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Coping With Curveballs: Strategies To Help You Deal With Life's Stressors

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The unpredictability of life is one of the most terrifying things to deal with. Even the most optimistic  of us may sometimes dwell on the fact that our lives could be turned upside down at any moment. Life can be incredibly exciting, but the fact that we never really know what’s coming can also be frightening. If you’re trying to cope with a curveball, here are some common causes of stress and upset, and some strategies I've used to help me pull through.

Loss
Nothing can prepare you for the pain you experience when you lose somebody you love. Even if you’re in a situation where a loved one has been ill for a long time, and they are receiving palliative care, it can be incredibly difficult to cope when that person is no longer there. When my parents passed away within a year of each other, the pain was like a physical pain I couldn't shake. Even though time can be a great healer, many people admit that they never really feel the same after losing somebody special. You learn to move on, but life is never quite what it used to be. If you’re dealing with loss, take your time, don’t rush the grief process, and open up when you feel ready. It helped me to lean on friends and family especially my sisters who shared my grief. talk about how you feel and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Seeing a therapist who has expertise in grief counseling is a good idea once you reach a stage where you’re ready to talk.

Illness
Many of us assume that we’ll be fighting fit well into old age. The trouble is that this isn’t always the case. One day, you might feel fine. The next, you may not. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you’ve been diagnosed with a severe illness, or you’re trying to come to terms with somebody close to you battling serious health issues, it can be difficult to move forward. Take time to process the information you’ve been given if you’re recovering from an accident/illness or you’ve received bad news about a loved one, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek professional advice and guidance, talk about your feelings and emotions, and take every day as it comes. It can be tough not to jump ahead and think about how the future will pan out, but try and focus on the present.

Back in January, I discovered a lump in my breast. While I immediately jumped to all sorts of conclusions, it was important to remain calm and seek professional advice. I saw my Ob/Gyn and went for a mammogram and ultrasound to get results quickly. I did research and talked to others who have had similar experiences. In the end, the lump was a benign cyst. But the mental roller coaster I was on in those few weeks was incredibly stressful.

Relationship Breakdown
We've all experienced some sort of loss of love, whether it's in a marriage or a close friendship. If you’re dealing with a breakup, whether it was anticipated or not, it takes time to recover. You may have planned the next 5, 10 or even 50 years with that person, and now, life is going to be very different. In time, you may come to realize that going your separate ways was for the best, but don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes months, even years, for you to reach this point. Talk to a therapist, confide in friends and family, and devote time to yourself and doing things you love. Hobbies and social activities can help you to build confidence, meet new people, and use your time constructively.

Sometimes even the best laid plans can change with no warning. The important thing to remember is there is always help for life's stressors. I always like to talk to people who have experienced it before you. They offer some of the best advice and tactics for making it through to the other side of a difficult life situation.

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