Change Produces Stress
We resist change because we are comfortable in well established habits – whether good or bad. We know what to expect. Yet, without change, life would be dull and boring. However, we want to be in control of what is changed.
But often, we are not in control of making those decisions. A divorce and a family breaking up, downsizing due to financial concerns, loss of a job, unexpected death or health issues drastically changes life as usual. And with those changes comes the stress of starting over and creating a new reality we do not like or want.
During the holiday season, drastic and unpleasant changes make it difficult to find anything to celebrate or be happy about. Our lives are stressed by the loss, picking up the pieces while we try to survive.
Change takes time and energy. It requires letting go of what was and turning our focus on what we can do. What is required to survive? How can we feel better while adjusting? What can we do to find some joy in the holiday season? Here are some suggestions that might help:
This is the hardest part.
We don’t want to let go of what we had. We don’t want this change. In acceptance our energy is freed. Acceptance puts us back in the driver’s seat. But it requires a deliberate decision to let go of what was and accept what is happening. This is especially difficult with a divorce.
Put yourself back in charge
Visualize yourself in charge of the situation. We may not be able to alter what is happening, but we have the ability to choose how we will respond to it. After the initial shock, anger and anxiety, purposefully focus on taking charge.
Find something pleasing every day
Find one thing every day that is pleasing or uplifting. Post motivational and encouraging sayings where you can see them during the day – on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door, on the dashboard of your car. Post a list of all your blessings. Keep a pencil handy to add to the list.
Write out affirmative “I” statements. Take them with you wherever you go and repeat them often. These statements celebrate your strengths. “I am capable of handling this situation.”
Focus on God’s Gifts
Focus on the gifts God has given us: His son, His love, His hope, His strength. Ask God for courage and wisdom and faith to believe He will never leave us.
Christmas is what we celebrate in our hearts. Re-set your spirit with God’s special blessings. You will experience renewed energy, creativity and hope.
Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC