It’s human nature to crave routine and purpose, so what happens when your life does a 360 degree turn and you’re suddenly thrown into a whole new way of life? Here are 3 things to help you cope and adapt to change…
“Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent.” – Charlie Mackey
1. Grow your comfort zone
Change can bring a lot of uncertainty and lack of control, something most of us are experiencing right now. As someone who has experienced an eating disorder triggered by lack of control, I’ve had to work extremely hard to let go of it. The more I try to grasp onto life and steer the way, the more my mental health dwindles. The truth is we simply can’t control what may or may not happen in the future, as much as we try. Some people thrive on the unknown and my friend Alex is a perfect example. She quit her full time job in the city to travel the world with a small fund she saved. She now lives day by day with no real plan. While some may see this as positive lifestyle change, the lack of knowing where my next meal will come from is enough to make me crumble. I believe we’re capable of being more Alex if we grow our comfort zone. You don’t have to quit your job and travel the world to do this, you can start small. The more you try new ways of living, working and communicating, the more resilient you’ll be when you’re thrown completely out of your normal routine.
2. Focus on your interests rather than your fears
While the change we are experiencing may be a very valid reason to feel scared, most of the fearful outcomes that keep us up at night don’t come true. When I start to feel the anxiety bubbling in my stomach, I take a step back and remind myself of what is truly important to me.
One thing a big life change can teach us is that we take a lot of everyday things for granted. Use this time of uncertainty to really take stock of your life. Do you spend enough time on what’s important to you? Do you spend too much time on the things that don’t make you happy?
Focusing on what truly matters to you can help you dial down the anxiety and bring you back into the present moment.
3. Don’t stress about stressing
I believe that the stress of knowing you’re stressed, and trying to surpress it, does far more damage than the actual stress itself.
I like to look at stress as a signal from my body that I may be doing, or in my case thinking, too much. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, it’s best to listen to it and face it. Feeling uncomfortable for 10 minutes while you find the source of your stress can save you hours of trying to hide it. The sooner you lean into it, the sooner it will pass.
Remember, we grow and learn far more from difficult situations. Sometimes a big negative change can be a catalyst for small positive ones. It can bring out the best in communities, shine a light on the kindness of others and remind us of what is truly important.