growth and recovery after major setback

Recovery and growth after a major setback

Life is a four-season journey. There are bad days and good days. However, it is also full of surprises. You can wake up one day and face an enormous challenge. Your life can be changed all of a sudden, like getting an accident, divorce, job loss, loss of a loved one, getting into burnout, or unexpected bad news. It is important to know that these obstacles can make you feel miserable, especially when you are not prepared for them. You might think that life is over for you. However, it is not. It continues, and there is a great assignment ahead for you to use your resilience muscle to move on with ease. Recovery is a must at this aspect, and it can be passed with ease. Here is some advice on how to cope with a major setback:

1) Give yourself time to accept the situation

Acceptance is the key to moving on, and it takes time. When something catastrophic occurs, grief is inevitable. According to the Kubler-Ross model, there are five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Grieving is a healthy reaction to the loss; give yourself time to grieve properly. Here are the five stages of grief:

Denial: It will take time for your mind to accept the reality of the situation.

Anger: This is an offensive reaction to hide vulnerability and pain.

Bargaining: This is a resistant reaction to grief. In this stage, people construct sentences such as “only if,” and it is combined with regret. There is a lot of visiting to the past.

Depression: This is a quiet stage of grief where you might feel like you have no appetite to move on. This phase might be longer than other phases, and the ideal is to move on with the help of a mental health expert if necessary.

Acceptance: It will take time to accept the situation. This does not mean that a person’s mood has improved (it can also be); however, he/she accepted the new circumstances and is ready to move on. 

2) You only have two choices

It is not easy to be in a situation where you think that you are stuck with your body, thoughts or lifestyle. However, there are two choices. Either you move on or you are stuck in negative thoughts. One way or another, life goes on; it is your choice how to continue. You either stay in bed, putting a blanket on and regretting past choices, keep getting stuck into the past, or get up and find new ways to move on.

Of course, it is not that easy to do so, especially when you are in a miserable condition. However, life is full of opportunities, so why just get stuck with something so negative? You are not the only one who is experiencing loss or misery in life. If it is a job that you lost, maybe it will help you find your dream job.

Yesim Ceren Bozoglu, in her TEDx Bursa talk, shared her story about how she handled a major bankruptcy in her life that happened several years ago. She explained her recovery process. She said that she had two choices: either get into a victim mode and make life miserable for herself, or consider this as an opportunity to learn from and move on. Eventually, she managed to get over all the misery and recover her financial situation. Meanwhile, she made many improvements to her personality, which to a better life.

3) Consider recovery as a great opportunity to revise your life

I do accept that falling or failing is not nice. But it just happened. Yes, it is an extreme negative situation; however, maybe there is a bright side to this situation. This indicates that something went wrong and led to undesirable circumstances. Instead of blaming the external circumstances (I do accept that they have a big influence on this), the ideal is to question in what ways my actions lead to this undesirable outcome. These times are great opportunities to bring us up to the next level.

Ask yourself:

  1. What have you learned from this experience?
  2. Which actions of yours led to any undesirable circumstances?
  3. What aspects of your personality have you learned from this major setback?

It is also important to acknowledge that you are not the only person to blame for this. If your boss was a difficult character, or you had a health situation, the circumstances were unfavorable, and anyone else would have also experienced an undesirable outcome.

When you get into negative feelings, it will be helpful to go over your positive gains from this undesirable experience. Sometimes the worst thing may bring the best results to our lives, and we will know this in the future.

“Instead of resisting change, surrender. Let life be with you, not against you. If you think ‘My life will be upside-down’ don’t worry. How do you know down is not better than upside?” ― Shams Of Tabriz

4) Change your perspective

Even though unpleasant things happened, it does not mean that every single aspect of them is negative. Usually, in those times, our brain has a tendency to focus on the negative. This is a defense mechanism to survive potential unpleasant events in the future. It is important to change perspective toward the positive.

Loss of a loved one: Remember the good memories that you spent together with the loved one. Be thankful for all those happy memories. Accept that death is inevitable, and a natural occurrence of the life cycle. 

You can remember him/her on special days, like birthdays. Maybe write a letter remembering happy memories together.

Here are some useful prompts: 

1) Describe the day that you met.

2) How has he contributed to your life?

3) What words would you use to describe his/her character?

4) What was the most enjoyable trip you took together?

5) What are you mostly thankful for about his existence?

Loss of a job: Losing a job may have a profound effect on our mental health. Not only because of income loss, but also because of a loss of identity. There could also be a great effect on our self-esteem, and we would definitely lose our routines. 

There are other sides to job loss, such as the anxiety that comes with uncertainty or continuous rejection while looking for a job. It can all be overwhelming, and it is important to consult an expert to cope with these uncertain times. Gratitude and meditation can help you to cope during these frustrating times.

5) Focus on your new life

There can be many times that we find ourselves ruminating and regretting our past lives. Maybe imagining how the previous Christmas party was in the office, just accept that a chapter is closed in your life. Life has forced you to start a new chapter. This is a great opportunity to try out new things. This is the first day of the rest of your life. Here are some ideas that could help you with the recovery process and adapt to your new life.

Recovery after loss of a job

Keep a routine: Having a routine is a healthy way to structure your life. Set goals and keep up with them. 

Try new hobbies: It is a great opportunity to try out new hobbies. You can make videos with summer pictures or start diamond painting while listening to music.

Don’t lose hope: Yes, you lost your job, but maybe a new, better job is on the way. You never know. Just enjoy today, stay away from worry.

Adapt a healthier lifestyle: This is a great time to start eating healthy, meditating regularly, practicing gratitude, and exercising regularly.

Learn something new: Which new skill could contribute to your career? It is a great time to learn something new.

Try minimalistic: Try to live in a more simple way. Declutter your home and adapt to a new lifestyle. Less shopping, fewer clothes, fewer expenses. It will save you a great time to manage less items.

Strengthen social relations: When life is busy, there could be many times that we want to connect with friends, or hobbies that we would like to do with our family. Maybe this is a great time. You can make custom presents for friends, like painting or DIY card, and visit them. 

Life has four seasons. There will be challenging times when we need to stay patient and do our best. It is ok; each new experience adds something to our character, and these setbacks equip us to cope with difficulties in life. Recovery is also a part of life, and it could be passed with ease. Try to enjoy each moment and go on with the flow. 

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – Martin Luther King

1 Comment

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