Woman with hat over face.

7 Better Ways To Deal with Change in Life

Reflection in an old window. Change in life.

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. 

Red chairs at a lake.

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.

 1. Journal your gratitudes

 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)

20 Days of Cozy Care Download. Ways to deal with change in life.

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?

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  1. Thanks Lynn for sharing a small portion of your new life in the country with lots of commotion some days.
    I like to praise God and thank him for another great day before I get out of bed in the morning .
    Having someone (Mike) to bounce my ideas and problems off of is essential for me. I value his wisdom and problem solving.
    Staying connected with family and friends are a large part of self care and keeping busy @ home ,in the church or community gives me a feeling of being needed and valued.
    Have a wonderful blessed day dear daughter -in-love. Pat

    1. Hi Michele! We can default to plowing through when our world seems to value to “keep on keeping on” even when we are tired, can’t we? But acknowledging the change and our feelings that come naturally from changes is what keeps us keep on keeping in the long run.

  2. Thanks for sharing Lynn. I agree with you, change is hard. Well written and so helpful. Thank you. Let’s have coffee or a walk the next you are in town. I miss you.

  3. Such good advice, Lynn! Good changes are welcomed, yet it is good to be authentic and share how they affect us. As my youngest daughter recently moved out of the house into her apartment, I found joy in switching the girl’s room into a guest room. I think the six months of her verbally and emotionally processing the big change helped me process my grief about her leaving home. I did spend time visualizing what the girl’s room could become and the excitement that God would send guests to us because we now had a place to host them brought excitement and anticipation. I do remember moving five years ago when we downsized, and moving is a HUGE endeavor. Definitely not for the faint of heart! May the Lord continue to give you grace as you adjust to your new home. And I encourage you to make time to visit your old church as you transition…perhaps for a fall festival or Christmas lighting…it helps with the transition when you grant yourself permission to keep up with your old friends as you are meeting new ones.

    1. Hi Lisa! That is very sound advice – to visit my old church from time to time, including during the special services. Yes, moving is a huge endeavour, and I think it will take a year to figure out where all my things are in this new home. 🙂 I hope your daughter has settled into her new place well, and that God sends you guests that bless you with their presence in your home!

  4. Change can bring happiness and/or stress. Over the years, my husband and I have moved to different locations due to job changes, family changes, etc. God always provides ways for us to become involved in our community. Rest is a must when moving. Taking time to enjoy nature helps us. 🙂 Praying and sharing time with God is most important.

    1. Oh yes, Melissa! Taking time in nature is absolutely a must to keep our hearts and minds in healthy and in gratitude. Now that you say that, I shall be taking a walk on the trails by new home right after I finish typing this message. Have a wonderful day!

  5. Thank you, Lynn for the excellent advice here on compassionately dealing with change-induced grief. Even in the midst of good, desired change we can feel grief as we are forced to shift to another place, job, or relationship. Being kind and understanding with our feelings as we draw near to God can help us make that move much easier.

    1. Hi Donna. I love your words here. “Being kind and understanding…” So often, (well I do for sure) we can be hard on ourselves more than any other. You’ve reminded me the importance of being kind to ourselves as God would want that for us as well!

  6. These are all wonderful suggestions, Lynn. When I married my husband, I moved 4 hours away from where I had grown up. Being very young, it took me quite some time to make the adjustment. These sure would have helped me at that time 🙂 May God bless you in all of the changes and assure you of His Presence as you adjust. Blessings!

  7. Lynn, I so appreciate your transparency here. Yes, even though some changes in life are GOOD, we still have to process the impact on our hearts, emotions, and thoughts. Thanks for sharing these wise suggestions!

  8. Lynn, thank you for reminding us that losses are real and need to be grieved before we can move ahead with anticipation. We want to hold the tears in and not go there, but oh the relief when we can finally be free to acknowledge the good-byes and the impact they have on us.

    Tears can be hard work, but their cleansing can do miracles in moving us ahead. Take it from a seasoned crier!

  9. I hope you’re continuing to give yourself all the grace you need during these times of change, Lynn. Whether change is easy or hard, good or bad, it’s still stressful and usually more of a mixed bag than a single thing. Our humanity resists the different, so we need to go easy on ourselves.

    1. Yes, Lisa, we do need to go easy on ourselves. That is a wonderful thought to approach all our days. Go easy as God’s yoke is easy and light. I’m intentionally practicing soul-care currently to learn how to go easy on myself, and always seeking rest in Him before anything else. Blessings to you!