the emotional exhaustion of change

by - August 19, 2015

I don't think I have ever felt as emotionally exhausted as I do right now. Don't get me wrong, things with my boyfriend are going great and we can't wait until we get to wake up next to each other every morning. But, in a way, it's that "can't wait" feeling that is what's so exhausting.

In the past couple of weeks, I've officially broken the news of my move to a large number of friends and family. My immediate family and close friends already knew but it wasn't until last week that I officially told my bosses at work and made an announcement on Facebook to my wider circle of friends (because nothing's official until it's on Facebook, right?).

To tell you the truth, thinking and talking about "the move" constantly for the past couple of weeks has been almost too much to handle... even I'm bored by talking about it now and last night I could barely even string two words together when my boyfriend called to say goodnight. I just want to be up there and settled in our new life together without the hassles of actually packing up my apartment and starting in a new job.

"It's easy to underestimate the emotional impact of this peak time in your life redesign," writes Caroline Cameron in her book The Great Life Redesign.

"Perhaps the busiest phase of a redesign, the last month or so is a whirlwind of final arrangements, last times and farewells. It's also a time of mixed emotions. Sadness and anxiety, as you let go of all that's familiar, go head to head with excitement and anticipation as you move towards your dream life.

"Sometimes bewildering and emotionally draining, how you manage this time will have a big impact on how easily you transition to your new life."

But could my mental exhaustion also be a sign of anxiety about packing up and heading north? Apparently yes.

"Anxiety is extremely physically and mentally draining," says Ryan Rivera from The Calm Clinic. "It actually shuts down some parts of your body and brain in an effort to save energy for other parts of your brain, and it excites your muscles so much that over time your muscles become completely drained of energy, ultimately causing you to experience considerable fatigue."

Regardless of what's causing my fatigue, Caroline says high highs and low lows are all part of saying goodbye to one chapter of your life and starting another, but that caring for yourself through all of them is vital.

Her advice?

  • Time out and me time are daily must-dos: "Whether it's simply stopping for a cup of tea, kicking a footy around the backyard with the kids, going for a walk and getting plenty of sleep, simple care routines will keep you physically and emotionally fit"
  • Acknowledge what you've achieved each day: "When there's a lot to do, it's tempting to move quickly on to the next task. Celebrate every achievement to maintain momentum and confidence."
  • Ask each other "how are you feeling?": "This lets your partner know whether you need high-fives for getting something finished or a hug when you're feeling sad or overwhelmed."

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