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5 ways to balance major life changes – good or bad

5 ways to balance major life changes – good or bad

Major life changes shift you off balance. Painful events, like a job loss, death in the family, or the end of a relationship, create deep feelings of loss. They also cause fear and uncertainty because your brain doesn’t like any changes – good or bad. That’s why joyful events like bringing home a new baby, starting a job, or getting married can also make life feel different and unfamiliar.

To help your brain adapt, it helps to check in with your mental health. Here are 5 ways to find balance during major life changes:

Give yourself time to accept the change.
Life changes, both good and bad, take time to process, and that’s okay. Time is necessary. Your brain needs a chance to ease out of protective mode, learn, and adapt to your new circumstances.1

Acknowledge the change and your feelings.
Whether it was unexpected or you knew it was coming, it is essential to acknowledge the change and your feelings. It helps to talk with someone you trust or seek professional care. If you feel overwhelmed, talk therapy can help you successfully navigate life changes.

Have your first MDLIVE therapy session in as little as a week from the privacy of home.

Give yourself regular mental health checkups.
Checking in with your feelings helps you assess your mental health. Ask yourself the kinds of questions you’d ask a loved one if you saw them struggling, like these:

  • Is my mood different now?
  • Am I taking care of my body with healthy food and enough sleep?
  • What is one thing I can do today that brings me happiness?
  • Do I need to talk with someone?

“It’s common to see a doctor when we’re feeling ill, but we need to give that same importance to our emotional well-being. Mental health check-ins should be as normal as physical checkups, not only to catch early signs of conditions but because our mental and physical health are intertwined.”

– Shakira Espada-Campos, DSW, LCSW Lead Medical Director, Behavioral Health

Did you know?

Your body communicates emotional distress through physical symptoms, like these:

  • Stress
    Headaches, body pain, stomach issues, and insomnia. Click here to learn how stress can cause allergy symptoms, like skin
    rashes and hives.
  • Depression
    Fatigue, unexplained body aches, joint pain, increased or decreased appetite, and
    insomnia.2
  • Anxiety
    Muscle tension or weakness, headaches, digestive issues, or frequent urination.3

Carve out a path forward.
Planning, lists, action items, and goals help you – and your brain – feel more in control and adapt to significant life changes. An MDLIVE licensed therapist can help you create a plan if you need guidance. Schedule a time that works for you.

Finally, give yourself a break from processing significant changes.
Using creative outlets to process your feelings gives your brain a much-needed break. Here are some ideas:

  • Try new things like a recipe, hobby, or exercise class.
  • Go for a walk outdoors to enjoy nature.
  • Connect with a friend or family member and try a new activity together.
  • Practice mindfulness and other strategies to reframe your thinking, like these 5 ways to be more optimistic.

If you need someone to talk to, have an appointment with an MDLIVE therapist in as little as one week.

Our licensed therapists and board-certified psychiatrists can help you through any major life change, including:
  • Divorce or loss of a relationship
  • Death of a loved one
  • Job loss or retiring
  • Serious illness or accident
  • Newly married or new relationship
  • Starting a new job or changing careers
  • Bringing a new baby home
  • Moving or buying a house

Bryan Gutierrez