How To Survive When Your Spouse Dies (Even When You Don't Want To Go On)

How To Survive When Your Spouse Dies (Even When You Don’t Want To Go On)

There is more life ahead, even if it doesn’t feel like it now.

Few things are more catastrophic in a person’s life than the death of a spouse.

In this instance, the person you love, the one that’s been by your side for years, is now gone. For many, the thought of life without their spouse is unimaginable, and they cannot picture how they will recover from such a loss and live a healthy life again.

These feelings are completely understandable. Just how does a person pick up the remaining pieces of their life and move forward when a spouse dies? As much as I wish I could suggest a fast remedy or quick fix for overcoming pain and loss, the death of a spouse is not something a person can recover from quickly.

Despite this difficult process, a person can eventually come to terms with this loss and once again find happiness and fulfillment.

While everyone deals with a loved one’s death differently, I’ve learned that there are some fundamental activities and “schools of thought” that can aid in the healing process.

Here are five ways to help you through in the grieving process and cope with the loss of your spouse:

Read More at Your Tango


4 Tricks for Staying Motivated

4 Tricks For Staying Motivated When Life Tries To Knock You Back

If you’re like me, it’s tempting to look at people who’ve accomplished something big or overcome something major and think, “Wow, it must be nice! I wish I had that kind of motivation!” As if you could never be focused in the same way.

SparkNotes defines “motivation” as “an internal process that makes a person move towards a goal.” It helps us better ourselves, keeps us happy, or sometimes inspires us to keep forging through a difficult time in our lives.

More simply stated, it is that ‘extra something’ that comes from within.

It helps us reaching for new goals, motivates us to better ourselves, and sometimes helps us forge through a difficult time in our lives. It’s important!

Read More at Your Tango

The 8 Best Strategies For Coping With Divorce (So You Can Get Back To Normal)

The 8 Best Strategies For Coping With Divorce (So You Can Get Back To Normal)

Your divorce happened. Now you need to move on.


What do you mean divorce? My marriage could never possibly end in divorce.

After all, I work hard to be my best self and offer my best in a relationship. On top of that, I’ve carefully selected the man of my dreams. He’s Mr. Right we’re just perfect for one another. What could possibly come between us that we couldn’t work out?

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

Read More at: Your Tango

Surviving Job Loss

11 Ways To Survive Job Loss And Bounce Back

Whether it’s expected or not, job loss usually comes with its share of difficulties. I think most of us can relate. I personally hate the feeling of having the proverbial rug pulled out from under my life.

With so many things that I can’t control, it’s nice to think that my job is something I have control over, but sometimes layoffs or random cutbacks take that control away. If you’re reading this, you know exactly how that feels.

However, I don’t think it’s a reason to just throw your hands up and quit. After all, if I had given up after all my difficulties, I would’ve never found my passion and purpose. So let me tell you right now, you can survive job loss and bounce back better than before.

1. Remember It’s Only Temporary

First off, trust me when I say it won’t last forever. Despite how it might seem, there are jobs out there. You might have to take something in a different field to tide you over financially while you look for something else, but you’re not going to be forever unemployed. Once you get past this line of thinking, it does get easier.

2. Learn From The Loss

Hindsight is 20/20, so I always say it’s a good idea to learn from what happened. Was there some kind of sign that a job loss was coming? Was there anything you could’ve done to prepare? Of course, I don’t want you to just learn from the loss itself, but take what you gained from your previous job and use it to your advantage. What new skills did you pick up? What about any co-workers with great connections you could use to get a new job?

3. Use Any Benefits Offered

If the job loss comes from a layoff, you may be entitled to benefits which will help you make the transition from job to jobless. I say take advantage of every benefit offered. For instance, if unemployment is available, get it and use the time to look for a new job. If free education is provided, use it to learn a new in demand skill. If you’re one of the lucky ones and get a severance package, use it to bridge the gap while you look for employment.

One thing I do recommend is keeping any health coverage (COBRA) until you can find something else so you don’t have a gap in coverage. After all, you never know what might happen.

4. Consider Trying Something New

I know your first thought is to find a job exactly what you had. I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find any rule that says you’re only able to do the same job your entire life. Look at this job loss as a chance to try something new. You’d be surprised at how many different types of jobs are available that you already have the skills for or you can learn quickly through a few online courses on sites like Udemy and Coursera.

5. Re-Do Your Budget

In my opinion, the worst thing about a sudden job loss is the financial situation. I know we’ve all been told to have six months to a year’s worth of pay checks in savings, but how many of us actually have that luxury? If you do, you’re golden and have one less stress. For everyone else, you should consider re-doing your budget. I know it’s not fun, but cutting back will make this situation less stressful while you job hunt.

6. Create A Job Search Schedule

On the topic of job hunting, create a job search schedule. Think of it like a job itself. Spend X number of hours customizing resumes and cover letters, applying to jobs online, going out and putting in applications locally and even attending job fairs. Having this schedule helps to keep you on track. Plus, if you’re getting unemployment, you’ll need proof that you’re applying to places.

7. Recruit Support

I think one of the harder parts of surviving job loss is trying to do it alone. After any sudden transition, I believe you need support. Now is the time to talk to friends and family. Get emotional support and use them as network connections. The more people looking for a job, the quicker you’ll find something. Plus, you’ll have people to hold you accountable when you feel like giving up.

8. Start Networking Online

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If not, get one now. If you do, spruce up that profile. Start joining relevant groups, fine tune your profile to get better job matches and interact with connections. Many businesses are hiring exclusively on LinkedIn, so don’t miss out. The more opportunities available, the quicker you’ll bounce back and job loss will just be another obstacle you’ve overcome.

9. Try Starting Your Own Business

I know it’s not for everyone, but now might be the time to try starting your own business. Even if you just earn enough to get by for now, it’s something to help you keep your head above water until you find a new job. Many online businesses you can start with little to no money and you can learn the skills quickly if you’re willing to try. Try some of the ideas listed at Business News Daily and Entrepreneur (both online and offline ideas) if you need some inspiration.

10. Try Recruiters

You don’t have to be the only person looking for a job for yourself. If you have the money available, hire a recruiter or job hunting agency to do the leg work. They have connections you might never find on your own. Just be completely honest when answering their questions to get the best possible job matches.

11. Mourn, But Don’t Give Up

My last piece of advice is to give yourself some time to mourn. I’ve been there and it hurts. It’s this massive kick to your ego. So, give yourself some time each day to feel a little sad, but pick yourself back up and get to work on finding a new job. Each day, mourn less until you find that you don’t need to anymore.

I can’t promise that you’ll find a new job tomorrow, but I can promise you’ll survive this job loss if you don’t give up on yourself.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Anders Jildén

Feel Unmotivated

13 Things To Do When You Feel Unmotivated

I think everyone struggles sometimes when trying to feel motivated to something. For some people, that unmotivated feeling seems like a weight that just won’t go away.

I had long periods where I felt so unmotivated that I just felt stuck. I wanted to make a change, but just didn’t have the willpower to do anything about it. I’ll be perfectly honest – I hate that feeling.

If you feel unmotivated, don’t worry, you’re far from alone. However, I’m going to share with you some great ways to wake up your inner cheerleaders and feel far more motivated.

1. Look At The Consequences

There was a time in my life where I either had to find motivation or face the fact that nothing was ever going to change. If you feel like you might be at a crossroads yourself, make a list of the consequences of not finding motivation now. Also look at the positive changes that might happen if you do take action. For me, it was an eye-opening exercise. I’ll bet it will be for you too.

2. Find A Motivating Blog, Video Or Person

When I’m down, I love looking at inspiring or cute videos. I may even read those warm, fuzzy news stories. The same works for motivation. Find some motivating blogs, videos or even people to follow. When you feel unmotivated, go to your motivation source. Sometimes just getting that extra boost from an outside source is enough to energize you.

3. Just Do Something

I know it sounds more like a Nike slogan than real advice, but it’s actually true. I’m not saying you have to do whatever you don’t feel motivated to do right now, but don’t just sit there, staring blankly as Netflix serves you up one show after another. Do something. Don’t want to go to the gym? Clean house, cook dinner, go shopping or just call a friend. Whatever it is, just do something and it may be enough to motivate you to do more.

4. Step Away From Social Media

Social media can actually help motivate you, if you use it right. I, for one, think it’s one of those toxic motivation killers that just makes you feel like you have to be perfect. Instead of getting motivated, you spend hours scrolling through posts, comparing yourself to everyone else and feeling like you’re coming up short. Social media only tells a fraction of the story, but it’s damaging effects can leave you feeling unmotivated. So, take a break when you feel unmotivated and you just might feel better.

5. Do One Thing That Makes You Happy

Forget whatever it was you were supposed to and instead do one thing that makes you happy. A University of Warwick study found that happiness actually makes you 12% more productive. This means doing that one happy thing could lead to the motivation you need to be more productive in life. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

6. Take A Break For A Minute

I sometimes have to force myself to take breaks. When you push yourself too hard, it’s easy to lose your motivation and feel like you’re not making any progress. The problem is, you’re probably not progressing like you should be. It’s important to take breaks when you start feeling sluggish and unmotivated. A simple change of pace for 10-15 minutes is often all it takes to get you back on track.

7. Uncover Why You Feel Unmotivated

Ask yourself a question – why don’t you feel motivated? Is there a major life transition going on right now? Do you feel underappreciated at work, school or home? Do you really hate whatever it is that you need to do? Take a moment to figure out what you’re feeling the way you do. Getting to the root cause can help you find new motivation. Dr. Catherine Chen recommends asking yourself why you can’t and then rephrasing your answer to sound more motivational.

8. Remember Your Accomplishments

When you feel unmotivated, it’s hard to figure out any reason to try. I know, I’ve been there. It’s a quick sand moment, but I remember a friend reminding me about a past success and I suddenly felt like I was on more solid ground. You’ve worked hard to accomplish things in life so take a moment to brag to yourself about them. When you see what you’ve already done, it motivates you to keep working hard.

9. Set Up A Reward

Rewards are great. Just think about school and how great it felt to earn that coveted sticker on a test or homework. It was a simple reward, but it motivated you to keep trying, right? The next time you feel unmotivated, I highly recommend coming up with a reward for yourself if you do whatever task you’re putting off. I’m not saying you need a big reward, but something as simple as splurging on gelato from your favorite restaurant is enough to motivate you to take action.

10. Cut Down That To-Do List

Making to-do lists can be incredibly useful, but if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to go from to-do list to what was I thinking list. It took me a little while to realize that no matter how motivated I might feel, a list that had 100 things on it wasn’t going to happen in a 24 hour period. When I started cutting down my to-do list into something manageable, I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. In fact, knowing that the list was more than possible helped me get more done and feel more motivated.

11. Post Your Goal Publicly

Have a goal that you can’t get motivated to start on? Let someone else help you. I know I said skip social media, but in this case, posting your goal publicly to friends and family is incredibly useful in helping you stay motivated. Having those side-line cheerleaders gives you that extra boost you need to stay on track with your goals, even on days when you may not feel like it. In one study, people trying to lose weight actually lost almost one pound more per week just by posting their goal and progress publicly.

12. Get More Sleep

I’ve noticed something in life – sleep and exercise are tied to so many positive things. Both make you feel better, be more productive and surprise – feel more motivated. If you’re not getting enough sleep, this could be what’s causing you to feel unmotivated. If you can’t get enough at night, take short naps during the day. It’s not quite as effective as a full night’s sleep, but it will help.

13. Plan A Major Night Out

Forget whatever it was you needed to do and plan a big night out instead. Being in a social setting gets you out of your own head. I know how it is to lose motivation because of my own self-doubt and fear. Being around friends helps. Plus, having something to look forward to is sometimes enough to motivate you.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Xavier Sotomayor

Self-Confidence Is Important

10 Reasons Why Self-Confidence Is So Important

I used to wonder why everything seemed like such a struggle for me, while others seemed to never have a problem. At the time, I didn’t recognize that I had low self-confidence. If you feel like I did, you know the feeling of just getting by in life, while others succeed at everything.

I’ll be the first to admit that it takes work to build self-confidence. However, it’s a vital part of having a happy and healthy life. If you wonder if self-confidence is worth working on, consider how much better your life could be than it is now.

Is Self-Confidence An Issue For You?

I think it’s important to first look at some warning signs that you may be struggling. While some may seem glaringly obvious, others become so commonplace that you don’t even realize something’s wrong. A few common signs include:

  • Rarely or never taking pride in what you do or achieve
  • Apologizing frequently, even when you’ve done nothing wrong
  • Compensating with a vice to make you happier (drugs, alcohol, overeating, shopping too much, etc.)
  • Feeling constantly indecisive
  • Feeling stuck and uncertain of how to change
  • Depression and anxiety (not always tied to self-confidence issues, but it is something to pay attention to)
  • Being told you need to be more confident
  • Feeling like you’re always being run over or taken advantage of

Now that you know the signs, I want to show you why self-confidence is important.

1. Better Able To Handle Rejection

Rejection is never fun. I hate it myself, but I know it’s just a part of life. People with low self-confidence have a harder time simply brushing off rejection. They take it personally. With high self-confidence, it’s easier to let go and realize it truly isn’t anything personal.

2. Easier To Build Self-Esteem

I used to think self-esteem and self-confidence were the same thing, but they are different. The main difference is self-esteem has more to do with an emotional appraisal of yourself, while self-confidence has more to do with trusting and believing in yourself. Higher self-confidence makes it easier to build self-esteem, which experts consider harder to do.

3. Necessary For Peak Performance

To reach your peak performance, you have to trust yourself. Otherwise, you live with such self-doubt that you’ll always hold yourself back. Think of low self-confidence as a titanium door without a key. You can’t move forward until you have the key – high self-confidence.

4. Handle Social Situations Easier

If you’re anything like I was, you aren’t exactly a social butterfly. I remember feeling anxious and out of place. I wasn’t sure how to handle situations. The more confident I felt, the easier it was to talk to new people, enjoy spending time with my friends and become the person I am today.

5. Have Better Mental Health

I’ve already mentioned anxiety and depression, both of which are linked to low self-confidence, among other things. In fact, words such as withdrawn, anxious, depressed, pessimistic and unhappy are often used to describe people with low self-confidence. The better your self-confidence, the better chance you have of good mental health.

6. Enjoy Better Sleep

I remember sleep never came easy until I was completely exhausted. I was always spending my night second-guessing myself and letting anxiety take over my mind. As I went from non-existent self-confidence to someone who actually did believe in herself, I noticed something amazing – I was actually sleeping well. Trust me, this makes a huge difference in how you feel and makes you feel more confident.

7. Seem More Attractive

Numerous studies have been done that show medium and high self-confidence is attractive. It’s not about the perfect body, a certain height or having treatments for a neon white smile. I couldn’t believe something that was free and easy (once you build up to it) could be so attractive.

Whether you’re looking for love or friendship, don’t underestimate the power of self-confidence. Plus, you’re far more likely to attract self-confident people. This leads to a more positive situation instead of a toxic relationship.

8. Excel At Work

Who among us wouldn’t like a better job? Maybe it’s be nice if your boss noticed you and gave you that promotion that you know you’d be perfect for. The only problem is you doubt yourself to the point that even you don’t believe you should get it over someone else. I’ve been there. I remember being angry at myself and others. I wanted to know why they got to succeed and move up while I was left behind.

If you want that promotion or perfect job, you need the skills and as you’ve probably guessed by now, self-confidence. Just like self-confidence makes you more attractive, it makes others take notice, like your boss. You trust yourself to pitch the next great idea or learn the new skill you need to nail that promotion. More confident people excel at work.

9. Take More Risks In Life

I wish it were as easy as just letting opportunities magically appear, but self-confidence is important for making those opportunities come to you. It’s true. Opportunities come from taking risks in life. Think about successful actors who started out working as waitresses. They took a risk to move to a new city and go up against thousands of others who were auditioning for the same roles. Those risks paid off in a big way.

Another example is finding a partner in life. Without self-confidence, you may never approach the person you’re attracted to. Without that one risk, you might never be with that person.

10. Let Go Of Bad Habits

It’s always amazing to me how we deal with low self-confidence. We’d rather make our lives worse with bad habits than tackle building self-confidence. Believe me, I know the excuse. “I’m already so low and obviously failing at being confident, so why try.” It’s kind of like this negative mantra that goes through the mind over and over.

If you want to lose weight, stop smoking, avoid drinking, take charge of your finances or anything else, you need self-confidence. It’s this big kick in the butt that makes you believe that you can do it. Not only do you drop the bad habits, but you feel better overall. It’s a major win-win.

Self-confidence is important in all areas of your life. Yes, it’s possible to be too confident, but that’s not the problem most people face. I think we could all benefit from a boost of self-confidence.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Brooke Cagle

Empty Nest Syndrome

11 Tips For Surviving An Empty Nest

I love how irony works. I think empty nest syndrome is the perfect example. Parents love their kids, but can’t wait to get back to some alone time. When the kids leave, they’re too depressed to actually enjoy each other’s company.

I know some might say that empty nest syndrome doesn’t exist, but for those who seem like they’re barely surviving an empty nest right now, it’s all too real.

Don’t worry. I have hope for you. These tips will help you deal with that empty nest until your children inevitably come back for advice and love (or money and food).

1. Remember It’s Okay To Check-In

The sudden jump from being a full-time parent to watching your only child or last child leave the nest isn’t always easy. In fact, at least 25% of people say they’ve had to deal with empty nest syndrome. So trust me, you’re not alone.

One of the easiest ways to survive this transition is to stay in contact with your children. First off, think back to being a teenager or young adult. I, for one, wouldn’t have wanted my parents calling every single day at first. Give your child some space, but call once a week to check-in. It’ll help you deal and give your child a chance to ask for any advice if they need it.

2. Talk With Each Other

I normally hear people talk about an empty nest in relation to all the children leaving, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes when you have multiple children, younger kids are affected just as much as the parents when their older sibling leaves. Whether you still have at least one child left at home or you’re just there with your spouse, talk to each other.

This is a big change for everyone. Talk it out. When you’re feeling lonely or down, talk to your spouse. Listen to their concerns and those of any children still at home.

3. Make A Empty Nest To-Do List

Let’s face it, you’ve at least thought about all the things you’d love to do the moment your home was child free. I don’t think I’ve ever met a parent that didn’t have an empty nest dream list. Think about all those things again and write them down.

First of all, don’t feel guilty. You spent years devoting your life to your children. You deserve to take some time off now that they’re on their own. Besides, they can always call if they need you. Make your list and then start checking off some items.

4. Skip Any Other Major Changes

I know some people down play an empty nest as nothing major, but for many parents, especially full-time, stay-at-home parents, it’s a drastic transition that takes away part of their identity. It takes time to handle that and find yourself again. For now, try to skip any other big changes, such as moving to a new city or if you’re single, jumping into a relationship. Take time for you right now.

5. Schedule A Regular Conversation

Even if your child gripes about it, make a deal with them to have a regular Skype session or phone call. Texting is okay, but it might not provide the closeness you’re wanting right now. Knowing that you’ll definitely get to talk to your child at a specific time each week or even month helps you survive and transition during this period. This is especially helpful for extremely long distance situations.

6. Get Closer With Your Spouse (Or A Friend)

Being a parent isn’t easy. In fact, I’ve always heard stories about incredible parents who put their own social lives aside to spend more time with their children and make sure they had what they needed first. It’s a wonderful sacrifice and it’s led to amazing kids, but when those kids leave the nest, it’s time to change your focus.

Spend some time getting closer with your spouse or significant other. Re-kindle that fire that got you together to start with. If you’re single, embrace a more social lifestyle. Go out with friends or co-workers. Get together with other parents. Building better or new relationships makes the transition much easier.

7. Talk To Your Own Parents (Or Other Empty Nesters)

My guess is you feel like the only parents who have ever went through this. You’re far from the first and you won’t be the last. As with anyone dealing with a big transition, it sometimes helps to talk to others who are going through the same thing. Start by talking with your own parents, if possible, to see if they have any advice for you.

The next step is to find other empty nesters. I love the idea of sites like Meetup, that help you find groups with similar interests.

8. Discover A New Hobby

I know it sounds completely cliche, but stick with me a minute. Think about something you enjoy doing and how it affects your mood. You feel better right? Instead of just going with what you know, immerse yourself in a new hobby. It’ll take your mind off the transition more and help you ease into learning to live without someone constantly taking over the house.

9. Enjoy Some Reminiscing

I don’t know why a child leaving the house has to mean you’re not allowed to think about them at all. Your children are still a major part of your life. Look at old photos, talk about favorite memories and go to their favorite restaurants. Enjoying the memories helps them stay a part of your life while you transition. Of course, odds are, they’ll be back sooner than you think. For instance, college students always have dirty laundry for you to take care of.

10. Don’t Pretend You’re Not Affected

I know you want to be brave right now, but don’t try to fake it. If you’re having a hard time dealing, admit it. Even if your spouse seems okay, it’s okay for you to feel like it’s a major problem. Sometimes you’ll need help in dealing with the transition. In fact, for some, it can lead to lasting feelings of sadness and loneliness that can affect all areas of your life if you don’t admit there’s a problem.

11. Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To

I don’t care what it is, but find something to look forward to. Sitting around your house all day wishing your kids were wrapped safely in your arms isn’t going to help you transition. Plan a weekend getaway or find out when your kids are coming back to visit. Schedule a fun date night with your spouse or a day away with friends. When you have something to look forward to, it keeps your spirits up and you’re able to handle that empty nest much better.

Empty nests happen to all parents, but trust me, you can and will survive this.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Noah Hinton

Survive Job Loss

How To Survive Job Loss With Your Head And Heart Intact

Job loss is something that happens to millions every year and it’s never easy to deal with. I’ve spoken with people who feel as if their very identity is tied to their career and when the job is gone, they feel lost.

I like to think of it as having the rug pulled out from under your life and having to start over. I know it might not sound like it, but it can actually lead to bigger and better things. The key is surviving job loss without losing who you are.

Make The Pity Party A Short One

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that you should skip the pity party and just quickly move on. That’s just not realistic. We are all human and sometimes we just need to take some time to be sad and angry. I don’t think you should just bottle up all those emotions. You need to let them out. Talk to a friend or relative, write in a journal or just talk to yourself in the mirror. Take a day to throw yourself a pity party and then you’ll be ready to take the next step towards managing your job loss.

Establish A Plan To Start Over

I didn’t exactly have a good plan when I first started out on my own and my guess is very few people have any kind of backup plan in place for the possibility of losing a job. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the luxury of having months worth of savings either. So now, it’s not just the loss of a job, but financial security too. This stress alone can lead to depression and other health problems.

I won’t tell you to just not worry about it, but I will tell you that once you take control of the situation, you’ll feel better. On Day 2 of your job loss, sit down and create a solid plan for starting over. If you have a spouse or close friend, let them help you. Consider things, such as:

  • Current finances and bills
  • Refreshing the resume
  • How long you have to search for a job
  • Job search schedule and methods (online, classifieds, cold calling, etc.)
  • Possibility of short term part-time work to tide you over
  • How to use any benefits from your past employer (such as free college courses, if applicable)

I want to warn you that you might start to feel the need for another pity party as you write out your plan, but stick to it and ignore the urge. You’ll be grateful to have a plan in place as you start Day 3 and start working towards a new future.

Get Emotional Support

No matter what you do, don’t try to go through this alone. I tried this path myself and it didn’t work. I needed emotional support and so you do. Talk to friends, family or even go to a support group in your area. Having someone to talk to when you start feeling anxious or discouraged makes all the difference. They can also help remind you that jobs are out there, especially when you hear stories about how technology could eliminate five million jobs in the coming years.

Your support team is there to push you and keep you on track to find a great new job that will make you glad you lost this one. They’re also great for making you get out and have fun versus staying in and brooding over your situation. Remember – always make time for fun during this time.

Build New Connections

There’s no better time to build new connections than now. I’m a big advocate for social media sites like LinkedIn that help people build professional connections easily. It’s also a great platform for job hunting. In fact, 79% of recruiters hire through LinkedIn.

Work hard on creating professional profiles, joining groups and socializing online. Talk to friends, family and even old co-workers to build local connections too. The more connections, the easier it is to find a new job, which takes the stress off of you.

Create A Daily Routine

One of the things I hate most about job loss is feeling like you have no idea what to do each day. After years of a structured routine, it’s all suddenly gone. Create a new daily routine. Make job hunting your new job or if you’re able to hold off for a while, take some classes to advance your skills to prepare for a better job. The more structure you have, the easier it is to manage stress.

Stay Active And Healthy

I think losing a job is kind of like a major breakup. It hurts, it’s even a little embarrassing and you just want to curl up on the couch, watch TV and eat ice cream all day. Sadly, none of that will help.

Instead, I highly recommend focusing on an exercise regimen. Staying active helps your mood, clears your mind and keeps you healthier. You don’t have to let job loss ruin your health. After all, when that great job does fall in your lap, you want to be healthy enough to get it.

Let Go Of The Guilt

I know how easy it is to feel guilty. You feel like you’re a failure, especially if you’re trying to support a family or prove to family that you’re okay on your own. Job loss happens to the best of us. Let go of any guilt you might have. I wouldn’t want to walk around with 50 lb. weights hanging off my shoulders and neither should you.

Remind yourself that it’s not your fault. The job is gone and feeling guilty about it won’t change the situation. I’ve dealt with guilt just like everyone else. It’s only when I let it go that I’m able to truly move on with my life.

Know When Professional Help Is Necessary

As always, I’m here to help you reinvent yourself after a life altering situation such as job loss, but if you feel like the stress has taken too much of a toll on you, seek out a therapist. Sometimes severe depression seems to come on without warning after an emotional trauma and it’s always better to get help than try to deal with it alone.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Eli DeFaria

Build Self-Confidence

How To Build Self-Confidence When You Feel Insecure

It’s a question I hear all too often – “how am I supposed to build my self-confidence when I feel too insecure to do anything about it?” I wish there was a simple fix, so we could all feel more confident in just a few hours or days.

Sadly, there isn’t a quick solution, but I believe once someone acknowledges they’re insecure, they’re ready to take the steps necessary to start building self-confidence. It doesn’t matter how insecure you feel right now. There is hope and you can turn your insecurity around and become a more confident person.

If you’re ready to start taking this journey with me, I’m thrilled to be your guide. Let’s start with these tips for building self-confidence.

Find At Least One Thing You Love About Yourself

I’m sure you could probably fill a page up pretty quick with things you hate about yourself. I have plenty of things I don’t love about myself, but the trick is not letting those things take center stage in your mind. I want you to think carefully or go look in a mirror and find at least one thing you truly love about yourself.

Maybe you have the most gorgeous eyes or you’re an incredible cook. It’s disheartening sometimes to see how much people dislike themselves. For instance, according to Dove, 90% of women put their health at risk and refuse to eat because they don’t like their bodies. A shocking 85% of women avoid big events when they don’t like how they look.

I know the struggle, but I turned things around by starting to place my focus on the things I loved about myself. I realize it might be hard to change your line of thinking right away, but the more you like about yourself, the more confident you become.

Remember That The Media Is A Lie

All those airbrushed images, TV ads with perfect people and movies and shows that show us what we should be are all a lie. I’m not perfect and I never will be. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with me. I have a secret to tell you – the media plays to your insecurities. That’s right. They want you to feel bad about yourself so you’ll buy their products. Stop buying into the fantasy. Focus on you and not who you think the media wants you to be.

Remind Yourself That Everyone Is A Little Insecure

I remember feeling insecure and thinking I was all alone. Everyone around me always seemed so much more confident than me. The simple thought that I must be the only one made me feel even worse about myself. If everyone else was full of confidence and living the lives of their dreams, what was wrong with me?

Once I discovered that every body feels insecure, at least a little, it actually boosted my confidence. I still had work to do, but it helped to know that everyone around me had their own insecurities. You’re never alone. Go into a crowded room and I guarantee that everyone there is insecure about something.

Work To Become Great At Something

I honestly believe that everyone is great at something. I also feel that having that one thing is a great starting point for building self-confidence when you feel insecure. If you’re struggling right now, find a new hobby to try or figure out what type of job you really want. In your free time, work on becoming great at your hobby or take classes to get the job you want.

As you make progress, your confidence grows. I see this as a way to start reinventing yourself. Once you see that you’re great at one thing, you’ll see that you’re actually great a many different things.

Meet People With Similar Interests

Building self-confidence isn’t always easy when you try to do it alone. I tried doing it all by myself, but it was the people I met who helped me uncover the steps to help change my life. I highly recommend trying to find people who share similar interests. For instance, look for local groups that do the same hobby as you. Thanks to the social media, you can even interact with people online who enjoy the same things you do.

Finding like-minded people helps you feel more confident about who you are. It’s also a good way to make new friends – friends who are there for you during your insecure moments.

Figure Out Why/When You Feel Insecure

I know you may not want to answer this question, but why do you feel insecure? My insecurity began as a child and it took time for me to see the world a different way. When you can figure out why you feel the way you do or when it began, you’re better equipped to for tackling the experiences that made you feel insecure.

For instance, if you began feeling insecure when you started dating a certain person or hanging out with new friends, it’s time to let those toxic people go.

Take Steps To Let The Past Go

I know from first hand experience that our past is often a source of our insecurities. I also know that we don’t have to live the rest of our lives chained to our past. It took me years to realize this, but once I did, I was able to start letting go of the negativity and start actively working towards building my self-confidence.

Find ways to make peace with the past and remember that it’s over. You don’t have to be the person you were in the past. Today is the day to start new.

Actively Practice More Positive Thinking

For me, positive thinking made a major difference in my self-confidence. Much of my insecurities stemmed from negative thinking. I didn’t really know anything different. Once I learned to actively practice positive thinking on a regular basis, I found my negative thoughts fading away. Do I still have them sometimes? Of course, I’m only human.

I’ll be honest, it won’t be easy at first. However, take the time to listen to your own thoughts. For each negative or insecure thought, counter with a positive one. Eventually, those positive thoughts come more naturally, along with better self-confidence.

Remember That Change Does Take Time

It takes time to build insecurities, meaning it also takes time to build self-confidence while you’re feeling insecure. Please don’t give up when you don’t immediately feel better on day one or week one. Stick with it and you’ll find that a more confident you is just around the corner. Try the steps above and don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Agnieszka P

Life Transitions

Why Life Transitions Are Hard (And How To Get Over One)

I’ve been through many life transitions and while some weren’t so bad, others were a struggle. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through, but looking back, I’m grateful for those transitions. They’ve helped turn me into the person I am today.

That’s the thing with big transitions in life. I was terrified because I didn’t know what to expect. The last thing I was focused on was trying to get over it. It’s one of the most common issues all of us face, but these changes aren’t insurmountable obstacles. They’re just changes that you and I all have to go through to grow as people.

Why You Struggle With Life Transitions

I think we can all agree that major changes are like being blindsided by a bus doing 90 MPH. A change means you have to step outside your comfort zone. For instance, think about what it was like to go from school to job. You knew the change was coming, but you still weren’t 100% sure what to expect.

It’s that fear of the unknown that makes life transitions so difficult to handle. They seem to come out of nowhere and no one knows what’s on the other side. From something as simple as a promotion at work to something as heart breaking as the death of a loved one, it’s a challenge to go from certainty to uncertainty.

We all get used to our routines. That’s why many people stay in relationships they’re not completely happy with. They’d rather stick with what they know than risk the transition of being single again.

Transitions are a normal part of life. I know I don’t always enjoy them and sometimes I down right dread them, but I also know that I have to transition sometimes in order to make a positive change in my life. I know I never expected to suddenly be laid off, but it was actually a blessing that eventually led to me doing what I love today.

What You Feel Happens To Everyone

If you’re like me, your emotions run the gamut from excitement to anxiety when it comes to life transitions. You might be thrilled at the prospect of finally landing your dream job, but anxious about moving to new city for the job. It’s important to remember that all those feelings are normal.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – we all struggle with transition periods in our lives. Those people who seem to have it all together – they struggle too. They just hide it better. I know I actually made myself stress out more thinking I was stressing too much.

Take a look at The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory chart and you’ll see that life transitions are filled with varying levels of stress. It’s not uncommon to feel major fluctuations in self-esteem, anxiety and periods of depression. You might even feel lost and uncertain of where to go next.

The emotional overload that comes with life transitions is difficult enough to deal with. Combining emotions with the transition makes it seem like you’re trying to climb Mt. Everest in your underwear. The thing to remember is transitions aren’t trying to break us. They’re trying to make us stronger and lead us down a new road in life.

Why Life Transitions Can Affect Your Health

The stress overload that comes with life transitions isn’t always kind to health. For instance, it’s a common saying that you have a “broken heart” after a breakup. But for some people, it’s more than a saying. The inability to cope after the breakup leads to physical health problems, such as high blood pressure.

Stress loves messing with your physical and mental health. While stress is unavoidable (trust me, I’ve tried), it’s crucial to try and work through it before it takes a severe toll on you. Some common side effects of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Lethargy
  • Low immune system
  • Dry mouth
  • Physical aches
  • Sudden pessimism
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depression
  • Skin problems
  • Heart disease

While some of the more severe problems only occur with long-term stress, it’s kind of terrifying that stress can wreak so much havoc. All these physical and mental changes make life transitions even more difficult to handle.

Coping With Transitions And Moving On

I know first hand how difficult it is to try and deal with life transitions. Others might tell you to just get over it, but I know that it isn’t always easy. I had to learn to cope and battle my own personal demons with each transition. A few ways to manage the stress and make it to the other side of your transitions include:

  • Try to find a positive side. I realize this might seem impossible, but finding just one positive thing gives you something to focus on besides your anxiety and fear.
  • Stick to normal routines as much as possible. The more normal life seems, the easier it is to get used to something new.
  • Give yourself time to deal. I often tried to just hurry through transitions, but those bottled up emotions tend to come back at the worst times. Take some time to fully think about whatever you’re going through and how you truly feel about it.
  • Talk it out. It’s way too easy to get in your own head. It’s better to talk to someone you trust or a professional.
  • Continue to take care of yourself. For major transitions, you might be tempted to do things that take away the pain and stress, such as drinking or overeating. Make a conscious decision to put your health first. Stress is difficult enough to deal with, but adding more problems to your life won’t help at all.
  • Create a step by step plan. You can’t tackle a transition all at once. Sitting down and creating a step by step plan of how to get through things is a great way to take control over a situation that seems to be controlling you.
  • Imagine the future. I had a hard time seeing beyond the present at first. All I could focus on was what I am going to do now. The best way to cope is to look beyond the present and see what your future could be. Think positive. This gives you a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

The most important thing to do is realize this happens to everyone. Odds are, someone you know has been through something similar. Talk to them. Remember, it’s also okay to talk to a professional that will help guide you through difficult transitions and find a better you on the other side.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Avel Chuklanov