Isn’t it a bit ironic that the one thing in the life that you can count on, is change? Everyone, no matter who you are or what your circumstances may be, will experience some kind of big change in their life, probably many times!
So how do you deal with this eventuality? Change can be stressful, and quite often, not welcome.
We want to show you 7 ways in which to turn that situation around in your mind, and to deal with this change and the stress it can bring, in a positive way.
1. Acknowledge the change.
Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting change that we put off actually dealing with it. Denial is a powerful force, and it protects us in many ways. However, stepping outside of it and saying to yourself, "Things are changing, and it is okay" can be less stressful than putting it off.
2. Realise that even a good change can cause you stress.
Sometimes when people go through a positive life change, such as graduating or having a baby, they still feel a great deal of stress—or even dread. Keep in mind that positive change can create stress just like not-so-positive change. Stress is just your body's way of reacting to change. It's okay to feel stressed even when something good has happened—in fact, it's normal.
3. Keep up your regular schedule as much as possible.
The more change that is happening, the more important it is to stick to your regular schedule—as much as possible. Keeping some aspects constant, as simple as walking the dog every morning at 8 am, gives us an anchor. An anchor is a reminder that some things are still the same, and it gives your brain a little bit of a rest. Sometimes when you are going through a lot of change it helps to write down your routine and check it off as you go. It's one less thing for your brain to have to hold inside.
4. Try to eat as healthily as possible.
When change happens, a lot of us tend to reach for carbs—bread, muffins, cake, etc. This may be because eating carbs boosts serotonin—a brain chemical that may be somewhat depleted when you undergo change (stress). It's okay to soothe yourself with comfort foods—in moderation. One way to track what you are eating is to write it down. You can either do this in a notebook or use an app. When you see what you are eating, it makes you take a step back and think about whether you want to eat that second muffin or not.
5. Reach out for help.
No one gets through life alone. It is okay to ask for help; that's a sign that you know yourself well enough to realise you need some assistance. Think of your trusted friends or family members. Chances are that they are happy to help if you need them to watch your kids while you run some errands, or if you just need some alone time.
This can also include opening up to someone you trust - letting out your thoughts and worries can help to lighten the load immensely, and can make you realise that things may not be as bad as they sound in your head.
6. Write down the positives that have come from this change.
Maybe due to this change in your life, you have met new people. Maybe you started practising healthier habits. Maybe you became more politically active. Maybe you became more assertive. Maybe the change helped you prioritise what is most important in your life. Change presents us with the opportunity to grow, and it's important to acknowledge how things have become better as a result.
7. Work out what’s in your control and what isn’t.
Whilst change can cause anxiety and discomfort, distinguishing between aspects of the change you can control and those you can’t will better equip you to handle the change positively.
While we can’t always avoid change, there may be some things that are under our control, or things that we can do to help adjust to the change much easier.
By anticipating what’s likely to make you feel anxious, and engaging in activities you enjoy, such as gardening, cooking, journaling, reading your favourite book, to counteract that emotion, will take you a long way to improving how you cope with the change.
Change can be tough, but by tuning in to how you yourself react to change, you can find ways to navigate during these times, and essentially make the whole process easier on yourself.
Have you tried any of these tips before?
We hope that you find this helpful in dealing with the changes in your life, happening right now and that will come up in the future!