Dealing with change can be hard. Whether you're switching careers, starting a new family, moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, these major life events can throw your world into a tailspin and it can feel very disorienting. However, it doesn't have to be that way.
We all handle change differently. Some of us may relish it while others barricade themselves against it at all costs. The only common denominator is that change is a constant part of life. Because of this, it's important to have a toolbox of positive coping mechanisms for dealing with change.
The next time you're faced with a big life change, keep these six tips in mind:
Know That It's OK to Be Upset
Change, especially life-altering events, can cause a lot of emotions. It's natural to grieve, be sad, or feel upset. However, your instinct may be to hide these feelings, put up a strong facade, or find someone or something else to blame. Often, dealing with change in a healthy way means acknowledging how you feel, rather than ignoring your emotions. When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few moments to write down your feelings, or talk to a friend or family member about what's going on.
2. Expect Things to Be Messy
When there's a major upheaval, it's inevitable that the situation will be messy at first. After all, change—whether you're moving or starting a new career—is bound to disrupt your day-to-day routine. Be patient, and know that a new, less chaotic normal will begin to emerge as the dust settles.
Lean on Others
If things feel overwhelming, seek out your support system. Family, friends, or coworkers can be a great sounding board, or they may be able to lend you an extra helping hand. You can also talk to people who have been through a similar situation. They may understand some of the challenges you're up against, and can likely offer valuable insight. You may also feel less alone when you connect with others who have been through a similar experience.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself when you're going through a major change. However, tending to your basic needs is crucial during tough times. Don't skimp on sleep or eating foods that are good for you. Try to move your body every day and find an outlet to relieve stress, such as exercise, yoga, knitting, or meditating. These healthy habits can give you the foundation you need to deal with change.
Find a Routine
While new beginnings offer the promise of a clean slate and a fresh start, you may feel disoriented without an established routine. Start by establishing (or re-establishing) your morning routine. These early hours can help set the tone (and your mindset) for the rest of the day. This is also the time of day that's most likely to remain under your control. Try to take a few moments to enjoy a cup of coffee, meditate, or head out for a run before you start your day.
Step Back, Reflect, and Reframe
When things are in flux, it's tempting to assume a gloom-and-doom perspective. Instead of diving headfirst into a downward spiral, take a step back and reframe the situation. Take it one day at a time rather than thinking about the future, which can feel overwhelming. Instead of obsessing over things that are out of your control, identify what's within your control and determine what you can do to adapt. Taking time to reflect on the situation can give you insight into how you can make your current situation work instead of fighting through it.
The bottom line is that change is hard, but new beginnings also offer the promise of opportunities on the horizon. While everyone will approach major life changes differently, these positive coping mechanisms can help you stay grounded when faced with a major life-changing event.