How to Survive a Major Life Change

Why hello there, Fitnessista readers! This is Ashley, from The Edible Perspective, here for a little guest post fun. A little over a week ago, my husband + I bought our first house! We live in Ft. Collins, CO and are finally done with renting. We’re both 27 and have been renting since our sophomore year in college. I’m sure a lot of you can relate! Buying a house is stressful and exciting, along with other big life events like, leaving for college, planning your wedding, moving, changing jobs, getting laid off, buying a dog, having a baby, etc.


Since Gina + the Pilot are just starting the house buying process, I thought it would be appropriate to make a top 10 list on how to survive a major life change! This may be more directed towards home buying, but I think you’ll be able to see how you can apply it to something happening in your life right now.

How to Survive a Major Life Change


#10 – Call your mom! I talk to my mom just about every day, sometimes more than once. Over the years, I’ve learned that parents [usually, hehe] really do know best. They’re older + wiser and have been through these life changes. My mom [and dad too!] always make me feel better and reassures me that everything will work out. It really does help!

#9 – Set up a budget. Setting up a budget will help keep your stress levels down. Knowing exactly how much money is coming in + going out + keeping it all organized, will help you rest easy at night. You will know how much you can spend on remodeling, if you can buy that hemp seed oil you’ve been lusting over, and how much you can add to your savings account. There are many different ways to set up your finances. I know a lot of people have had success with and the huz + I are definitely going to enter everything in there when we’re settled in our house. For now, we use excel spreadsheets.


#8 – Find “me” time. Even if it’s only 10min a day, it’s so important to stop, take a breath and do something for yourself, every single day. This 10min break in your day will allow your mind to slow down and your mood to pick up. Try: meditating, stretching, journaling, lying on the floor, dry brushing, reading a book, taking a bath, at home facial, sit outside, etc.

#7 – SLEEP. This is the hardest for me. I’m a night owl and was trained to pull all nighters during my 6 years of architecture schooling. When it comes to doing things I love [blogging, photographing + editing, working on the house, etc], it’s easy for me to stay up way past my bedtime. Once I start getting under 6-7hrs of sleep for a few nights in a row, it’s all downhill from there. I’m tired, grumpy, moody, and impatient. If I’m go-go-go and not sleeping enough, I’m bound to also end up sick. When you’re in the middle of exciting life changes/events there is no time for being sick. Getting 7-8hrs of sleep [for me] allows my body to recover from all the craziness of the day!


#6 – Eat your veggies. Along with sleeping, getting the proper nutrition is extremely important to me. When busy, it’s easy to forget to eat vegetables, because we feel like we have to prepare them in some way. It’s easier to grab a bagel or a bowl or cereal or pb + j, then scarf down a pile of green. If you’re having a hard time getting in your veggies, make a smoothie with a few handfuls of spinach, carrots + almond butter, cucumber + salt/pepper, dust of your juicer + juice away, wrap up banana + pnut butter in a big green leaf, make a huge batch of kale chips to snack on, etc. Your body will thank you for staying on track when it needs you to the most!


#5 – Workout. One of the best stress releases for me is working out. Even when I’m tired from a day of painting, going for a long walk with the dogs or hopping on my bike makes me feel so much better. However, if I’m completely exhausted, even doing 10-20min of yoga helps tremendously. It puts my body back in alignment and clears my head. If you don’t allow yourself a break from whatever you have going on, you’re going to become run down much more quickly.


#4 – Get out in the sun. Walk your dogs, walk your neighbor’s dog, hop on your bike, sit outside, go for a walk. Just get your butt out in the sun and it will do your mind + body a world of good!


#3 – Prioritize + make lists. List making helps me a LOT. If you like to keep everything online, TeuxDeux, is a great online to-do list website that will keep you organized. Crossing things off my to-do list is so rewarding. Figure out a system that works for you to prioritize what is most important. I haaaaaaate making phone calls and for the past 2 weeks I feel like half of my life has been spent on the phone. However, I finished the miserable phone calls, and now I can move forward with some fun tasks, like covering myself in paint.


#2 – Homemade meals. It’s easy to get in a routine of eating out for lunch + dinner when time is short. Don’t fall into this trap! You will feel so much better + save money if you eat at home. Buy some fresh fruit + veggies, and go dig in your pantry. I’m sure you will find a plethora of quick + easy meal options that you can throw together in a pinch. Or, if you’re more of the planning type, block out a few hours on a Sunday and get all your cooking done for the week. You can…make a big pot of chocolate chili, or vegan mac n’ cheese, or bake a bunch of sweet potatoes to have on hand, and make giant batch oatmeal or vanilla bean brown rice for the whole week, etc. You won’t regret this!


#1 – Ya gotta have FUN with it! It’s easy to let the stress overcome the excitement, when we’re talking about these big life changes. However, if you follow some of these “rules,” having fun will be SO much easier. We love blasting music [blue grass!] while we’re working on the house and sometimes I bust out a sweet move or two. It will all work out and you can’t let the stress eat away at you. These are some of the most exciting times in our lives, and I want to look back with GOOD memories, not just stressful ones. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. If you don’t get the house you had your heart set on, there is a better house out there just waiting for you to find it. Sure there will be disappointment along the way. Things will get stressful. You will have doubts. You may feel crazy. But, rest assured, it’s worth all the trouble in the end!

I know this list isn’t anything earth shattering, but sometimes just having a reminder of how to stay in check, can really help! J

A big thank YOU Gina, for your daily inspiration and for letting me be a little part of your lovely blog! I wish you all the best in the weeks to come with your house hunting + pilot reuniting. Exciting times ahead!!



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  1. Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing on March 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Love this. All hugely important points. If I lose sleep consistently, I crumble. And sometimes, when I’m too busy to prep veggies, I literally just eat a small head of lettuce quickly. Like, grab it, chomp it, toss the little nub leftover. It sounds gross, but it makes me feel so much better, and I am lucky enough to love the taste of lettuce 🙂 Everyone has to find something that will work for them; I’m just weird and it works for me! 😉

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

      That is hilarious + awesome! 🙂

  2. Amelia on March 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    What a great post Ashley! Great tips!

    Gina, just wanted to comment on a previous post from today. You are absolutely glowing in every picture since the Pilot has returned. 🙂 You can really tell how much you two love each other.

  3. Jess on March 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Great guest post!! I especially like the very last tip about having FUN with it..I am very guilty of getting caught up in the stress and then lashing out. I will try and do a better job with just going with the flow and realizing that stress happens and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it! Thank you 🙂

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Exactly…definitely hard at times, but looking at the bigger picture is key! 🙂

  4. Ashley @ the fit academic on March 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I love this “survival” guide! It seems like I’m one to have frequent HUGE life changes! I totally agree with all your tips! Sometimes it feels like there’s not time for exercise, but then u do it and u feel more energized as a result!

  5. Maryann (The Balanced Bean) on March 22, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Great tips!! I cant wait till I buy a house one day 🙂

  6. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on March 22, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Ashley, I love the post, love your ideas, love you (and thanks for always answering my photography questions…”in all your spare time” :))

    I am the queen of life changes…home purchases both domestic and international, marriage/divorce/marriage, having a baby, working/not working/working, moving across the country multiple times…oh girl, I hear you…life changes take their toll and getting sleep, trying not to stress, having a support system…and also being able to just roll with the punches b/c you really can’t control the outcome sometimes…all so important!

    I wish both you two the BEST on your home-buying adventures. Real estate transactions over the years have given me plenty of gray hair or something like that…haha!


    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

      You’re so sweet Averie, thank you!! You have had quite the list of life happenings…seems like you’re doing great. 🙂

  7. Kate on March 22, 2011 at 5:44 am

    all 10 of these are wonderful! I am in the process of packing up 5 years in Pittsburgh (I went to Pitt and have worked for a year), and moving back home to Philadelphia to take a new job. My life is changing incredibley fast. In the last few weeks, I have made a promise to myself to SLOW DOWN and try to enjoy some of this time! I have been exercising, eating healthy meals, getting sleep, getting outside in the warming weather, and scheduling fun outing with friends before I leave. The most stressful two-three weeks of my life so far is turning out to be fulfilling and exciting! I used to be fearful of change, and now I am learning to embrace it! 🙂 Thanks for the guest post, I will definitely be reading your blog!!

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

      That’s so amazing that you’re finding ways to make it the best time, instead of the most stressful! 🙂 Thanks for checking out my blog!

  8. CathyK on March 22, 2011 at 6:06 am

    congrats on your house purchase, ashley! that is a fantastic achievement.
    your 10 tips are wonderful!!! couldn’t agree more. esp sleep – nothing recharges like sleep, yet it’s so easy to stay up “just a little bit more.”
    all the best to you!

  9. Stephanie on March 22, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Congrats on the new house! I especially agree with the veggies comment. I’m one of those people who has to TRY to get enough vegetables. I will absolutely eat peanut butter sandwiches and cereal all day if I don’t make an effort.

  10. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey on March 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Great guest post Ash! I agree with all of your tips – especially that “call mom!”. My mom seems to know everything. And if she doesn’t, she’s good at pretending!

  11. Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete on March 22, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Great post Ashley — I agree with all of them, especially “call your mom!”

    It is amazing how more at ease I feel when I tell my mom what is going on. She always knows what to say!

  12. Faith @ lovelyascharged on March 22, 2011 at 8:15 am

    These are great tips! I’m on the tail end of a whole slew of changes (moving, new job, first apartment, new dog) and it’s definitely a hard challenge but totally survivable when you just breathe and take it one day at a time!

  13. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides on March 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I am sending this to my husband! We are in the middle of two big changes – buying a house and expecting a baby. I think we’re a bit overwhelmed but you just make it through and not get caught up in everything.

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Exactly! It’s definitely no easy task, but taking things 1 day at a time is really helpful. House + baby is definitely a lot. Wishing you the best!!

  14. Fallon on March 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Love the advice. Most of it is reminders for me and I already follow a lot of them. It makes a difference when you keep everything positive, focus on the good and continue with healthy habits!

  15. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on March 22, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Great post! 🙂 I couldn’t agree more with #10. Last year when I was going through some hard times, my mom was the only thing keeping me sane!

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Yay! 🙂 Gotta love our moms!

  16. Emily on March 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Great post Ash! These are such good tips to stay focused and sane during big life changes…I love the one about getting outside 🙂

  17. rebecca lustig on March 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    me time, lists and working out are definitely so crucial for some kind of restorative sanity. deep breaths can also do wonders ha

  18. Stephanie on March 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Great guest post. Exactly what I needed! My husband just graduated college in December and just found a job and now we’re moving. Everything feels so major right now that it makes me nervous. We just bought a car and put a down payment on a new place over the weekend. That’s a lot of money just flowing out in two days!! I am a ball of stress!

    I have noticed that, even in my busiest times, I feel so much better if I workout. I have more energy and normally complete my tasks faster, getting done at the same time.

  19. Sable @ SquatLikeALady on March 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I love this post!! These are all things that I have noticed make a huge difference in how well I cope with and recover from stress.

  20. Melissa @ Chocolate & Kisses on March 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

    You are right, while all these big changes are mostly always for the better, they are a stressful yet happy time. When we bought our house 2 years ago, it was madness but I too used some of those above tips, especially the “talk to you mom” She sure knows how to keep your mind in check! Now we are planning our wedding that is in 2 1/2 months and the stress continues!

    Thank you Ashley for the wonderful post. Gina, hope you are having a blast with your hubby and you guys find your home soon!

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 10:29 am

      This totally reminds me of wedding planning!! We did a lot ourselves and I was living out of state…I was lucky enough to be able to go home 3 weeks before the wedding and it was pure madness! Good luck to you!

  21. Coco on March 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Um seriously, this post could NOT have come at a better time! I just moved into my first post-college apartment after snagging a “real-girl” job as a drug & alcohol addictions counselor! i am budgeting for the first time, and trying to figure everything out. it is so stressful, but your tips are very true and helpful. thanks!!!

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      I’m so glad you found the post helpful!!! 🙂 Good luck!

  22. Christina on March 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Great post Ashley! I firmly agree with all your tips! I think no matter what, busting out the running man or the moonwalk makes it all better. Especially when you’re sporting a green smoothie-stash 😉

  23. Laura on March 22, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Hi Gina!
    I love your blog and really respect/admire your food and diet philosophy, which is why I am coming to you with this question! I am a college student trying to lose a little weight quickly (though still healthily of course!). I’ve tried South Beach phase 1, but I always end up ruining it because I feel SO deprived not eating any carbs, plus I have zero energy to workout, which I like to do pretty much every day. I’ve been experimenting with the Paleo Diet, and I was wondering if you know anything about it or have any input on it? Basically, it advocates a diet of lean protein, all fruits and veggies, raw nuts and seeds, and certain plant-based oils. Thus, it completely eliminates all grains, dairy, and processed sugar and minimizes salt. The inclusion of fruit (and thus CARBS!) really helps my energy (and my sweet tooth :)), but I wonder if I will lose as much weight as I would following South Beach? Do you have any input on the diet? Thanks so much! PS I hope to be starting a blog soon and will hopefully be in touch soon as I do!

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      I don’t recommend the paleo diet at all. What about trying south beach w phase 2 instead of phases 1? I’ve done that a few times before, just make sure to emphasize whole foods instead of the packaged stuff.
      Hope this helps a little!

  24. Mama Pea on March 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I think that’s just great life advice period. I do not see “cry” and “drink heavily” on this list. Someone should have told that to me a long time ago. 🙂

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      I think I’ve only cried once!!! Woohoo!

  25. Katie on March 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Ashley! Hi! I know I said this before on your blog, but Congrats again on you and your husbands first house!!! So exciting, and it has been fun to watch the makeover process!! I love your tips, and I can’t wait for the day me and my fiance get our first house! I hope next fall, that is our goal, wedding this June, then next fall a house!

    Thanks for the tips and I have to say the last pic of you and your husband is pretty sweet! U guys make a great couple : )

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      Thank you SO much Katie!! Good luck with your wedding and house hunting. Such an exciting time! 🙂

  26. Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete on March 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Like I said on twitter, these are great tips!! It really doesn’t matter what you are going through! I have to laugh b/c although buying is so stressful, the last 3 major life changing times for me have been a little bit more intense:

    1) graduate from college, move to another state, start a new job all within a month
    2) quit my very successful job, get married, sell our house, move to another country all within a month
    3) buy a house, move to another country, last semester of grad school all within a few months

    No wonder I have gray hair at 27!!!!

    • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete on March 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      I probably could have used these tips during #1 or #2!! Thank goodness I figured it out by #3!!

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Definitely intense!!! When my husband was laid off, 3 months after getting married, things were non-stop crazy. Once we moved to Colorado [I quit a great job too!] it got even more intense. He didn’t find work for a full year and I didn’t find much either. It’s all starting to work out though!

  27. Jill {i run i eat} on March 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Love the list! Wish I would have thought about this over the last months while we were buying our house.
    The hardest part for me is always the budget. We start out with a set budget but I always see things I want and it makes it hard to stick to it.

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      I totally know what you mean. It’s hard to know when to stop!

  28. Julie (A Case of the Runs) on March 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Nice guest post! I think this year is going to be a turning point for me because I am graduating, so this is inspirational and appropriate. I’ll try to keep up with my veggies! Sometimes, I think fear/anticipation just makes change worse than it is. Love the perspective!

  29. Maria on March 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Good advice 🙂 I especially like #1. haha! I call my mom about every day, numerous times a day so I’m glad to see I’m not the only one. Thanks again for the tips, I’m planning a wedding right now and it’s been a bit stressful.

    • Ashley on March 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Totally feel ya on the wedding planning! Good luck!

  30. Stephanie @ Life, Love & Inspiration on March 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Great post. Exercise is the first thing that goes out the window for me when I’m stressed. Congratulations on the new house! I just wrote about losing my dream house…next post can be “how to survive when a major life change DOESN’T happen.” 🙂

  31. Ruth on March 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Ashley, this post is perfect for me at the moment. Some of those things you know, but sometimes need reminding of. Picture #4 is amazing shot!

  32. Mary @ Bites and Bliss on March 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Very important points! Ive yet to experience a “major life change”..but have had some semi-big ones. I’ll definitely keep these in mind when the day comes, though!

  33. Sonia@7spice on March 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Just awesome writing! And I feel it’s so related to all of my (our) life. Yes! parents are the best and knows their children very well. Thanks SO much for sharing your tips and suggestions, Ashley! And many thanks to Gina too! 🙂

  34. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom on March 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Some great tips in this post! My hubby and I bought our first house a little over a year ago and can definitely relate!

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