Life’s Most Stressful Adjustments
Defining the most stressful life events can be tricky – some people may manage certain stressors better than others. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, developed in the U.S.A in 1967 and tested again in 1970, references divorce, dismissal from work and death of a loved one as some of the most stressful life events. But some challenges don't make it into this 'top 10', such as transitioning to adulthood or becoming a new parent. Rather than ranking life's challenges, we will discuss the common denominator…
Adjustments can be small or monumental. We aren't equating the death of a loved one with a tough first day at a new job, nor are we implying a rank of importance or legitimacy to some adjustments over others. If you're finding it difficult to cope with something that's changing in your life, you may begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed. No matter your stress level in response to a life adjustment, we're here with some coping strategies.
These strategies are not a magic solution or a one-size-fits-all approach and are not a substitute for professional support. These are suggestions for habits and a frame of mind that may help you support yourself through adjustments, big and small. Change can be scary, change can be beautiful, change can make you furious and devastated, and change can help you be a better you.
Try these habits for coping with adjustments:
- Keep routine where you can. This could be your sleep routine, skin-care routine, a reliable breakfast recipe, or speaking on the phone with a friend at the same time each week – any personal ritual you can depend on could help you feel more stable through chaotic times.
- Seek professional help. If you're struggling, it's never a bad time to seek professional help. There are no criteria for speaking with a mental health professional; you can see a therapist for general maintenance and self-reflection, or you could be working through severe trauma or anything in between.
- Ask for help from those around you. Reach out to your network for support. This may look like asking your boss for flexible work hours while you manage your adjustment or asking loved ones for help, from a hug to a home-cooked meal.
- Move through the feelings. Allow yourself to experience the negative emotions that come with significant changes. Grief, sadness and anger can be hard to navigate, so do your best to give them their moment so you can find your centre and move through the emotion, rather than becoming consumed by it. Feeling bad can be a part of feeling better.
- Remember to breathe. Send calming messages to your body through measured, deep breathing.
- Tune in to the senses. Providing your nervous system with sensory information can help reduce anxiety levels. Focus on what you can see, smell, hear, feel and taste.
- Journal. Writing down your thoughts can help give them a space to exist that isn't rattling around your head.
- Let go of being perfect. While eating well, sleeping well, exercising, socialising and pursuing hobbies can all help you through a rut, they're often the tasks that feel the most impossible when you're down. Allow yourself those days when you need them to eat a less-than-healthy meal, stay in bed all day or ignore a few calls. Just be sure this doesn't become the norm, and if this becomes your regular lifestyle, it could be time to seek professional support.
- Express yourself. Sing, draw, run, dance, paint, craft, knit, cry – give something a go that lets you get emotion out.
- Prioritise healthy sleep habits. Sleep can be one of the first things to suffer when you're stressed or sad. Ironically, being underslept makes it so much harder to bounce back. While you may endure some sleepless nights, do your best to go to bed and get out of bed at the same time each day to help support your body with a consistent rhythm. Try RESCUE Sleep® at night to help switch off those worrisome thoughts for a better night's rest.
- Reach for RESCUE Remedy® when you could use a helping hand to feel focused, composed, patient, courageous or comforted. It's a bit of extra balance in a bottle