“Change is the only constant.” that’s what one of my high school teachers would say way too often during my high school years.
*cue to my teenage self*
Yes, I was rolling my eyes in class. As you could imagine, I didn’t like change, and I didn’t like hearing it was the only thing that would be guaranteed in my life.
I’m sure you can relate: Change can be scary. You might feel overwhelmed, anxious, and even stressed at the thought of things not being predictable or things deviating from what we’re used to. Fear of the unknown is a real thing.
Life transitions can be anything from starting a new job, moving to a new house, having a child, or starting a new relationship. Even though these may seem like positive changes, they can still be stressful and anxiety-producing. Other transitions, such as the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of good health, are generally unwanted and unexpected.
Over the years I’ve come to realize and accept that change is actually a normal part of life. Yet, we can still be resistant to change, and even feel vulnerable when we’re experiencing transitions in our life. But life transitions are not always bad; there may also be opportunities for growth through change. Yes, we can’t deny that there are sad and depressing transitions in our life.
I get it, an unexpected and distressing situation is a bad combination. There can be a sense of grief and loss associated with change. So I want to provide you with tips and ideas on what you could do when going through a life transition – planned or unplanned; seemingly good or bad.
Ways to Cope with Change and Life Transition
We all experience changes in life, and it’s okay to need time to adjust and cope with the changes. Here are things you can do to help you work through life changes more efficiently:
1. Prepare, if possible
If you know change is pending and in the near future, begin to plan. Give yourself ample time to start to prepare for the change that’s about to happen. Set small achievable steps to begin to prepare mentally and physically for the change that’s coming. Planning your way through your transition will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.
2. Establish realistic expectations
Perfection is a myth, make sure you are adjusting your expectations to align with reality. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by enforcing unrealistic expectations of what is to come.
3. Create a routine
We are creatures of habit. Whether we recognize it or not there are things we do habitually. Why not be intentional about it? Creating a new routine or habit will be helpful in starting to adjust to the change that is coming or that has already happened.
4. Examine the way you talk to yourself
I know we can be our own worst critic at times. So it’s important to note, the way you talk to yourself can actually make your situation better or even worse. Try positive self-talk to help you cope and adjust to the changes happening around you. Allow yourself that grace to adjust, we’re all a work in progress.
5. Set small objectives
Change tends to come with its own levels of stress so you don’t want to add to that by overwhelming yourself with too many tasks all at once. Don’t overwork yourself. Set small goals and work your way up. Larger objectives may lead to bigger disappointments; let’s save ourselves the additional headaches by taking things one step at a time.
6. Maintain communication
7. Exercise compassion towards yourself
TAKEAWAY: How do you cope with change and life transitions?
I’ve shared tips that have been helpful for me and my clients. But I can acknowledge that there might be several other ways to cope with change. I’d love to hear what coping mechanisms have worked for you when going through changes.