By: Laura Groulx, MSW, RSW
Change can be hard. Like really hard. There are some people that thrive in a changing environment, however, many (like me!), prefer structure, routine, and predictability. Unfortunately for us structure-lovers, life isn’t always so predictable.
We graduate, move, fall in love, break-up, change careers, change jobs, all the while different people are coming and going from our lives. Stuff happens. Life happens. So, for those not keen on the thought, how do we cope with the potentially anxiety-provoking uncertainty that tends to come with significant change? Here are a few ideas to help us during the adjustment period:
FOCUS ONLY ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL: With change comes the unknown. We can’t control the unknown, despite trying our damndest at times. This is energy-sucking. Allow yourself to let go of the expectation to know and understand everything at once (e.g. it’s okay to not have every policy and procedure of the new workplace manual memorized on the first day - you will learn more as you go). Instead, focus on the things that you do have control over, like painting one room at a time in your new home.
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOUR MIND AND BODY ARE TELLING YOU: Change can be stressful, especially at first. Stress can be tiring on both our mind and body. If you find that you need more time to sleep or rest, that’s okay. If you find yourself declining social invitations during that transition period because you feel mentally overloaded, that’s okay too.
CHECK-IN ON YOUR SELF-TALK: It’s essential that we step outside of our comfort zones from time to time, in order to promote personal growth. Remind yourself of this. Lose any self-defeating self-talk (e.g. I can’t do this, I can’t cope) because if you’re in the midst of a transition, you’re already doing it! If you are considering taking a leap, and are questioning your capacity for change, think of all the times you’ve been successful in the face of change before. If you’ve tackled change in the past, you can do it again. And what if you fail? Then you’ve learned, and don’t have to wonder what could have been.
Make a Note-to-Self: one specific “failure” doesn’t define a person as a failure - it means they were brave and they tried.
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