What Happens When You Quit

What Happens When You Quit

Leaving behind meaningful roles, relationships, habits, or beliefs that once gave our lives structure can spur profound destabilization and questions if making such pivotal sacrifices was justified. Yet liberation from environments or assumptions limiting our growth often germinates fresh opportunities we would never have created space for had we persisted in trying to resurrect the expired out of fear or familiarity. What emerges on the other side of radical reinvention far exceeds what we abandon during phases of uncertainty – when we quell doubts long enough to tend the seeds of becoming periods fertile for nonlinear growth.

You Lose Momentum

In the initial days and weeks after quitting something meaningful, it is expected to feel unease and disorientation. It can be highly jarring when long-standing routines, relationships, and roles previously structured one’s days are severed. There is often a surreal sensation of suddenly having space one does not know how to fill. This early transitional period requires soul-searching, reestablishing nourishing routines, and consciously working to rebuild momentum.

Withdrawal Symptoms Set In

Just as with substances and addictions, withdrawing from situations, environments, and even people to whom one has developed emotional attachment can catalyze complex psychological and emotional reactions. Scientists note that breaking social bonds registers in brain regions related to physical pain. After ending a long-term relationship, it is expected to experience unexpected grief and sadness as the mind learns to live without someone who has been intertwined in one’s daily existence. Building self-awareness around when and why these “withdrawal symptoms” emerge allows one to better attend compassionately to one’s needs.

You Question Your Decision

In the absence of the familiar, self-doubt inevitably creeps in. One may wonder, “Did I make the right call?” Know that this is normal, especially with significant transitions. When one reluctantly leaves a job due to its soul-crushing nature, it is expected to panic later that one has destroyed one’s career prospects. In those moments of uncertainty, reviewing one’s reasons for leaving and grounding oneself in the reality that one made the healthiest decision possible with the information at hand is essential.

Motivation and Energy Levels Crash

In part due to grief and loss of momentum and in part due to exhaustion from an intense period, one may feel drained and unmotivated after leaping into the unknown. Though counterintuitive, understanding this lack of drive is typical even after leaving unhealthy situations. Resting through periods of low energy instead of fighting them and rebuilding through small goals that provide a sense of meaning and predictable satisfaction while allowing one’s baseline motivation to rise again slowly are often necessary.

Focus and Clarity Improve

The initial fatigue gives way to a surge of mental clarity one may not have experienced once the noise and distraction of one’s previous situation or environment is removed. With a suddenly open schedule after leaving a high-pressure job, for example, one may realize how much bandwidth had been drained, constantly strategizing how to thrive in a toxic workplace culture. One may suddenly be able to pursue meaningful personal goals instead of just survival.

New Opportunities Arise

When we clear space in our lives by ending or quitting situations that conflict with our well-being and values, we open up room for unexpected gifts and possibilities. Reflecting on neglected interests and dormant dreams, one now has time and energy to redirect. After leaving an unfulfilling role, for example, one may discover exciting new opportunities aligned with one’s passions through exploring and self-discovery.

Health and Wellbeing Bounce Back

Removing sources of enduring negativity, stress, or toxicity from one’s surroundings can have profound physiological impacts. Taking steps to nurture one’s body through nutrition, movement, connection, and self-care allows one to fully receive the gift of vitality once previous burdens are lifted.

Personal Growth Accelerates

Radical change propels transformation as old perspectives rupture and new confidence develops. Major transitions build resilience and capacities one can leverage for the rest of one’s life. Shedding stories that limit one’s potential makes unprecedented personal growth and reinvention possible.

Perspective Shifts

Stepping away from previous roles, assumptions, and environments that constrained one’s self-concept gives space for redefining identity and values. Without pressure, epiphanies unfold organically about what topics and activities provide meaning and purpose. Interests and passions dormant for years often reconnect one to essence in the stillness.

Priorities Realign

Staying aligned with one’s core priorities requires subordinating fear and inertia to conviction. Significant pivots peel away accumulated expectations and “shoulds” to rediscover the wellspring of inspiration and purpose upon which to rebuild one’s life. As some doors close, the timing may allow more fulfilling ones to open.

While challenging, transitions away from unsupportive roles, jobs, and situations mark the genesis of renewal, as letting go allows space for reinvention that is abundant with possibility. What might one need to relinquish to call forward the next grandest version of one’s life?

Lisa’s Story: From Burnout to Renewal


Lisa was a marketing director at a fast-paced tech startup. Though initially thrilled by the high-stakes projects and a chance to innovate, she slowly began burning out after years of long hours and office politics. She struggled with work-life balance as a single mom and started experiencing health issues from the constant stress.

The Turning Point

After a doctor warned Lisa about rising blood pressure and cholesterol, she knew something needed to change. Finding the courage, Lisa resigned without another job, trusting that she could figure finances out. Though enormously tricky, she felt a sense of relief finally prioritizing self-care.

The Transition

At first, Lisa was extremely disoriented. She questioned whether leaving was the right decision during periods of doubt and low motivation. The single-parent guilt also crept in as she had less structure during her days with her daughter. However, Lisa focused on reestablishing routines with more space for wellness. She meal-prepped healthy food, exercised daily, and reconnected with neglected hobbies like photography in the park.

Emerging Opportunities

As Lisa made space for self-care and pondered the following steps, exciting ideas started percolating. She decided to offer part-time social media consulting for small businesses and nonprofits. The flexibility allowed Lisa to volunteer at her daughter’s school and chaperone field trips – providing fulfillment in her life. She also planned to enroll in a coaching certification program to combine her business experience with her new passion for motivation and empowerment.

The Outcome

A year and a half after leaving her burnout-inducing job, Lisa’s health improved dramatically. Her days felt complete yet balanced, with downtime to relax without guilt. By listening to her intuition and prioritizing well-being despite difficult transitions and doubts, Lisa created opportunities to emerge in service of her values. The initial leap into the unknown opened doors to a life more aligned and joyful.

Key Takeaways

  • Severing meaningful structures, relationships, and roles can spur temporal disconnection as you reclaim your bearings.
  • Abandoning, immersed attachments often catalyze brief mourning as neural pathways are rewired.
  • Self-questioning is natural in stillness after shedding outdated constraints on your growth.
  • Replenish depleted willpower by starting small as you strengthen new muscles.
  • Relief and imaginative insights blossom in the opening left by old limitations
  • Liberating yourself from stagnant situations fertilizes conditions for fortunes and synchronicities to fill the void through renewed lenses.
  • Bolstering neglected areas of self-care restores energy depleted by post-attachments
  • Radical regenerations pressure our metamorphosis through the cocoon cracks, an upgraded embodiment of your essence.
  • Gaining distance, we revise entrenched identities; recognizing outdated beliefs, we molt and make room for more authentic expression.
  • Democratic disruptions allow indictments of obligations misaligned from your sovereign compass so you may journey unburdened.


Progress demands periodically moving beyond ideas and environments, limiting the possibilities of what we may become when we dare to pursue latent potentials inside ourselves, seeking actualization. Though destabilizing when the comforts we cling to as security are disrupted, the seeds for resurrection reside in liberating yourself entirely from the unpredictable pull of your life’s dynamic trajectory.