When Life Throws You a Curveball: Coping with Change and Relocation


As Cara DiMarco, Ph.D., a counselor in Oregon and author of Moving Through Life Transitions With Power and Purpose said, “all major changes involve a component of loss at their center.  That loss might involve loss of a particular routine, loss of opportunities, loss of sense of yourself or a loss of hope.” 

This may seem like doom and gloom, but change may also bring opportunity.   If you find yourself going through major life transitions, you may feel various emotions including stress, anxiety, confusion, and apprehension.  Remember, these feelings will eventually dissipate, but if you find yourself struggling to overcome these emotions, the Clergy Assistance Program (CAP) can help. 

Perhaps you may be fearful because of future uncertainty?  Maybe you feel powerless and frustrated with the pending change?  This is normal.  Find resources to help answer questions you may have.  Embracing a new opportunity rather than rejecting it will ease doubt.   You can make future changes a positive rather than a negative by simply having a positive outlook.  Something simple you can do is to generate a list of all the positives outcomes will help you cope with change.  When you learn how to cope effectively, take the new opportunity and run with it.

When families are impacted by change, specifically those with children, sometimes those children may develop behavioral or school-related problems.  This is why it’s critical that parents keep a close eye on how their children are adjusting.    Through the CAP, as well as Pastoral Care and Counseling, you can receive assistance in dealing with family concerns when they arise.  With relocation, parents should let their children know that the whole family is in the problem together and that they will work together as a family to overcome the problem.  

The first six months of a child’s behavior after a move is the time parents should focus on.   It’s during this time that children may show that the adjustment isn’t going as smoothly.  Sudden weight changes, trouble concentrating on school work and readings, altered personality, interpersonal relationship problems, and changes in sleep patterns may all be signs that the child isn’t adjusting properly.  What you can do is visit your child’s school and speak with his/her teachers, voicing your concerns and working through them with the faculty and administration.   A few other things you can do as a family to restore normalcy is to take walks, watch television, and telling bedtime stories all helps bring back that balance that you may be searching for.  When you restore daily activities, it rebuilds the normal sense of the morning, afternoon, evening, and night.  Even though you are in a new place, try to resume the daily routines as much as you can. 

Here are a few signs that the person may be overwhelmed and need professional help: the story is too painful to tell, the person creates a wall of silence around the event for a long time, the person cannot express or experience their feelings, dramatic behavior changes, and if the person has thoughts of hurting themselves or others.  If any of these apply, the Clergy Assistance Program is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-433-7916 or by sending an email to igrc@chestnut.org.  You may also visit the Pastoral Care and Counseling Resource page.