Meghan Markle has yet to walk down the aisle at her star-studded nuptials, and already the tabloids are taking bets on her delivery date. Over in Kensington Palace, her future sister-in-law, Kate, is under the spotlight as she bonds with her little prince. Even Pippa Middleton can’t escape public scrutiny now that she has announced she is with child. While you may not have a royal title, you may experience similar pressure, and it is a royal pain.
These life events are stressful for everyone, not just those in the public eye. Planning your I Do’s, trying to conceive, and becoming a mum are all major life transitions. Despite eliciting mostly positive feeling, these life changes can also make us feel royally blue.
In honor of the royal wedding, we have three noble decrees to help you manage your emotions, as you keep calm and carry on.
1. Behold the Majestic Art of Self-Care
Pamper yourself like a queen without feeling guilty. This may mean indulging in high tea and crumpets, or reenergizing with a facial at a spa. Use this “me time” to shift your mind away from your usual thoughts and focus your mind on finding appreciation in the moment. There is tremendous value in indulging in activities that allow you to get your authentic needs met. Grant yourself permission to abstain from guilt – you are not selfish for prioritizing your needs above the people around you. By engaging in self-care you will gratify your genuine needs and validate your truest self. This will make you more emotionally available to help these people in the future.Go ahead, treat yourself like an American princess.
2. Don’t Lock your Feelings Away in the Tower of London
Even if you have months to prepare, a major life event will trigger stress and anxiety. Embracing new opportunities means leaving behind the old, familiar circumstances, which can be bittersweet. Major life changes come with plenty of unknowns and uncertainty. To best manage these emotions, start by recognizing and validating your feelings (even the uncomfortable ones like fear and vulnerability). It makes sense that they exist and awareness of them means you are taking steps to process them. It is psychologically healthy to mourn the past. Try writing a thank you note to your former experience and identify where you are grateful and what you will not miss. It allows you to reflect on the goodness in life as you productively process your change.
3. You are Queen of the Kingdom
The strongest kingdoms are built on solid foundations. No matter if you live in a flat or a palace, don’t let others tear you down your castle. People will always have an opinion as to whether you should get married, get pregnant, or try IVF, but you do not need to accept them. The best way to build your self-confidence is by tuning out your critics (even if your inner voice is among the criticism). Learn to do this by accepting the elements in your transition that you cannot control. Then, separate them from the events that you can influence. Break down these actions into small, achievable goals. The more success you bring into your life, the more confident you will feel in tackling greater challenges. When you feel doubt creeping in, remind yourself you have the right to tell it to tea off.
Lindsay Liben, LCSW, has a private therapy practice near Union Square, focusing on women’s issues including infertility, depression, anxiety, and life transitions. She believes that by helping her patients get in touch with their most authentic selves, they can make choices that set them up for personal success. Learn more about Lindsay and her work on her website.