As I sit down to write about ways to embrace change, I can’t help but laugh at how well I (didn’t) follow my advice last night, at least not initially. I had a really long day yesterday and after working over 12 hours, I finally got home and had a chance to have dinner and reflect on the results of the election. I wish I could say that I maturely identified and expressed my feelings, or went to yoga and meditated, but sadly I can’t. The way I managed change was to hide underneath a blanket and weep. Now, I’m not proud of that, but today is a new day. I’ve put on my big girl panties, and some really cute boots, and I’m ready to think about how I am going to embrace the change that we are potentially going to experience over the course of the next presidency, as well as several other positive changes coming down the line.
For today, I can only focus on what I can do, and not what I cannot control. Whether the change you are facing is nationwide, or you’re facing a break-up, a promotion, or a stylish new haircut, here a few strategies I recommend to cope with change and all the feelings it could stir up.
Take care of yourself! Change is stressful. Good change, bad change, neutral change. It doesn’t matter. Change induces stress, so you have to take deliberate steps to take care of yourself. For everyone that is a little different, but could include getting to the gym, going out to eat with friends, visiting a spa, or daily meditation.
Talk about it. There’s so much pressure to “just deal” with difficult situations. Well, it’s not that easy and sometimes we need friends, family, or a professional to listen to and validate our thoughts and our worries.
Find the positives. Challenge yourself to find at least one positive thing. Maybe this change will lead to another change which is positive, or you learned something, or you realized that change was truly needed.
Discover what you can control. In some situations, changes aren’t a choice, but a result of something that you have no control over. Lack of control is extremely unsettling and anxiety provoking. Take some time to identify what you are able to control and make positive choices for yourself. If you feel that there is truly nothing you can control in a given situation, take time to reflect about all of the things in your life you can control and celebrate those.
Acceptance. If a change is occurring and it is either positive or something you cannot prevent, allow yourself to accept that it is what it is. Challenging yourself with an attack of Whats Ifs, Shoulds, or Coulds, will do nothing but make you feel helpless and in less control of your life.
Take a mental break. Do something to stop thinking about the change and the thoughts or feelings it is bringing up. Go to the movies. Binge Netflix. Read a new novel. Go to a concert. Immerse yourself in an activity that you can really focus on and feel good about.
Believe in yourself. Because no matter how difficult this change is, you are strong enough to deal with (or embrace) it.