Less than two years after I had back surgery, I moved to a new residence, landed a major contract for my consulting company, was exposed to lead-based paint dust, took significant financial risks, and experienced a stressful relationship break-up — all within the course of a few months.
I do not recommend it.
Overwhelmed by change? Focus on basic needs.
When life events converge, seemingly beyond our control, we need to focus our energies on getting through them as gracefully as possible.
This means focusing on what's doable short-term, and taking care of basic needs like eating right and getting enough sleep. As my mom is fond of saying, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything."
Later on, we can ask ourselves what we could have done differently, analyze the root of unhealthy thought patterns, and make a plan for personal growth. But not yet. We've got enough going on to just get through the day.
Allow for inevitable mistakes.
If moving had been the only major event at that time, I probably would have done a much better job. But with all those other changes happening , I felt rushed and stressed, and therefore made tons of mistakes.
Regarding just the move:
- I did most of the packing myself. Big mistake. All that bending and lifting was the last thing my recovering back needed.
- I hired movers, but not a big enough truck. As a result, the movers had to make two trips, I had to hire an additional mover and truck the next day, and also make multiple trips with my car. This meant more physical and emotional stress.
- Then there was the usual mental toll of the move — the planning, logistics, the million little tasks that you can't plan for, notifying companies of my address change, looking for new doctors, etc. Many things fell through the cracks.
Know your threshold.
Major life events can also make you prone to illness, and more likely to get triggered into a negative mindset or emotional suffering.
But knowing this is helpful. If I'm aware that I'm close to the breaking point, it will be easier for me to say "no" to additional commitments, I'll be more likely to stop pushing myself before I get too tired, and I'll ask for help more often.
Now I can learn.
When I reflect on what I could have done differently, I realize that there were red flags early on with some of my situations, but I was ignoring them. There were also some patterns in my thoughts and actions that needed some work.
Now that I'm willing and able to face these facts, I feel less like a victim, and more confident and empowered to manage change more consciously in the future.
© 2015 Dr. Kristin Rose