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How to Manage Emotions During Big Life Events

Going through a big life event, whether that be a wedding, moving home, getting promoted, graduating, or starting a family, can bring on a whole host of emotions. And while these emotions can often be exciting and positive, there are also moments where things and feelings can get a little hectic and muddled up. So, we have a few tips to help you stay calm and grounded as you go through these big life events!

1. Self-care

Going through a life event often means a packed schedule and very little time for yourself. But making time for a little self-care time can be a wonderful way to decompress and settle into a calming state of mind when things around you are hectic. Try adding a few steps into your night-time routine: you could run a bubble bath, use that expensive face mask you’ve been keeping for a rainy day, or give yourself a home-style mani-pedi. While a few minutes of self-love every day can have a positive impact on your overall attitude, if you have an afternoon, morning or even a whole day free, allow yourself to indulge in a day of ‘me-time’ so that you can feel relaxed and ready to take on any big life changes ahead.

2. Self-awareness and patience

Journaling regularly can help you become more present, so you’re not apprehending your big change and are ready to tackle things with an open and clear mind. Don’t chastise yourself for having fears or worries, but instead take note of these concerns and write them down a few hours before bed. Observe the thought and acknowledge that it's normal to feel like this, but then let it go. After you’ve written down your worries, try writing down three things that you were thankful for that day; these could be small things like hearing your child laugh, the sun shining or a nice home-cooked meal. Mood journaling can also help you notice patterns in your mood and causes for any big shifts. Take a couple of minutes every morning to write down how you’re feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. You could track emotions such as trust, anticipation, fear, joy and sadness. Over time, this might help you understand how your emotions work and what your triggers are.

3. Good habits

Developing good habits is a great thing to do regardless of whether or not you are going through a big change or a life event, but having those habits in place can actually help you manage your emotions in case things become more stressful than expected.

  • Drinking water: We all know how important staying hydrated is, but many of us know we don’t drink enough. So, to help you stay more hydrated, maybe go to sleep with a bottle or glass of water next to your bed, that way it’s right there for you when you wake up. Similarly, place a large water bottle in your main living spaces. We recommend a bottle with a straw if you have one, as you’re more likely to drink more! There are also plenty of Water Reminder Apps you can get to send you notifications on your phone.
  • Exercise: Though we might have every intention of waking up and working out in the morning, it often isn’t all that easy when the temptation to snooze that alarm kicks in. Things like laying out your gym clothes the night before or setting up a home workout space with your mat, weights etc. the night before can help you feel more motivated when you wake up. Sometimes the length of a workout can put us off. Maybe try splitting it up throughout the day. Instead of a time-consuming workout, you could try a 15 minute morning yoga flow in the morning and a 15 minute HIIT workout at lunch or after work.
  • Food: Eating healthy is all about prep and convenience. Stock up on cupboard staples such as tinned beans, whole grain pasta, brown rice and some whole grain bread or wraps. Frozen veg is also a must, as you can buy a larger variety, it’s cheaper and it’ll last you a lot longer. It’s so easy to reach for processed food when there’s nothing in the fridge, so meal prepping is a great way to ensure you always have something healthy to reach for instead. Try setting out an hour or two at the weekend to prep some meals for the week. We know it can be boring eating the same thing every day, but you could also vary your prep by making 2-3 different dishes to alternate throughout the week and freezing anything leftover. Remember not to be restrictive though – a healthy diet is all about balance!

4. Open Up

Going through a big change isn’t always easy and no one should have to go through these things alone. While some of us might like to open up by journaling, try making some time to open up to friends or family too. If you struggle to share these things with friends and family, maybe try to find someone who is going through something similar to you. There are also plenty of forums and social media groups for all kinds of things. It can be a big relief to find out you’re not alone. 

5. Coping skills

If you’re feeling particularly tense or are struggling to cope with something, try these exercises from The Stress Management Society to help settle your mind and your breathing before you fall asleep:

  • With a deep breath in, raise the shoulders towards the ears and hold them raised for a few seconds (you will be able to feel the tensions that may be accumulating in the shoulders), now take a long slow breath out and drop the shoulders down. Repeat this several times.
  • Place the fingers of both hands at the base of your skull; apply slow circular pressures from the base of the skull to the base of the neck.
  • Now close your eyes and relax the muscle of the face. Be aware of your eye muscles, your jaw and your forehead. Place the fingers of both hands on each side of the temples and slowly massage in a circular motion. Repeat several times.
  • Finish by cupping your hands over your eyes and holding for several seconds. This helps to release tension and tightness in the face.

6. Happy place

Having a happy place that is your own can be a great way to feel secure when things in your life are changing. This could be places like a favourite tree to sit under in a nearby park or a favourite spot in your house. If you don’t have a happy place you can go to physically though, visualisation is also a powerful tool that can help you feel calm, grounded, safe and can even help you become more productive. If you’re feeling stressed, close your eyes and try to picture a place that brings you comfort – your happy place. Close in on the first image that comes to mind and try to list all of the details of the place in your mind. The more detailed you get, the clearer the image will be in your head. Notice if you can remember any sounds or smells and notice how this place makes you feel, carrying that feeling back with you once you open your eyes.