Updated: Mar 17, 2020
My heart was broken, my house was gone and I left my job these are some of the big life challenges we face. Some times we can pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. Whilst other times understandably this can knock us sideways and we want to curl up in a ball and hide away from the world or sleep until it all goes away. Some may even feel there is a darkness that leads to feeling like there is no point to living.
It is important for us to honour the process we are going through, cry when we need to cry, ask for help when we cannot do it alone and eat cereal for dinner if that is all our energy can muster at the time. Experiencing depression and major life transitions is not a pleasant place to be. For many it is when our expectations of what we want our life to look like and actually what it looks like are vastly different, resulting in feeling unhappy and helpless or hopeless. Depression also offers opportunity for deep-rest (albeit unpleasant at times) and an opportunity to surrender to our emotions and experience a vulnerable side of ourselves that we probably would not have experienced. As our shadow side, characteristics of ourselves we do not normally pay attention to, can come up in the form of negative thoughts and emotions we have a tendency to run away and avoid this experience as it feels consuming, unpleasant and just shit. Alcohol, eating food, or finding other ways to numb our emotions may take us away for a short while but then we can return to that dark place.
What if there was another reason for this experience. What if we look at depression from another perspective that may give us hope that it is happening for a reason rather than it being a problem we need to quickly overcome. Depression can allow space for internal reflection, growth, and gaining strength from within and an expanding of the person we are into the person we are becoming. If we can hold onto the hope that there is glitter in the darkness leading us to the light at the end of the tunnel, would we stop the fight and flow through this experience with curiosity and reflection learning more about ourselves and who we are becoming?
Here are some quick tips for living through major life transitions and experiences of depression:
Number 1: Love - Loving and accepting yourself and remembering you are worthy because you exist and beat the odds to be born at this time, can help in overcoming any experience we have in life.
Number 2: Forgiveness - Forgiving yourself and others can release you from the added burden you place on yourself. We all make mistakes in life and have done things we have felt ashamed of or not proud of. Whilst we may not talk about our most vulnerable mistakes with friends or family it is important that any criticism you hold towards yourself or others is relinquished and replaced with kindness. Take a moment to look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I love me and I forgive myself for...." This can be useful in acknowledging to yourself that you forgive another, it does not justify their behaviour but it releases the negative emotions from you. If you feel able to you may also wish to imagine sending them love (this may be difficult for some, just do what feels right for you).
Number 3: Honouring your emotions. It is important to where possible honour your emotions and not avoid this experience with alcohol/illicit substances, over eating, or shutting down their expression. Allow yourself space within the day to sit with difficult emotions and pay attention to them for a period of time (5-30min, as much as you can tolerate, shorter bursts if you are feeling particularly vulnerable). Set a timer if you need to help contain this. One way to do this is to tune into your physical and emotional experiences in your body, where does it sit and how does it feel when you think about a stressful experience? If you need to cry allow this to happen. A wise man once told me tears were a gift as a way for your body to release and express itself. Face your shadow side bravely and courageously knowing this period will not last forever. Once you have faced a particular issue take two deep breaths and hold the intention of releasing these feelings when you breath out. Once you have spent time expressing these emotions you may wish to thank yourself for bravely facing your fears and tell yourself you are becoming stronger. Give yourself a hug or choose something to remind you how well you are doing.
Once you have felt and released some emotions find a way to shift the energy through exercise/movement/activity. Remember e-motions are just energy-in-motion because we are all made up of energy. So get the energy moving with a walk, dance, jog, yoga, hulahoop; listening to music that makes you feel good, sing, vigorous house cleaning; or perhaps a change in focus watch some comedy, cooking, go for massage, art paint craft, read, write....
If you feel overwhelmed, seek out support from a friend or family member or a professional you can talk to or someone who can help shift the energy in your body to give you a breather. Energy healers, kinesiologists, reflexologists just to name a few may also assist. For particularly difficult times please contact Lifeline 131 114 or Kids Helpline (under 18y.o.)
1800 55 1800 for over the phone or online immediate/prompt support.
Number 4: To Socialise or Not to Socialise: Listening to what you need at a particular time and honouring this is important. If you feel you need to be around people call/text and organise this. If you feel you need to decline a social outing because you need space to be alone then do so. It is important to be selfish to your own needs and nurture yourself during this time. Also remember having a balance of social and non-social time can be helpful and for some this may be a goal to work towards.
Number 5: Giving our body what it needs to survive: Eating well, sleeping when your body needs it, regular exercise even if it is gentle and meditation can help. Youtube has free guided meditations, meditations for sleep, sound meditations, solfeggio frequencies, chakra balance meditations to name a few. Avoiding alcohol or non-prescribed drugs can all support you to overcome life challenges. If you are going through a period of not sleeping, see my tips on getting to sleep, consider energy healing to assist with this or see your GP for other options.
Number 6: Our outer world reflects our inner world: Lets start with our immediate environment. If you are in a space where there is a lot of mess and clutter albeit at work or at home (don't worry we have all been there), this is likely a reflection of your internal world feeling overwhelmed, messy or having difficulty getting things in order. It may be helpful to do a tidy up and hold the intention that you are clearing away all that no longer serves you as you do this. Having order around us can help to create peace and calmness.
The second thing to consider is what are your relationships with other people reflecting back to you? If you feel like other people are not giving you the support you need ask yourself are you nurturing and supporting yourself, are you open to receiving support from others. It can also be a very powerful position when we understand that what we dislike in another is likely a reflection of some aspect of ourselves that we dislike. Similarly, if we are associating with highly critical people is our own internal critical voice set on high. So understanding this pattern can help us to turn it around by first focusing on how we treat and speak to ourselves. Work on being kinder to ourselves, accepting support, saying no, putting in boundaries and trusting that the behaviour of others with shift accordingly or you may gravitate towards people who reflect the new improved you. Remember if you need support along the way, connect with a professional.
Number 7: Gratitude.- I'm sure you have heard this before, however it is worth repeating. We can all find something to be grateful for even if it is to say thank you for my comfortable bed, or for my family and friends, or for the air that you breathe. Having gratitude can shift your focus and energy to a more positive space. Our thoughts can be very powerful and if we repeat something to ourselves enough we can change our mindset, it can take 21 days to change a habit. Choose affirmations that reflect what it is that you want rather than affirming what you don’t want. Or if you want purchase some positive affirmation cards and pick one each day so that you can focus on this each day. Hypnosis or tapping may also help to shift your unconscious self defeating patterns.
The biggest thing of all is knowing that you will come out the other end of this phase in your life because you are strong enough to overcome and learn from this challenge. Focusing or journaling about what you are learning through this experience or writing about how you want your life to be may help. Remember there may be something in this challenge that may also assist you to help others in the future.
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