What does it mean to you to deal with change in life? Is it about dealing with a change in location, job, or doctor? Or a change in vacation plans? Or dealing with a new pet in the household?
For sure some changes are seen as good. You know the change in life is starting you on a new adventure, or moving you toward that thing you’ve been striving for — a new place to live, to retirement, or to pursue a hobby, for example.
Yet, dealing with a life change that is good can also evoke feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
On a recent Sunday while at church, I stood with my arms crossed and my eyes rolled up to the ceiling as the worship band sang praise songs.
I did not want to be there.
When I usually look forward to church, why didn’t I want to be there this Sunday morning?
Maybe it was exhaustion from days of preparing to sell my home of 20 years ? Maybe it was the “to do” list that still had more unchecked items than checked?
But it was the tears that dripped slowly down my cheeks that told the truth.
We were attending the church I’d called home for over 10 years. I’d miss this church, the place where I was baptized; where I spent many evenings in the bright atrium studying the bible at round tables; where I held hands with others praying for their trials and losses.
Being married and moving to a beautiful home in the country are my dreams coming true. And I like my new home church where my husband and I attend together. This is a good change in my life.
So, why did I feel this grief?
Dealing with a change in your life, whether positive or negative, can create stress, anxiety, and sadness. You can find yourself struggling even when a dream comes true. Your fears of the unknown, the disruption in your routine, and letting go of your familiar places can be unsettling.
3 ways to deal with change in life
No matter the change in life you are dealing with, it’s important to be authentic with your feelings and give yourself the care you need for mental and physical well-being.
1. Pace yourself through the change in life
To pace yourself through the change helps smooth the transition. As you deal with the details, managing your time optimizes your physical and mental energy.
Have quick, easy healthy snacks stocked in your pantry and fridge, so you do not have to stress over what to eat, or eat unhealthy foods that drain your energy.
Schedule your days around your natural rhythms. Are mornings best for meetings, or afternoons after you’ve had your quiet time?
And make sure to take breaks and not skip the activities that bring you joy! Doing what brings us joy keeps us mentally healthy to help handle the stress that happens whenever we deal with the changes in our lives.
2. Talk to loved ones
Just after my engagement, I opened up to my friends about my excitement, but also my realizations over what changes (and losses) were to come.
Moving to a new community, I was leaving my church, my job, and my ten minute drive to see my grandchildren; all disruptions in my familiar (and joyful) patterns. Talking to loved ones helped me deal with the change authentically by acknowledging my feelings.
3. Picture yourself in the new life changes
Visualization creates a strong mental image so you can be prepared for the change by seeing yourself in the new situation.
For example, picturing yourself in your new home, or on your first day of retirement, or as an empty-nester helps you to see the good things you are looking forward to with the change.
4 Stress release strategies when dealing with change in life
When we take care of ourselves, we can deal with a change in life with gratitude and grace. Being authentic by acknowledging our feelings, and then taking intentional action to decrease our stress leads us to a better way to transition through our changes. Below are four stress release strategies to deal with change in life.
2. Give yourself grace (Be authentic with your feelings)
3. Notice when you need a break (Give yourself permission to do a familiar activity that brings you joy)
4. Carry a self-care reminder (Download a List of Cozy Care activities)
Returning to packing up my soon-to-be-sold home that Sunday, I thought of all the wonderful experiences and friends I met through church, grateful for the time I had there. Do I still feel a loss? Yes!
However, I give myself grace knowing that grief is part of the process when we deal with a change in life – even the good changes.
What are ways that help you deal with change in life including the good changes? What else would you add to the Cozy Care Activities?