September is a time of changing seasons and changing cycles. Back to work, back to school after long summer days and holidays. It's also a good time for reflection as we move into this new season.
Change for me right now is a big life change – the arrival of a baby! But it doesn’t have to be a big change that unsettles and disrupts your norm. Small changes can be just as unsettling when they disrupt our daily routine.
Think back to a time when you changed a travel route, changed offices or changed to a new role. How did you feel?
How do you manage change? When situations and circumstances shift around you, what coping strategies do you use to feel stable and stay afloat?
Here are some techniques and strategies to keep in mind that can help you through times of change – big and small.
What do you need to do to feel ready to cope with the change? How can you prepare?
1. Stay Positive – approaching a situation with positivity allows an open mind to the opportunity rather than assuming the worst. It may not be a situation you chose or one that feels right, but there is a silver lining on every cloud. How can you best leverage the situation to suit your needs and what experience and skills can you employ? Who knows – you may gain new strengths and skills through this experience!
2. Look to the future - don’t dwell on what was. What new skills can you learn through this change? What great things can come about from this new situation? Often when we are in a situation we can’t imagine how thigs will get better. Can you take a moment to close your eyes and imagine yourself one year from now? How are things for you? What does life look like? You may be surprised at how positive things are – you just need to work through it!
3. Communicate your needs – it’s ok to admit it’s a difficult time. Even good change can be challenging and whether it’s a new job or role, a new city or a new baby! – by opening up and telling people around you that you need support / guidance/ training or advice to get you through the initial phase.
What can support you in keeping some things constant in times of change? Think rituals, people, techniques, habits…
4. Support network – who are the people around you that can support you during unsettling times – who are your cheerleaders and who can give you the familiarity you need when everything else feels new?
5. New connections – These can be as valuable – if not more so- than your familiar friends. Who are going through similar changes right now and can you share experiences/ stories and strengths? (think about when you first started school or university or with an take group at a new job) These people may understand you and your new situation even better than the people around you because they are / have experienced it too.
6. Good habits - exercise/ sleep/ food – this is an obvious one and yet we drop out good habits as soon as we get busy or stressed. These are not just good for our minds and bodies but offer us an anchor - a stable routine that can be the main factor in maintaining calm during a stressful, changing time.
If you’re going into a busy period at work, event season or moving house/ job, holding onto your regular exercise routine or healthy eating habits will help you manage your stress and stay grounded.
7. Self reflect – this is a good time to remind yourself that you’ve faced change before – what skills helped you during that time to succeed and what strengths did you gain from it?
What do you need to accept during this time of change?
8. Change is constant – wouldn’t life be boring if it stayed the same? Many of us can be fearful of change as we like things the way they are. And yet, we often crave excitement and adventure – this is change!
By accepting that life is ever changing we can get better at going with the “flow” of life’s current rather than trying to swim upstream.
9. Even good change can be stressful – having a baby / moving house / starting a new job / getting a promotion! If it’s new it can be unsettling however positive it is. Even though the end result will have a positive impact, going through the change (and facing an unknown) can be scary and stressful.
This takes us back to what can you keep constant in changing time - it might be that despite moving to a different job, you keep the route to work the same or if you are having a baby you keep going to your favourite exercise class to keep familiarity.
10. You are here now.
The best advice I have had during this time of change in my life isn’t related to what gadget or trendy buggy to buy or what to do before the baby comes – it’s “Everything you will go through is a phase – trust that it will pass.”
It’s been invaluable because it’s true – no matter what I have experienced – be it morning sickness, worries, tiredness, overwhelm, excitement, insane energy, more anxiety and so much else in between – it has passed and made room for something else.
In time of change, you may feel a little out of control. You may feel like you are not living up to your expectations for yourself or keeping up with what you thought you could achieve
Be present to the experience. Be kind to yourself as you work through this change. Be open to what is to come.