly. “Doing” builds confidence so set yourself some challenges. Try things out, with no pressure for any particular result. At the same time, think of a simple activity you can rely on to soothe and distract you, whether that’s yoga, baking, painting or exploring a walking track, and make time for it regularly. Having a consistent routine will help.