Thursday, August 22, 2013

From Surviving to Thriving

For the past 3 years, I was in a toxic relationship, my self-esteem dropped and I didn't feel good about who I was or what I did. It took the support of a great mentor and some dear friends to get me feeling strong enough to leave. I now have, just moved to beautiful Victoria BC, and am starting a new chapter of my life. I thought others going through a challenging time could benefit from the tools I am using to get through the mucky part of just surviving and moving on to actually thriving in life once again. If you know of someone that could benefit, please forward this on.

The transition was difficult at first (and some days still are); I was grieving the loss of the relationship, the dreams we shared, the community I had grown to love, the lifestyle etc. Even though I knew it wasn't a healthy relationship and that I was better off leaving, I still was grieving. As Wm. Bridges said about Transitions, we are always going through transitions- beginnings, middles and endings, often experiencing all 3 parts at the same time. These were a lot of endings. I moved to Victoria (a beginning!), to an awesome location near the ocean, yet had no excitement at the prospects that lay before me. I was not hopeful. I was questioning whether the move was right, wondering what I was going to do, feeling depressed and hopeless. Then three things occurred at the same time that changed my outlook.

The first thing that happened was my favourite cousin came to help me get settled. As we talked, I shared with her my fears and worries. This was beneficial for two reasons:
  1. by saying aloud (or writing down) our fears and concerns they dissipate. I was able to see there were other possibilities and it really wasn't as bad as I was thinking; and
  2. for women under stress, talking to another person is extremely beneficial, releasing oxytocin into the body. (SE Taylor et al, UCLA study, 2000)
The next thing we did was a guided meditation each night. I had gotten away from meditating because of monkey mind about a month before my move, so her suggestion of listening to a guided meditation was perfect. I didn't have to think about anything, just listen, and it relaxed my body and mind. I stopped thinking of the past and future, and was focused on the present. We listened to it before bed, then had very peaceful sleeps.

The third thing I did was to get out and explore my neighborhood. I was surprised to find the ocean so close! Walking around the neighborhood, enjoying the flowers, trees, sky, ocean, birds, sand- heavenly! Wonderful food for the soul!! It was at that moment I knew I had finally arrived!!! I am feeling hopeful and looking forward once again!

Action Steps If you are going through a difficult time right now, here are some steps you could take to feel better:
  1. Connect with someone you trust and share your deepest fears and concerns. If you haven't got someone to talk with immediately, write them down! This helps take them out of your head. (Also connect just to talk about other things and maybe have some fun!)
  2. Start a guided meditation process. If you aren't a meditator, there are plenty of free guided meditations on the internet, just Google or YouTube guided meditation and listen.
  3. Get out and enjoy nature! It doesn't have to be a hike in the forest or walk along the beach- enjoy the birds, sky, flowers, trees and people of your own neighbourhood.
Until next time, Be good to yourself! YOU are your greatest asset!