We love our habits, comfort zones and what we know. Life is full of change and most of us aren’t great at coping with it. Living a fulfilled life requires understanding how to manage these transitions in order to subsequently thrive.
Change could be a new school, a new job, moving house, moving countries, getting older, going from summer to autumn, an illness diagnosis, stopping working, a new family member, losing a family member or so many other things. Processing change is hard - I’m there with you!
Have you ever seen the Looney Tunes cartoon when their legs are really far in front and the rest of the body is trying to catch up behind? I often think of change like this but the part that is far behind are our hearts. We can easily go into project management mode, our legs shoot off and have a mind-set of ‘must get this change sorted’. Change can often take up a lot of our time and energy and therefore we don’t have much left to check in with our emotions. It may not need a full on heart evaluation but when we experience a big change or lots of change at once will certainly have an emotional response.
There are a few things I have learned whilst going through change.
1. IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
Whether the change you are experiencing is good or a bad, it can be really hard to say that you’re struggling. Society tells us we are not allowed to have emotions or show that we are not 100% all the time. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Feelings make us human, they allow us to relate and to care for one another.
You absolutely don’t need to proclaim it to everyone but having some real talk with yourself, a close friend or your coach is a good way to start being honest. Talking about it will allow you to process the change.
2. IT’S OKAY TO MISS THE ‘OLD’
I’m conscious that change is such a broad topic and every change process is different. If we are moving from an ‘old’ space in which we found our comfort zone, it’s okay to say you miss it.
Change is uncomfortable and moving out of our comfort zones stretches us. Try not to dwell on missing the old. The chances are that your season is one of growth, character building and where you’ll learn a lot. During this journey it is ok to sometimes put your hands up and acknowledge it was nice being in the ‘known’ space. Remember your ‘old’ space was also once new and that became, in time, a comfort space that you knew.
3. IT’S OKAY TO BE A *LITTLE* DAUNTED
Change, whether you knew about it coming or not, can be really scary. That comfort zone was our mental base and home. Going into something unknown will be daunting and this is okay to acknowledge.
There are three aspects that come to mind to help with this:
Take each day as it comes
Until you’re ready, try not to think too far ahead it may trip you up and stir up unnecessary fear of the unknown. When you are ready some simple actions and goals may help with some next steps.
Be nice to yourself
You’re processing a lot, your brain is working overtime and you’re likely to be really tired. Go easy on yourself, be kind – you’re not going to have everything sorted at the beginning and that’s okay.
Try and keep something consistent
Think about something you did in your ‘old’ space. It could be a form of exercise, journaling, painting or simply reading. Identify the thing that will allow your brain to switch off and your body to be reinvigorated.
Change is something we all go through. It can happen all at once or over a longer period of time. It takes time to get into a routine again. But, a natural rhythm will come, so hold on, it’s a journey.