Coping with Changes

Wifeys & Gentlemen,

I do not do well with change.

I am girl who likes her routine and while it isn’t impossible for me to deviate, it is really tough to try to convince me that I should. Of course, while this can be great is some aspects, it’s pretty sucky in others. Sure, I’m organized and have a great system for making sure everything my family and I need is handled.

BUT, I often get frustrated or rattled when something throws off my sense of control.

The world as we know it feels like it’s changing. On top of that, we also have our regular day to day life to contend with! We still have to face our own changes and transitions. As such, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how someone like me can better cope with everything around me feeling so…different.

At the end of the day, being stressed about change is about fear. For me, it feels like utter chaos and catastrophe when I have NO control over what’s happening to me and around me.

So, first, I decided to let go of my guilt and indulge myself.

If you’re anything like me, guilt comes even when your transitional periods are happy or positive.

I felt guilty when I moved to California (3000 miles away from my family and friends), guilty for how much I spent on my wedding (for having a wedding at all), guilty for moving out of my apartment, and guilty for accepting a new job/higher pay! I have a tendency to feel guilty about the life I am leaving behind, no matter the reason. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to start working on letting the guilt go. Acknowledge what it is and why you’re feeling it, but then find acceptance of what is new and good so you can start the process of moving on and enjoying it.

Indulgences help…

Whether it’s eating a few extra Oreos and taking a hot bath on a Wednesday afternoon (I get creative with my work from home lunch breaks), taking time to give myself a treat has kept me functional.

Without even realizing it, it provides a way to get out of my routine and do something that makes me feel good. It’s a reminder that things that make me feel good should NOT come with guilt or worry. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to find balance and calm when I am overwhelmed.

Next, I focused on things that I could control.

Sometimes change makes me feel like shutting down. I might over indulge in vices or adopt habits that don’t focus on my health and wellness. In the current quarantine, for example, I find that having a schedule has been really helpful for me. Not only does it give me a sense of control and accomplishment, but it affords me opportunities to break my schedule and try different things.

Think about your situation and what is changing around you. Are there any aspects you can control? If you’re moving to a new place or beginning a new job, what are some things you can do to make this experience positive. Expecting a new baby or adopting a pet? Great! Make a list of things you know you can do to make sure you feel prepared.

It might not seem like it, but this is especially helpful for unpredictable events (like new babies or the loss of a loved one). Isolate the little things you can control; get organized around this transition any way you can.

Organization can be a great way to feel like you have a handle on change. Make lists, make schedules, and weigh out pros and cons, this helps you take ownership.

More than staying organized, practicing mindfulness has helped me stay grounded.

Acceptance is so much easier when we are able to be present and appreciate the here and now. During times of transition, there is usually a lot of new information to process and it can sometimes feel like an overload.

Find ways to soak it all in. Forge new connections with others, reflect on your feelings (without judgement), and remind yourself that whatever is happening now is ok (even if you don’t feel okay).

Remember that change is about growth and learning. You absorb so much more when you are able to be mindful and present.

For many of us, this is NOT an easy concept to adopt. I work hard at it each day and practice with an application on my iPhone (don’t judge me, it works). The more I do it, the more I realize the benefits and it motivates me to keep going.

One of the hardest things I have learned is when to speak up, share my feelings, and ask for help.

Transitions are so hard because they make us feel alone. Even when we are going through changes with loved ones or friends, it can still feel incredibly isolating.

For a long time, it was very hard for me to talk about my fears and anxieties with anyone. I was ashamed and embarrassed, always feeling like I was the only one having difficulty while everyone else was just sailing by with ease.

Sometimes, I’m right. Sometimes, I am the only one having a hard time.

Still, the people I love and choose to reach out to offer me amazing (judgement free) comfort and stability. They allow me to speak my mind and share my feelings without shame.

Sometimes, to my great surprise, I find that I was wrong. The people I am reaching out to for help are just as scared, lonely, and confused as I am. We comfort and protect each other and find strength in knowing that we aren’t alone in our feelings.

I highly recommend giving it a try. It has made a world of difference for me.

Of course, I acknowledge that we are all different creatures and some problems or transitions can feel too tough to conquer with simple tips and tricks. If all else fails, I would try to organize my thoughts by reflecting on these two fundamental questions:

  1. What am I leaving behind?
  2. What am I taking with me?

It might not seem very obvious at first, but I can promise that nearly EVERY transition can be broken down into these two questions. As I mentioned, change is about growth and forward movement (even if feels like a backslide at the time). Change is leaving behind a part of yourself or your life in exchange for something new and different.

Breaking up with a significant other?

What are you leaving behind? What are you taking with you?

Starting a new relationship?

What are you leaving behind? What are you taking with you?

Getting fired from a job?

What are you leaving behind? What are you taking with you?

Losing a friend or relative?

What are you leaving behind? What are you taking with you?

Getting diagnosed with a disease or disorder?

What are you leaving behind? What are you taking with you?

Start there and then take baby steps to cope.

Whatever your situation right now, we are in this together and there is a community out there for you. If you have some thoughts on additional ways to cope with changes and transitions, please feel free to leave them in the comments! Help out your fellow wifeys & gents and stay connected, especially when the world outside feels so disjointed right now.

I love you all and am working hard on some fun, light-hearted material to bring us all some joy for next week! Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and keep coping as best you can!

& as always…

Carry on wifeys & gents!

Love,

Don’t forget to subscribe and share thing blog with a friend in need! 😉

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Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

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