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  • Writer's pictureNorma Davila, Ph.D., CPRW, CPCC, SHRM-SC

Your Well-Being in the Messy Middle

Have you ever experienced that, just when many aspects of your relocation were in place, suddenly, something did not go as planned?

How did you feel? What did you do?

You may have felt lost, angry, confused, helpless, and disappointed. Maybe you thought everything you did to move the project forward was lost. You wondered when you could go back to your routine and move on. Now what?

In the webinar "Relocation Changes and Transitions: A Moving Experience," the REA Coach panel introduced the Change Curve model proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and described relocations as emotional rollercoasters. The messy middle, when you realize that the honeymoon is over and the only way to move forward, becomes the most daunting stage.

In this blog, we will discuss what happens during the messy middle in the main components of well-being and share recommendations to navigate this stage successfully.

Let’s take a deeper look at what happens during the messy middle.

Emotional | Some accompanying family members want to accelerate the process, while others become passive observers and let someone else make decisions. Others become aware of negative feelings that may have been present when a triggering event brings them to the forefront.

Recommendations: Allow these feelings to emerge and accept them as part of this stage of your transition. Recognize that these feelings are temporary and seek support from friends, family, and others who have experienced them. Reach out to mental health professionals for additional guidance if those feelings are overwhelming.

Occupational | With so many things to do during relocation, fulfilling the occupational interests of accompanying family members often becomes a lower priority. Disruptions in schedules and expectations may lead to redefining the original plans of what to pursue and when and how to do so.

Recommendations: Pause to review the needs that an occupation fulfills for you. Look at your original expectations from the perspective of your current circumstances. Evaluate your qualifications and assess what you can do in the present and what you could do to prepare for the future.

Physical | Very likely, accompanying family members will miss the sense of safety of the previous community until the unfamiliar becomes familiar. At times, you may lose your way as you are going somewhere, and you may expect to find products and services that are not so readily available.

Recommendations: Visit the area before you relocate and identify those businesses where you could become a regular customer. Set goals to try new businesses and return to the ones you like best. Observe how people interact and, if they are responsive to casual conversations, start them.

Social | Isolation can result from not knowing anyone else in the community. Accompanying family members who prefer to interact in dyads and small groups may hesitate to reach out to people they don’t know. Those learning a second language may not want to speak it with strangers.

Recommendations: Be open to starting casual conversations about the weather, current events, your children’s school, and the best place to get X with people you meet wherever you are a regular customer. Join organizations where all members have common interests and goals. Practice your new language skills.

Final Comments

Moving through the messy middle gives accompanying family members unprecedented opportunities to learn more about themselves, let go of what they cannot control, and strengthen their resiliency.

REA coaches are ready to dedicate as much time as families need to arrive at what becomes their new normal. With access to a global network of experts in transitions, they customize the information they provide to clients to meet their individual needs along the way.

REA’s coaches specialize in assisting professionals and their families in addressing these issues. You don’t need to navigate your family’s relocation alone -- we’re here to help! Check out REA Flex Coaching services and REA's website to help you get a jumpstart on your path to a successful relocation!

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