I think change is a fascinating animal. I’m referring to it as an ‘animal’ because it really is a savage beast in the way it completely overtakes your life, encompasses your every waking moment and well, changes everything.
As some of you may know (if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, which is all that I’ve had time for lately, I’m sorry!) I recently underwent a big move. I called it “The big move” as for me it has been. I have lived in and around Toronto, Canada for my entire life. When my husband got a new job opportunity in Kingston we were thrilled and ready to part ways with Toronto, the crazy big city (the largest in the country). It has been all I have known for most of my life, but I was looking forward to escaping the hustle and bustle.
Now, I know some of you may think I’m crazy as you or someone you know may have picked up and moved much farther than 3 hours away, and to this I say good for you. You are an incredible human being and I commend you for committing yourself to such an undertaking. I appreciate and admire people like you (tell me your secrets)! Often in life change is thrust upon us without warning and we must learn to adapt. Other times, we choose change and take a leap of faith. We have little time to contemplate how we as human beings handle this adjustment, big or small. When you’re in the middle of it, you’re just trying to survive. But stop to think about it, are you good at handling change? Why are some people so much better at it than others? Why do some see the chance and opportunity in change and others avoid it like the plague?
So, as hubby and I packed boxes, hunted for a new home and ultimately moved, I paid attention. I’ve been “writing” this blog post for almost a month now, on slips of paper, on my phone, in my notebook, and on whatever I could find when the moment struck me, (ha)!
Yes we were incredibly busy moving in three weeks total (it can be done), but I took the time to reflect upon the process as I lived through it. I wanted to be acutely aware of my thoughts, feelings, anxieties, excitement, worries, stress, and apprehension as it happened to ultimately determine – how do you handle change successfully? Endure it, confront it, or benefit from it?
Initially, I went into this thinking “I’m great at change, this is so exciting, I’m pumped and can’t wait to tell everyone the key to grappling with change.” But as I’ve learned, dealing with change means feeling both triumphant and completely inferior to the overwhelming beast. A month’s worth of contemplation (I hope you appreciate the scientific research that is happening here) has lead me to determine 5 tactics to help you through periods of change so hopefully you too can feel like you’re conquering the beast.
Choose the Positive
I know, I know, it’s all about your perspective and that’s what everyone says. The reason everyone says it is because it’s true. It’s like those motivational signs at the home décor store that are super cute and say things like “Life is better with wine and chocolate”. Well that’s because it obviously is. The same goes for your point of view. You can wake up grumpy and miserable, and that’s necessary sometimes (more on that next). But challenge yourself (on those days it’s definitely a challenge) to shake it off, Taylor Swift style. Choose to see the good in your surroundings and situation. Be happy with where you are and find contentment in that. There are always positives, what are they? Say them out loud! I was nervous about moving to a smaller city, but here I have a view of the water, it’s historical and gorgeous, there’s no traffic and people are super nice. Pick the positive perspective, and smile!
Let Yourself Be Sad
Now for the opposite. It would be nice if our thoughts and feelings were less complex some days, but with the good comes the bad and that’s life: balance. There is nothing wrong with balance, everything in nature functions based on this principle, you are no different. Let it happen! Feel those feelings: cry, sulk, watch a sappy movie, have a Grey’s Anatomy marathon, write in your journal, and do whatever else you do when you’re sad. It’s ok, you’re going through change and it’s an emotional time. There’s nothing wrong with that, you need space. You’re not a robot so don’t pretend to be to yourself or to anyone else. Give yourself time and when you’re ready, dance it out. A good song and a pair of headphones can work wonders.
No, not the TV show, but you are still growing every day. Through change we must learn to adjust and you need to accommodate that learning. Unless you’re some kind of super genius, there is very little we can learn in an instant. All learning takes time, can be frustrating and difficult. When you’re transitioning and learning how to adapt to a new environment, job, home, or even hairstyle it can be really hard. We yearn for that feeling of normality and routine, and when it’s just not there we get angry, stressed and anxious. Try to relax and breathe! Go meditate (no really, there are some great free apps you can try). You are only human and although you possess the ability to adapt, it takes time like everything else. Patience my dear grasshopper, be patient with yourself on the good days, and especially on the bad.
You Are Awesome
When was the last time you told yourself that? Sure you may think it (I hope you do at least) but have you said it recently, out loud to yourself?
It sounds lame, and you may feel like a nerd but this stuff works. Now you’re probably never going to read my blog again because you’re thinking that I’m some sort of quack, but I’m begging you to stay with me here. I’m not a therapist or a psychologist, but I am a confident and assertive woman. People have asked me where this comes from, and I have to give a lot of the credit to my mother, who always raised me to push myself farther and believe in my abilities (thanks mom)! The rest lives within you, really it’s there. When you choose positive or negative thinking, you’ll get positive or negative results.
Do you complain a lot? I do too (I’ve always thought it’s therapeutic) but it can alter your mood and your perspective in a negative way if you overdo it. So, if you think about it your thoughts have the power to shape your world. Can you imagine what happens when you say those thoughts out loud? Even more power. When you’re feeling nervous, fearful or stressed about new surroundings or challenges you need to big-up yourself! Take the reins and tell yourself “I am friggin’ awesome and I can totally do this!” – hearing yourself say this is like confidence-magic. Do it right now. You’re here reading this, so you must be awesome.
Last but not least is of course love. You are loved by so many, and when you’re going through change it’s your turn to lean on these people. They love you and that’s what they’re there for! To support you through the good, the bad and the tough. I myself would die without my husband, who always lends a listening ear when I’m venting, ranting or raving!
You are not alone, ever. I think what we often forget is that we’re all human. We get so caught up in our day-to-day stuff, that we forget to connect with our fellow human beings who think and feel many of the same things. Put yourself out there, to your partner, mom, friend or even stranger. We all put this face on like we’re perfect but deep-down we understand another’s struggle. Start up a conversation in the elevator, talk about the weather.
It doesn’t have to be hard. Human interaction is powerful, significant and can so easily alter your mindset. Love will be returned to you, maybe with a simple smile and a hello, or maybe through a heart-to-heart. Regardless, don’t forget your fellow human. We are all one collective, many of us on a similar journey asking the same kinds of questions.
It’s interesting how during our lives we grow and change. What once felt comfortable and like a daily norm all of a sudden doesn’t fit. Change is grueling, exhausting and emotionally draining but it’s also necessary. You grow each and every day, and maybe you’ll come to a point where you crave something different. Don’t fear it! Even if you’re not sure what it is you need or are looking for what’s important is taking that jump, that leap into something new. You’re giving yourself a chance to transform and flourish into the best version of yourself. If you don’t take the chance, nothing will change, and neither will you.
Here’s to taming the beast and conquering it. Bring it on!