Change is here to stay.
Change is something I have had to deal with a lot in my life over the last couple of years, moving countries, moving house several times, changing jobs, leaving people, reuniting with people, and one thing I reflected on recently is that change seems to become more stressful the older you get. For me as a young adult change often went hand in hand with adventure and was, therefore, something I welcomed with both arms, but now as I have a stronger pull to feel settled and in control it seems to keep disrupting the balance, and at times leaving me feeling out of control and overwhelmed.
I also understand wanting everything to stay the same is neither possible or at times healthy, as not only is change inevitable, it’s needed to bring new opportunities, pursue your goals, disrupt the norm and to keep life interesting.
Because change is inevitable, and at times vital, but becomes more stressful as you get older, it’s useful to think about what we can do to support ourselves through periods of change.
Below are 5 tips for dealing with change:
1) What’s the worst that can happen?
Change can represent the unknown, which for many can be quite scary. A way to counter balance the fear of the unknown is to spend some time thinking through the different scenarios that could arise from the change, what could be the outcomes, what would be the best and worst case scenarios? Think back to past changes that had felt scary or uncomfortable, how did they turn out? Sometimes things are nowhere as bad they seem at first, often we adapted and can thrive through a change.
2) Focus on what you can control
When you are going through a big change in your life it can be useful to reflect on how much control you can actually have and what is quite simply out of your control. There may be small things you can do to make a change easier, such as a to-do lists, keeping open communication with the others involved and general organisational tasks. If an unwanted change can be stopped or reduced then problem-solving and goal setting may help you address the challenge at hand.
3) Letting go of what you cannot not control
Change can be most stressful when it’s unwanted or feels beyond our control. Working to accept the fact that allot of things in our lives are beyond our control, working to be comfortable with that, will bring perspective when we are trying to fight an unwinnable battle and allow us to shift our focus to our wellbeing and the controllable aspects of our life.
4) Consider the positives that changes may bring into your life
Initially it may be hard to see them but taking some time to focus on the positives that can come from a change will help you manage the process. However small they may feel initially, it will help you make the best of the situation. This could be an opportunity to grow, learn and experience new things.
5) Look after yourself
Change, whether it’s unwanted or sought can be very stressful so it’s important you work on your ability to handle this. Try developing your own relaxation routine i.e. mindfulness, listening to music, taking a walk etc., and wherever possible reach out for support from those around you. Consider asking friends or family for help or emotional support or you can look at some options for getting professional help if you find you are struggling to cope.
When we embrace life and the endless possibilities of change, we can cope with unplanned situations that can and do arise so much better. How have you handled changes in your life? We would love to hear from you!