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Life Changes

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Some things happen the same way every day:

  • You get up, get dressed, and eat breakfast
  • You go to school or work
  • You go home, eat dinner, and do something for fun

But sometimes things change.

  • Changes can be:
    • Small (like going a different way to work)
    • Or big (like moving)

Some changes can make you happy.

  • Today, maybe you’re happy because:
    • The sun is shining
    • You are having pancakes for breakfast
    • Your best friend is coming to visit
    • Everyone at work is smiling and laughing

Some changes can make you unhappy.

  • Today, maybe you’re sad because:
    • You can’t find your favorite hat
    • The bus is late
    • Your friend is mad at you
    • You didn’t get a letter from your father
    • Your favorite TV show isn’t on

Big changes also happen in life.

  • Big life changes can:
    • Make you sad, mad, or angry
    • Change the way you feel for a long time
    • Make you sick (if you let them)
  • Some big life changes are good for you, but they can still be hard to deal with.

What are some big life changes?

  • Moving to a new home
  • Changing jobs
  • Getting hurt or sick
  • When someone you love dies
  • When a friend doesn’t want to see you anymore

How do you know if a change in your life is a big one?

  • You think about it all the time.
  • It makes you very sad, worried or upset.
  • You sleep a lot or not very much.
  • You eat too much or too little.
  • You don’t want to do things you usually enjoy.

What can you do about it?

  • Talk to someone about your feelings.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Learn ways to relax - like deep breathing.
  • Spend time with friends.
  • Try a new activity.
  • Do not use drugs or alcohol.

When a loved one dies:

  • This is a very big life change
  • You may:
    • Feel very sad for a long time
    • Feel weak or tired all the time
    • Have trouble sleeping and eating
    • Want to be alone
    • Have trouble doing every day things

It takes time to feel better.

  • When a loved one dies, most people feel:
    • Sad or angry for months or even years.
    • Then they start to feel better.
  • It helps to talk about your feelings.

What if you don’t start feeling better?

  • Talk to a counselor.
    • A counselor can help you find ways to feel better.
  • Join a support group with other people who are going through big changes.
    • In a support group people listen to each other and share ideas about how to feel better.

You can call your doctor.

  • Call your doctor if you:
    • Cry all the time
    • Feel sad, mad or afraid all the time
    • Feel like hurting yourself
  • Your doctor can help you feel better.
    • Sometimes, doctors give people medicine that helps them get through a big life change.

Remember, it takes time to get used to a big life change.

  • It helps to talk about your feelings.
  • Ask friends, family, or a counselor for help.
  • Do things that make you feel good - like spending time with friends.
  • Do things to relax – like deep breathing.

Learn more ways to deal with big life changes.

  • Help for the Hard Times:  Getting Through Loss by Early Hipp. (1995, Hazelden: Center City, MN)  This book is written in plain language and uses pictures and words.

Learn more on the DDS SafetyNet.

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Last updated on Fri, 04/02/2010 - 16:06