If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with the idea of change. Many people do. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone in my personal life who really welcomes change. I do however, have more than a few acquaintances who despise change so much they can make themselves sick over it.
And for good reason. Change is a really difficult part of life. But it’s inevitable, so it’s necessary that we figure out how to deal with this thing that leaves so many of us crippled with fear.
I’m not an expert on the matter by any means, in fact, I hate change so much that writing this blog is hard enough, because it means that instead of reading on the train this morning, I’m typing. That’s enough variation from my norm to mess me up for the day. I know, pathetic. So why write it? I’ve found a few things to be helpful for me to keep in mind when I’m struggling with change, and I’m hoping they’ll help you too. Maybe they won’t, but they definitely won’t make it worse, I promise.
1 – Nothing is permanent. These three words have saved me from going off the deep end more times than you can imagine. Maybe you just bought a house and the responsibilities are more than you can handle. Or you recently started a new job and you’re having second thoughts. Perhaps you just moved to a new city and you feel like you made a big mistake. Don’t worry, those were hypothetical examples, my pulse started racing too-it’s all good. Here’s where you can employ this idea that “nothing is permanent”. It is SO EASY to get overwhelmed, especially in adult life. We’re CONSTANTLY being forced to make decisions, and they all feel so massive. Truth be told, they’re not. You can always sell the house, change your job, or move back. There’s always an out, and sometimes (often) we (I) forget this. Nothing is permanent.
2 – Small expectations. If you tell yourself that you want to make it through the week, you will. Hell, try to just get through the day. That ‘take it one day at a time’ saying? Repeat it. Every day. I know it’s overused and no one really wants to hear it, but it’s exactly what you need to be doing, so cut the crap and start saying it. Sorry for the tough love, but sometimes it works. Or maybe that’s just for me. In that case, try really hard to take it one day at a time. You will survive.
3 – Focus on the opportunities for learning. No matter what, whether this ends up being a good, bad, lasting or temporary change, you can find the lesson in it. Maybe moving to a new city helped you uncover a braver side of yourself than you knew existed. Buying that house? You’ll never be a first time homeowner again; the next house you buy you’ll have a much better grasp on everything. Perhaps starting a new job helped you to discover what you definitely DON’T want to do as a career. And that’s awesome! You’re now one step closer to knowing what you DO want!
4 – Give yourself a break. From it all. The obsessing, the worrying. Do something totally different. Devote some time to your favorite hobby. Read a fashion magazine cover to cover, bake a carrot cake or something equally time consuming (if you like to bake, otherwise skip this, carrot cake is a real bitch, SO MUCH GRATING), knit, workout, craft, etc. Whatever you can do that will take your mind off of whatever is paralyzing it, that’s what you must do.
5 – Get active. And I don’t just mean physically, though a good workout never hurts! What I mean is, don’t let how you’re feeling paralyze you. It’s so easy, when something big shifts in your life, to feel like it’s all an uphill battle and you don’t know where to start. So just START. Anywhere. Just do something. You know when you’re dreading working out, and setting foot in a gym feels like the absolute last thing on Earth you want to do? I know you know what I’m talking about, I’ve felt it and I love working out more than I love most things. When you drag yourself to the gym anyway, how do you feel after? Like you can do anything right? I don’t know many people who end a workout and regret it, or feel unmotivated to continue on with their day. Usually you finish feeling ready to take on anything, because those endorphins are going and giving you that feeling of being on top of the world. The same thing applies to dealing with change. Tackle just one of the things on your home improvement list. Ask a new colleague to have lunch with you and find out all you can about the job. Find a meet up event in your new city. Pick something and commit to it!
Look, you can try all of these, one, or none of them. There’s no magic fix for dealing with change. Just helpful things to keep in mind that work for some people and might very well help you too. But I pose this to you. If you’re even the slightest bit afraid of change and you’re reading this, why don’t you give one a shot? It’s not permanent. You can always return to your old ways.