Sometimes things go right in life. The stars align and things are great. You get the job you want, your first offer on your dream home is accepted, your committee is thrilled about your idea. And sometimes it’s not like this at all. Everything changes in an instant whether you are ready or not. Your husband loses his job, you injure yourself in an accident, you are outbid on your dream home. Some setbacks are minor and some are huge or life-altering. So how do you embrace change when you are scared to death?
This happened to my family recently when my husband was injured on the job with a broken foot. His job was in a warehouse with large pieces of sign materials, acrylic, 100 lb sheet metal, etc. After his injury, it went downhill at work for him. Management was unhappy with his worker’s comp claim and taking it out on him. Tensions were high with us as I was driving him to and from work daily, 3+ hours in the car for me a round trip with traffic. Not super fun. Doctors’ appointments. Plus he was in an air cast which is uncomfortable and overall made for one grumpy hubby. Then he was laid off.
My immediate reaction was anger. I was furious at this company for treating him this way. Then I panicked we would lose our income, plus he was injured, plus we both had insurance through them. I had to drive in and pick him up from work after they laid him off. I was fuming. I still don’t understand how they can lay him off when he was injured by my hubby didn’t want to push it. When I picked Chris up he was angry too after never having been laid off before. It’s overwhelming and depressing. But all I could think about was my feelings.
I planned for this post months ago when we were still involved in the immediate adjustments with this change and looking back now there are quite a few things I would do differently.
Process the situation. It didn’t happen to me. It happened to my husband. Yet humans are a selfish species and all I could think about was myself and how this affected me. I wish I had calmed down first so I could just be there for him instead of angry. Two angry people didn’t make the situation any better. Neither of us could think clearly and it just created a worse situation. The change was tougher for him than for me. Think about the other person if this is happening to them, even if you are still affected as the wife or family. Try to support them. Consider their emotion and give them time to process and grieve without overwhelming them with your emotions as well.
What do you need to do to keep yourself safe? I use the term safe to mean, how you need to care for yourself. What do you need to do to care for yourself so you can care for others? If you are extremely upset, as I was, I wanted to, but I literally couldn’t stop crying. I probably cried half the day, not sobbing but tears streaming. I was so worried about our family and insurance. I was worried about my hubby, he has high blood pressure. My hubby needed support and I couldn’t offer it until I was able to care for myself. Take a walk. Watch some funny videos. Bake some cookies. Do something to care for yourself. Then care for your loved ones.
Embrace the change. Sometimes easier said than done! But it happened. My hubby lost his job. We weren’t super prepared but you never are. I’m a planner and I didn’t plan for this. But when I had calmed down I talked with Chris and just let him know we could and would handle it. We are a family and we would embrace the change as a team. So what do you do to accomplish this? My hubby, even injured, doesn’t like to sit around and suddenly had a ton of time on his hands. So we planned a project that we had wanted to do for a while, switching our office and guestroom, and we made it happen.
Now if you don’t have the extra money. Side note, don’t put yourself out, there are plenty of ways to embrace change and keep yourself busy without spending money. We had received our tax money and had already budgeted the money for the extra spending we wanted to create the new rooms. Embrace the change. Enjoy the time off together. Look for the right job. I promise it’s less scary once you steer into the change.
I work from home so my hubby and I got to spend two weeks together. He’s so desirable that’s all he was off work!! So in our new office, I worked, he looked for jobs. A few months later, he’s embracing the change of a new job and though he’s currently still uninsured and I am going back on my work insurance, the world didn’t end. We didn’t lose our home. We paid our bills and we embraced the change as a team. Our unit is stronger now that we have.
Has something happened to you that made you have to embrace change before you were ready? How did you handle it? What strategies did you use to help your family embrace the change, adjust, and rebuild?
Life is hard, but not as hard when you tackle it together.