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Rebuilding Life After a Crisis

By Harriet Cabelly August 24, 2022 Mindset

At various points we all go through challenges that necessitate rebuilding. Perhaps a divorce, an illness, a major life transition like retirement, the death of a loved one. These and many more require healing and recovering.

Healing Is Not a Cure

It doesn’t mean the pain is gone; it means it doesn’t have as strong a hold on us, and it can start to be integrated into our lives so we can begin to carve out a new path. Healing doesn’t change the difficulty, and it is not a cure. It’s about developing a sense of wholeness through it all. And wholeness encompasses our emotional, spiritual and mental parts of ourselves.

Healing improves the quality of our life even when no change occurs in our circumstance; even when there’s no cure in a physical condition. And yes, even when our loved one has died.

A Path of Growth

And dare I say, there can be a path of growth. There’s actually a term for this: post traumatic growth. We take on new meaning and live our lives in even slightly new ways. We don’t ask for these tough situations but once they’re upon us, it behooves us to make something of it and hopefully move on and create a good life, despite.

My Own Rebuilding Experience

I’ve just begun my ‘rebuilding’ phase as I’ve completed my chemo treatments. Rebuilding my health and body back from lymphoma and the toxicity of treatment is a goal I am embracing and looking forward to.

Weight gain, strengthening and building up my immune system and my muscles and bones (especially since I have osteoporosis) will be huge feats. Upping my basically already healthy eating to a new level that is more in line with anti-cancer health will mean a lot more food preparation (which I don’t enjoy) and drastically reducing certain addictive loves like sugar.

Basic Rebuilding Tips

Rebuilding will look different for each person dealing with their specific challenge. But there are certain basics that apply to all:

  • Be patient with yourself and give yourself permission to take it slow. Know that it will be hard and take time. Be gentle with yourself as you would be to your friend.
  • Allow yourself to feel all the feelings you may have blocked out when you had to deal with the actual situation. Flooding can occur. Again, be easy with yourself.
  • Have and hold a vision of what you want. And if you don’t know yet, that’s fine too. It will evolve.
  • Create mindful and conscious intentions.
  • Be a responder and not a reactor.
  • Become proactive and not a passive recipient of your situation.
  • Commitment to rebuild and heal is a mindset. It will not happen on its own. You are the driver of your life. You are the institutor of change.
  • Be mindful and stay present. Anxiety rears its head when we think and worry about the future.
  • We don’t necessarily have a choice in what befalls us, but we have a choice in how we respond. We look to heal and become whole again, taking on new meaning and purpose.
  • “Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but I can choose to make the best of things that happen.” Tal Ben-Shahar
  • Praise yourself for your smallest steps each day. We build on baby steps.
  • Find the good in the day, and bits of joy to bring in. There’s always something, however small.
  • Daily gratitude goes a long way. Take note by either writing a short list or mindfully thinking it. Again, however small and seemingly inconsequential.

How do you see yourself rebuilding from your life transition or challenge? In what ways have you grown through your challenges?

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Wonderful news, Suzan! All the best for your move & your new life. Thanks for sharing. I’m luving “60 & me” every day, too. It’s the closest friend I have right now. (Even if the seasons are all wrong, coz I’m in Australia!)

Harriet Cabelly

Hi Jen, Great to support each other here.


That’s a very good list. I have come to the same conclusions. Great minds think alike.

Harriet Cabelly

Hi Mark, I’m now able to reply here. I’m glad we’re ‘great minds’.


i have sent questions before, to various people but have never received answers –

Harriet Cabelly LCSW

What would you like to ask?


Thank you for this helpful article about rebuilding your life after a crisis.

Harriet Cabelly

Hi Jackie, Glad you found it helpful.

Suzan R Black

OMGosh, I read your article 3 times and this is me to a tee! I just got good news yesterday that I dont have leukemia after weeks of nervousness, anxiety and living day by day waiting for results. I had to do blood draws, CT scan and body measurements. I just started an 800 mg of anti biotics to take for 2 weeks. All in all I am so relieved. So ready to make a huge change in my life by moving to another state where retirement doesnt cost a fortune and I can live comfortably. Taking that first step imo will be a bit easier now. Thanks for sharing this fantastic article. Loving my 60 and Me good readings everyday.   

Harriet Cabelly

Hi Suzan, Glad this resonated with you. And so happy for your great news! The waiting game is the worst. Now go live your new life chapter.

The Author

Harriet Cabelly is a clinical social worker and positive psychology coach. She is passionate about helping people cope and grow through their critical life-changing circumstances, guiding them towards rebuilding their lives with renewed meaning and purpose. Visit her website, and sign up to get free chapters from her book, Living Well Despite Adversity.

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