Peo­ple strug­gling with change need sup­port

Life & Style Weekend - - READ - For ad­vice on fi­nan­cial sup­port dur­ing times of change, go to Cen­tre­link. For emo­tional con­cerns, talk to your GP, or phone be­yond­blue’s sup­port ser­vice on 1300 22 4636.

MA­JOR changes in life do not just hap­pen to elite ath­letes. We all have to face los­ing a job, re­tire­ment or a re­la­tion­ship break­down at some point in our lives. When some­one ex­pe­ri­ences a change in cir­cum­stances it is im­por­tant to let them know they have sup­port, be­yond­blue fam­i­lies project man­ager Luke Martin said.

“Peo­ple can be quite good at hid­ing the fact that they’re re­ally strug­gling with a life tran­si­tion. In­stead of wait­ing for signs that your friend or rel­a­tive is go­ing through a tough time, it can be help­ful to proac­tively check on them around ma­jor life events, such as be­com­ing un­em­ployed, the end of a re­la­tion­ship, be­com­ing a par­ent,” Dr Martin said.

“You don’t have to try and solve their prob­lems, just be there for them and help them ac­cess any fur­ther sup­port if they need it.”

Dr Martin said if peo­ple ad­mit­ted they were strug­gling, it was im­por­tant to lis­ten in a non-judg­men­tal way.

He also said peo­ple should ex­pect to feel a range of emo­tions if they were fac­ing a ma­jor life change.

“Feel­ings of loss, grief, sad­ness, dis­ap­point­ment, re­gret, anx­i­ety, sur­prise, re­lief, ex­cite­ment, joy are all com­mon,” Dr Martin said.

“Whether the change is self-di­rected or im­posed on us can in­flu­ence our emo­tional re­ac­tion and de­gree of readi­ness for that change.”

For those with a his­tory of de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety, life tran­si­tions are a risk time for fur­ther episodes, and proac­tively man­ag­ing the stress that comes with change is im­por­tant.

Dr Martin said signs that some­one may not be han­dling change well in­cluded feel­ing over­whelmed by what they’re fac­ing to the point of in­ac­tion, prob­lems sleep­ing, a change in ap­petite or a loss of con­fi­dence in their abil­i­ties.

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