We’ve all been there, jogging along nicely thinking we’ve got it all sussed when WHAM out of nowhere comes a curve ball! Ouch, it hits you where it hurts and now you feel shaky and uncomfortable. I remember times when my phone has rung and I’ve received messages that have changed my world or have been in meetings and learnt of major re-organisation within the companies I have worked and realised that things were not in my control. Change is part of life. It’s how you handle it that makes the difference between disaster and learning event. Sure there will be some stress and maybe anxiety as you work your way through to the new normal. However, there are things you can do to make the transition easier and who knows along the way you might learn a thing or two about how you handle change and even about what you are capable of doing! So here are my top seven things you need to do when this happens to you.
1. Be kind to yourself.
So you weren’t expecting this turn of events, chances are you’re in shock, so be kind to yourself. Start by taking it one day or even one hour at a time. If you can take some time out to just start getting used to the idea. Go somewhere peaceful and just concentrate on the simple things like breathing.
2. Take time to check in with how you’re feeling.
Often when big or unexpected transitions are upon us, we feel numb. This is natures way of protecting us from stress or pain. But when you find yourself wondering, “What’s next?” in the midst of change, often the first question to ask yourself is, “How do I feel?”
Once you can pinpoint what you are feeling, in your body as well as in your emotions, you can better understand what comes next. Maybe there is a big decision to be made. Maybe, you will realise that you haven’t eaten in a while.
3. Nourish your body and soul.
And by this, I don’t just mean with food. If healthy food or comfort food is where you feel you need to go during this time, that’s OK. But there are other ways to nourish yourself too.
You need to look after yourself during this time. You need good healthy food but if you crave some comfort food or a treat to make you feel better then that’s OK too. You need to get out in the sunshine. You need exercise, whether it’s yoga, swimming, or a walk. You might be soothing music or even to play your favourite rock at full blast! It may be that you simply need to drink more water.
4. Understand that change happens.
You may be a creature of habit and like to have everything in your control but you need to recognise that change is a constant. As we and the world continue on our journey so things need to change, even things we do not want to change. Nothing stays the same. Recognising this helps us to come to terms with what is happening.
5. Accept that change can be challenging.
It pushes us out of comfort zone and can make us feel anxious and lost. However, it is important to recognise that you have been dealing with change both voluntary and involuntary all your life. You’ve coped before and you will be able to cope again. It may make you anxious but you will learn a lot about yourself. You may even end up realising that you are stronger than you knew!
6. Know it is ok to feel vulnerable.
Sometimes we feel that we have to put a brave face on it all the time. We bottle up our feelings and try to keep going. However, it can be useful and comforting to talk to others who have been through what we are going through. One of the ways that we process change is to talk about it. Also, consider sharing with friends and family you trust and who you know have your best interests at heart.
7. When you’re ready: Be Proactive.
Give yourself time to get used to what you now know. Then, as generally, we feel better when we have some control over what is happening, start to make steps towards gaining some control. You may not have chosen to face this challenge but you can start to work out what needs to happen for it to be work out ok for you. This may be as simple as making a list of things you need to know and who might be able to help you with them.
If you follow these seven steps you will soon start to feel better about the change. Look after yourself during this period and if you need more support then get in contact. You don’t have to do this alone.