Having to deal with minor problems and concerns often causes us the biggest headaches, the most discomfort and distress.
We automatically dig deep and cope whenever something major happens, rarely having little choice but to react and find solutions, aiming to do whatever’s required to sort the problem out.
But, those relatively trivial rankles and nuisances are things that we may not have even thought about until they presented as needing attention. Discovering that we don’t have a spare lightbulb or that we need to change the hour on the clock, doing the crossword alone, working out how to use the washing machine or oven, all may be uncharted waters that we’ve never had to navigate before. Suddenly being expected to deal with those things can be an unexpectedly disconcerting shock.
It may have seemed that the minor things took care of themselves, the bins got emptied, the leaves were swept away, clean towels and shirts were always available. But, now that you’re alone, these are items that you’ll have to deal with and that can feel like a big deal, as well as a poignant reminder that you’re now on your own.
We may be incredulous as to how affected we are by something so small, at how much it throws us off-balance.
In the past, we may have been surprised when we saw other people being affected by minor issues, things that very obviously presented a challenge to them. We may have reflected on how competent and efficient they appeared to be elsewhere, and yet how overwhelmed they were by something small.
That’s probably not too dissimilar to ourselves and how we react in comparable situations. At those times, pause and acknowledge how you’re feeling, that you’re upset and frustrated at finding yourself in this position, that you’re perhaps unnerved or annoyed at yourself for feeling so vulnerable. Remember to breathe and give yourself credit for hanging in there and having a go, persevering and coping with something new.
At this point in your life, you’re needing to find solutions to many situations, both big and small. Now’s your time to move towards becoming more independent, to take control of your life and manage the choices you face. Doing this can be quite a daunting time.
Only you know how significant your dealing with each issue is, how being newly alone has required you to step outside your comfort zone. Be sure to give yourself credit as you appreciate your courage and resolve, even if it’s for something that hardly seems worth mentioning aloud.
And, those various achievements can sometimes feel a little flat when you’re alone, with no one significant to share them with. Unfortunately, that’s one of the downsides that has to be dealt with by people on their own. But feeling good about yourself and how you’re coping is part of living a successful single life.
Here are some ways for dealing with the little things when you’re alone;
- Be okay about asking for help. There’s no shame in admitting that something’s new, that you’ve never done it before. We’ve all been the ‘new kid on the block’ and had to learn something from scratch. Often people are only too glad to help and teach you what to do.
- Learn to laugh at yourself. It’s easy to be overcome with embarrassment when you’re struggling with something commonplace, something that others appear to do with relative ease. But learn not to take yourself too seriously. It’s rare that things are that serious, and appreciate that, before too long you’ll be doing these things comfortably and well!
- Perhaps share your stories with others and appreciate seeing how many people join in with their own self-deprecating anecdotes. When this happens you can support each other, whilst being reassured that you’re not alone in feeling this way.
- Avoid the temptation to catastrophise what’s happening. ‘That’s it’, ‘I’m hopeless’, mixed in with negative self-talk can dissolve any positive thinking. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself and be firm about removing negativity.
- Get your situation into perspective. If you’ve had a bad day and several things have gone wrong or have not worked out as you’d hoped, accept that it’s normal to feel a bit flat. But, is it really the end of the world? Don’t forget, tomorrow’s a new day.
- Maybe pause what you’re doing for a little while and give yourself a break. Have some fun or time away to detach from everyday stress and enjoy yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Could you phone a supportive friend for a chat or pamper yourself a little until you feel a bit more upbeat?
- Resist comparing yourself to others. They might look like they’ve got everything under control, but there will be areas where they struggle, and some of those may be areas that you handle without even thinking. Everyone has their story.
It’s the little things that count when you’re alone, especially in the early days. Coping with everyday practicalities, when you’re starting out again, takes time and patience, time to grieve for the lost hopes and dreams, the life that you’d had and the future you’d anticipated. Breathe, stay calm and take life one day at a time.
Susan Leigh, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence.
She’s the author of 4 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’, ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’ & ‘Your Divorce Handbook, It’s What You Do Next That Counts’, all on Amazon.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit www.