Tips for surviving major life events
Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be devastating. Not only is your way of life changing unexpectedly, but you physically feel terrible. Your number-one step after receiving your diagnosis? Find a support group! No matter how supportive your friends and family members are, they won’t understand everything you’re going through. A support group will offer a safe place to talk about every aspect of your illness, from feelings to finances.
-- By Amy Leigh Morgan
Congratulations! You've been given more money and more responsibility, but probably no more training or support. Save your sanity by getting a set of concrete goals from your higher-ups, then making an action plan to achieve them. Next, earn your team's trust by asking for ideas about how to make positive change, and then act on those ideas.
Once the afterglow of the retirement party fades, a lot of retirees find themselves feeling aimless and a little depressed. The cure? Activity! Volunteer work is particularly beneficial. According to an 8-year study conducted at the University of Michigan, retirees who were active volunteers were 40 percent more likely to be alive at the end of the study than non-volunteers.
Death of a spouse or child
This is easily one of life's most devastating events, and the key to surviving it is to reach out. Once the casseroles and flowers stop coming, you might be tempted to isolate. Don't. Ask for help with everyday tasks that feel overwhelming. Talk about your loved one to people you trust. Remember that grieving and healing go hand in hand, and give yourself the space to feel all your emotions—no matter how painful.
One of the most stressful parts of moving is feeling out of control. Counter that feeling by making a plan and sticking to it. Ask for help with tasks like packing, cleaning and getting rid of clutter, then reward yourself with a self-indulgent treat once it's all over. There's nothing like a massage and a delicious meal to celebrate the beginning of a new life in a new place.
Quitting smoking will initially make you irritable and stressed out, and stress will trigger your impulse to reach for a smoke. The way to break the vicious cycle is to learn to manage your stress in healthy ways. Although it sounds insane, you may even want to consider quitting or cutting back on caffeine when you quit smoking. Take up exercise instead. The endorphins will feel amazing, and you can celebrate your newly improved lung capacity. Finally, take a tip from recovering alcoholics and "take it one day at a time."
To be a good caregiver, you need to be strong and healthy—which means taking care of yourself. As they say on the airplane, put on your own oxygen mask first. Schedule time for things you like to do, and try not to feel guilty about it. While it may seem like you need to “put on a happy face” for your spouse and family, it's good to express your grief and anger in a support group or with a sympathetic friend.
Your spouse loses a job
Silver linings are everywhere when your spouse loses a job; you just have to know how to look for them. Encourage your partner to send out resumes and make contacts, but also encourage self-exploration and even relaxation. This unexpected disappointment can be a prime opportunity to discover work that's more rewarding.
Finally, remember to show your spouse that you love them for who they are, not for what they do or how much they earn.
Losing your job
Between the financial stress and the inevitable toll on your self esteem, unemployment can wreak havoc on your sanity. Moping is natural, but you'll get further if you treat looking for a job like your new job. Take time to consider what you might like to do next—perhaps something even better than you were doing before. Work your network, update your LinkedIn profile, then head over to the unemployment office to take advantage of all the resources available to you.
Buying a house
Before you even start looking at houses, sit down and decide what your top priorities are. Be realistic about what you can afford and what you're able and willing to do. Then decide the absolute maximum amount you can afford in a worst-case scenario and don't go a penny over that number. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of house shopping, but if you stick to your guns you'll be much happier.