The Four Top Stressful Life Changes, and How to Deal with Them

Shocked_WomanBeing a woman in inherently stressful. Because of how we are hardwired, we are more likely to put stress on ourselves and to take on activities and tasks that cause us stress.

No matter how well equipped you are to handle a hectic and stressful lifestyle, there are some life changes that will cause you stress and can even seriously damage your ability to continue living your life in a positive and constructive manner.

Some women ignore the stress caused by these life changes, believing that it will eventually dissipate on its own.

Others try to deal with it in unhealthy ways, like taking comfort in junk food or shutting down their lives and hiding until it “passes.”

Most of us know, however, that things do not go away just because we will them to. That’s not how life works.

That doesn’t make it any more tempting to just try to hide from the really difficult things. There are healthy ways to deal with life’s more stressful changes.

Here are the four most disrupting life changes and how to handle them so that they do not take over your life:

  1. Death in the family or friend circle. No matter your personal beliefs about the afterlife, losing someone that you love can be extremely difficult. Even if you believe that you will get to see them again in another life, losing their presence here in this time is heartbreaking. You miss the spirit they brought into your life. Because of the finality of death and the huge change that it brings about, it can cause serious stress. Not only are you in mourning, you will also have to deal with the very real change that is happening.

The best way to deal with the stress of losing a loved one in death is to allow yourself to gradually progress through the  stages of grieving. Realizing, understanding, and accepting that death is a painful part of the cycle of life as we know it at the moment is the best way to gradually move forward.   Rely on family and friends to help you through this difficult time or find other outlets for stress management.

  1. A divorce. Even if you intellectually understand that divorce is the best option in your situation, a divorce can be extremely stressful, and not just because it signifies the breakup of what was once a fulfilling and valuable relationship. There will be meetings with lawyers and mediations and maybe even court appearances, depending on how heated the divorce becomes. The clerical parts of divorce, meshed with the very real emotions can make this an extremely stressful period of your life.

Give yourself some time and some space to understand the enormity of what is happening and to compartmentalize it. Try to let go of the things that are beyond your control and get in control of the things that you can control.

  1. Illness—yourself or family members. Discovering that you have a major illness can be extremely stressful, whether it is something that is easily treatable and manageable or something that cannot be cured. Some find themselves slipping into a depression, caused by this major change. Do not let illness be compounded by stress and depression.

The best way to deal with the stress of an illness is to build a treatment plan. Discussing with your doctor the best way to mitigate the effects of the disease will give you peace of mind. Knowing and having something to work on is always better than not knowing. Consider reading some self-help books that are rich with stress management techniques.

  1. Losing a job or changing careers. Not just because it can put a strain on your finances, losing a job or changing careers later in life can add undue stress to your life, whether that stress is about money, stability, or how to function in a new career. As women, we may even take the stress of a partner’s job loss or career change onto ourselves, trying to help them bear the burden but in reality just incapacitating ourselves.

The best way to deal with the stress of job loss or a career change is to set up a specific plan, whether it is to search for and find a new job or to improve and become competent in your new career, or find new ways to make money.  Making and sticking to a plan for personal growth will calm your mind about the fears of this major life change.

Do you have stress management tips for any of these four major life changes or other stressful situations? We would love to hear from you. Share them here for a chance to win prizes!

About Darlene

Darlene is passionate and enthusiastic about helping women simplify their lives, develop stress resilience, regain balance, and find happiness, despite the personal storms life throws at them. She has published a popular series of stress management books which focus on simple, practical and healthy stress relief strategies, as well as provide FREE resources and services that help women become more stress-resilient.

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