Life can often throw challenges or even crisis situations at us unexpectedly. They are often unplanned and take us by surprise. How to deal with these transitions and changes is a skill that can be learnt. However, it is important to be able to know when we need help and support to get us through difficult times from good friends, family or an unbiased therapist.
Changes are never easy, most of them are thrown at us and we 'just have to get on with it'. However, how resilient we are really depends on a variety of factors. Challenges over our life can both contribute to increased resilience and resourcefulness as well as reduced resilience that can easily tip over to depression or other mental health challenges.
It has been found that early childhood trauma can leave us less resilient later in life. Overall, anything that challenges our resilience can draw on our inner resources and it becomes even more important to practice 'self-care'.
Self-care is a key aspect in therapy work with clients, which means also understanding your needs and where to draw boundaries. It is knowing when to say no, as well as when to ask for help. It is investing time in yourself. To develop a healthy 'selfishness' to do what it is you need to heal, recover and recharge your 'batteries'.
This may be learning to take more quality time out for yourself and not to feel guilty about it. For some this could be taking a soothing bath with music, or taking a walk in nature, listening to music, and just 'being'. As human beings we are preoccupied with a lot of 'doing' (and interestingly enough we are not called 'human doings'!).
Self-compassion plays an important part. How often to we feel empathetic to others and have good nurturing advice, but do not do the same for ourselves? How often do we just stop and notice our breath? Or notice our bodies and how it feels? Notice our feet in our shoes or on the ground? How often do we notice how we feel before we react? How often do we notice how we 'speak' to ourselves in our thoughts? Is it a kind and compassionate voice or is it the usual internal bully?
Mindfulness exercises and practice can really help, but it does need practice. A good morning practice can do wonders, but it needs consistency and regular focus until you will feel the benefits. Its easy to give up not seeing immediate benefits, but keep at it, it will happen. It is often thought that it is best to do in the mornings before our day starts, however difficult that may seem in our current busy lives. This can be a short mindfulness meditation or guided meditation followed by some simple stretching or yoga exercises.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to get yourself ready for transitions:
1. HeadSpace: Best guided meditation app with variable times and for different themes
2. HeartMath®*: Best evidence-based breathing app. The app is free but you will need the InnerBalanced sensor* to enable direct biofeedback tracking from a HeartMath® Practitioner, contact me if you are interested.
3. Self-compassion Practice: Audio book by Kristin Neff, PhD "Self-compassion Step-by-Step. The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself". Find it at Audible here.
4. YogaStudio: A great yoga app with various levels and duration, you can even design and save your own practice or Movement for Modern Life: Yoga in your home, providing a large range of excellent classes delivered by some of the best teachers (both subscription based).
5. Journaling: get yourself a notebook and start journaling, there are many nice ones available for example the life-journal themed ones at Paperchase as one of many options. Keep it with you even at night next to your bed. It can be helpful to write down your concerns and feelings on paper and rest your brain until you get to it the next day. Research has shown many therapeutic benefits of it.
The next steps will be to move 'through' the transitions to embrace change, and to find out where to head next. You may find our other blog on "10 ways to reduce stress and become more resourceful"interesting too.
If you need a little extra help, consider seeking support from an unbiased and well-trained therapist. Combining mindfulness and walking outdoors can be one of the best healing practices to overcome hurdles and getting out of a place of 'stuckness'. Walk & Talk therapy could be a different way of working through transitions and challenges for finding new solutions and ways to take change head on.
For more information on walk & talk therapy see also here: www.adadsu.com/walk-and-talk/
Contact me for any questions.
*Any clients of TheWalkingTherapist or ADADSU Ltd. are eligible for a discount. Contact me if you are interested to get the InnerBalance HeartMath® app for iPhone or iPad.