When you’re struggling with a joyous or an unhappy or difficult life change, that change goes on for awhile – a transition period. It’s difficult to keep up with what was your regular life.
What do you know for sure? Not much at the time of changes. Manage your home, schedule, emotions? Exceedingly difficult, even for the most organized person you may know.Change is all about letting go.
Organizing systems and self-care will help tremendously, as you move through this transition time. Taking care of the basics (with organizing systems) and of your self (self-care/support) will make life easier on a daily basis.
In Nancy K. Schlossberg’s book,Overwhelmed: Coping with Life’s Ups and Downs, she suggests four areas of focus: Self, Situation, Strategies and Support. I’ve also had education and experience using A Life That Fits, an approach discussed in my organizer coaching program a few years ago. I’ve melded these to work in the organizing context as reorganize life to eventually move ahead.
Today’s focus: Supports – because there’s one key detail that’s different here.
When I was going through separation and a divorce, I didn’t do this on purpose, but I experienced the most amazing breadth and depth of support. Until that point in life, this was the most difficult life change I’d been through. (Of course, if you’ve been reading for awhile, you’ll know that I didn’t “just” get divorced. I went through lots of life changes, in a short period of time.)
The key is to get specific on the type of support you need. So here is my example:
I felt like I needed a big sister, even though I don’t have one in my family. I found one, though, in an older, wiser, close, lifetime friend. No judgment, just encouragement to do what was right for me, listening when I needed to talk, and talking when I needed not to talk. Comfortable when she asked if I wanted someone to go with me to divorce proceedings.
Family/extended family. The people who would ask because they cared: What happened? Who wanted to try to understand. The ones who surround you with love and support, no matter what. And may I say, I really learned about having extended family at this time. Very powerful and comforting.
Closest friends. Say anything and know it`s confidential. Do fun things together to create a new social life. Friends, wine, cribbage, & pizza. Sharing feelings and stories.
New community to belong to. My friends at my then-new church community. The place that makes the world feel a bit smaller. Got me out of the house and belonging somewhere.
Another part of support can be people who handle practical details for you: errand running, lawn mowing, driving to dr.’s appointments, the trash pickup service. Or the broader community of friends who provide this practical level of support. For me, it was friends/family who packed me, moved me, found me the professionals I needed to begin anew.
We all talk about needing “support.” But what’s so powerful here is recognizing that there are different TYPES or levels of support.
Saying you need “support” is not enough if you’re going through a life change. Ask for what you need, specifically, and you’ll get through this more easily.
Tough to figure out, tough to ask but tougher if you don’t.
And for the most part, people will be honored that you did ask and included them in your support network.