Last month while writing the blog on taking care of your health no matter what 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 those changes were good and some of them I could have done without for sure. Anyway, I wanted to further the conversation to talk about how we respond to the changes that come our way because that is important as well.
Just as nature has its phases so do we.
I have 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. Then commiserating together about raising teenagers only to see them grow up and leave the house. To now, 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 change?
Change takes many forms and can be both good and bad. It can happen suddenly such as losing a job or gradual 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 it eventually catches up to them.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
However change enters your life, it means having to learn a new way to deal with something. Just plain ole 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.
AND NOW, as if this blog were a television program;
“We interrupt this broadcast(blog) to bring you this special report”:
Change has definitely occurred and big time due to the outbreak of COVID-19
Now, I know you didn’t need to be reminded of the obvious. However, over the course of writing this blog about change, big changes were taking place it seemed on a daily basis. And I just couldn’t carry on as normal without mentioning it somehow.
Little did I know when I started writing this blog and wrote, “Just as nature has it’s phases so do we” that nature was going to put us all in a phase we will never forget.
The changes taking place are so immense and even seem extreme in some instances.
As with you, I have never experienced the changes in life we all are facing now as this virus travels the world hitting us in our own backyard. It really puts things into perspective though doesn’t it? And yet, here we all are—kind of all in the same boat riding out the waves until they settle and life gets back to normal. For it will! I might not be sure of what that will look like for us but I know we will get through it!
“We return to the regularly scheduled blog that was already in progress.”
Getting back to how we respond to the many changes in life. 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. Let’s look as some healthy ways to do just that.
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 would be to take a step back, look at the situation objectively, and figure out the best way to handle the change. Tackling the changes head on in this way makes you feel more in control and at the same time less stressful than putting it off till later.
2. Carry out your regular daily schedule as much as possible.
When change has 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 the change 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, in particular during periods of stress. Change, even good change can bring about stress. Now, if you are a regular reader of my blogs you know I’ve talked about different ways to practice self-care. However, it seems the three biggies that are often the most neglected are, eating a healthy and nutritional diet (stress loves simple carbs), good quality sleep and regular exercise.
4. Make the most of the change
Hey! 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 to force us to make changes in ourselves that benefit us in the end.
“When you can’t change the direction of the wind–adjust your sails,” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
That 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.” Because 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 will 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 will join me! ~ Kris