Last week, I had a conversation with a friend who is emerging from a difficult season of life. For over a year, she served as a caregiver for her father while also working. His death was traumatic. A week later, she was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in significant injuries. Now, she is coping with pain, multiple emotions, grief, and fatigue, and trying to decide how to move forward.
Emerging from a life pause is challenging, requiring time to sort emotions, establish a new routine, and regain momentum. Consider these suggestions to restart the forward motion process after a challenging life season:
When dealing with a life challenge, often we keep ourselves “up” and never let down. We reason we don’t have time to take even a day away from the urgency of the situation. We place ourselves in a zone that doesn’t allow for rest, or feeling and dealing with emotions.
Once the struggles of that season moderates, we sometimes attempt to regain forward motion as if nothing happened. But all the emotions you ignored, and additional emotions now, are there waiting to be processed. Forward motion is delayed when you ignore emotions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can circumvent them.
Expect an Adjustment Phase
Often, when a difficult season ends, we expect too much of ourselves. We feel as if we should zoom forward at a rapid pace with speed equal to our full-tilt existence prior to a life pause. Avoid expecting an immediate return a past pace and intensity. Mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion are part of the life pause equation. Embrace rest. Acknowledge schedule changes, especially those who have served as caregivers. Realize your journey if unique to you and don’t try to base progress on someone else’s experience. Accept gradual momentum as you ease into a new normal.
Seek Help if You Don’t Make Headway
Many people try to outrun grief and fail to realize grief isn’t always tied to a death. You may be grieving a job loss, life change, health situation, or a relationship loss. If depression overwhelms, don’t view this as a personal failure. Visit your healthcare professional and receive advice on the best way to move forward.
Look to God for Direction
As you emerge from a difficult season, you may feel confused, directionless, and find it hard to make decisions. God, who wrote your life story, is available to calm fears, clear confusion, and place your feet firmly on a path forward. Look to God for wisdom and direction and trust his timing.
“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress” (Psalm 32:8 TLB).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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