Life changes will occur, no matter what. But they’re not always easy to accept.
Last month, while writing about how to care of your health no matter the season of life you were in, the word “change” kept popping up in my thoughts.
Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I realize how many changes have taken place in my life. Some of them were good and some I could have done without for sure.
How do we respond to the changes that come our way?
Just as nature has its phases, so do we.
I’ve been blessed in life to have friendships that go way back — and I mean, way back!
Do you know what I find fascinating and sometimes downright comical? To note how our conversations have changed to reflect the changes that have taken place in our lives.
We’ve gone from the spring of our youth — giggling about cute boys, dealing with acne, and trying to hoodwink our parents — through the summer excitement of meeting “the one,” getting married, and having children.
We commiserate together about raising teenagers, only to see them grow up and leave the house. Now, we’re talking about the autumn joys of grandchildren, taking care of our aging parents, comparing our aches and pains, and wondering where our figures of yesteryear went.
How do you handle life changes?
Change takes many forms that can be both good and bad. It can happen suddenly (such as losing a job), or gradually (such as the natural stages of aging and all that comes with it).
With most people being creatures of habit, many feel safe sticking to the routines they know. Admittedly, their lives might be a little boring, but they find comfort in knowing what to expect in life.
Therefore, when change does come, many often find it hard to adapt and accept it. But change is inevitable. In fact, it’s the one constant in life.
Nevertheless, many people don’t ever get used to it or fully welcome it with open arms. They might spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid change.
But in the long run, change eventually catches up to you.
Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
However change enters your life, it means having to learn a new way to deal with something. Just plain ol’ everyday life and moving from one stage to another can find you facing both ups and downs.
When the demands are too great, it can drain you and create stress.
Therefore, the key to your survival on both the physical and emotional level is finding positive ways to deal with the stress before it gets out of control.
Right now, change has definitely occurred — and big-time — due to a virus outbreak and social protest movements.
Now, I know you don’t need to be reminded of the obvious. However, over the course of writing about change, big changes are taking place on a daily basis. And I just couldn’t carry on as normal without mentioning it somehow.
Little did I know, when I wrote, “Just as nature has its phases, so do we,” nature was going to put us all in a phase we will never forget.
The changes taking place are so immense that they even seem extreme in some instances.
I’ve never experienced the changes in life we’re all facing now. The virus and the voices traveling the world are hitting us in our own backyard.
It really puts things into perspective though, doesn’t it?
And yet here we all are, riding out the waves in the same boat until they settle and life gets back to normal… Or a different “normal,” because it will!
I might not be sure of what that will look like for us, but I know we’ll get through it. You might not be able to control the change itself. But getting control of your response will be key to actually coping with the change.
Here are 4 healthy ways to cope with both good and bad changes.
1. Admit that things are changing.
Sometimes it can be so easy to resort to denying anything is happening. I get it! Denial is a way of protection. However, it won’t make the changes go away.
A better approach is to take a step back, look at the situation objectively, and figure out the best way to handle the changes for yourself. Tackling the changes head-on makes you feel more in-control and less-stressed than putting it off until later.
2. Carry out your regular daily schedule as much as possible.
When changes make your world all topsy-turvy, it’s really important to stick to your regular schedule as much as you can.
Continuing to carry out activities that were normal before changes can help you feel that some things in your life are still the same.
3. Don’t forget to practice self-care.
Self-care means taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness — especially during periods of stress.
Change — even good change — can bring about stress.
And the three biggest self-care habits that are often the most neglected include eating a healthy and nutritional diet (stress loves simple carbs), good quality sleep, and regular exercise.
4. Make the most of the change.
Not all change is bad, right? Even when you have to go through something you might perceive as “bad,” if you look hard enough, I’ll bet you can find some positives about it.
In fact, changes out of our control can often be the catalyst that moves us out of our comfort zones, forcing us to make changes in ourselves that benefit us in the end.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said,”When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.”
This is good advice for all of us, not only now as we ride the stormy waves in these unprecedented times, but also when things get back to “normal.”
Change will always be with us bringing new opportunities to our doorstep to embrace new experiences. If you do struggle with changes, I hope you’ll find the four steps above to be helpful in coping with them as they come your way.
As for me, I’m hanging on for dear life as I adjust my sails, so I can ride out the waves to calmer waters. I hope you’ll join me!