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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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I am happy being part of this large community. So many lessons to learn.


This gets a bit philosophical but when I read articles like this I am often left with more questions than answers. How do I set intentions, but stay in the now? I need to commit to rebuild and I am the driver of my life but yet when we think of the future, anxiety may rear its head. Look to the future but stay in the now. It’s confusing.

Harriet Cabelly

Hi Kevan,

I totally understand what you’re saying. This is a very general list of concepts to go after. Questions are always good; they propel us further. We focus on the now but have hope and goals for the future. Thank you for your comment here. We can certainly discuss further.

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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