Change marches toward us in a number of different forms. It can come from a gradual shifting of priorities that leads us to choose a new path. It can come as a shocking event, like the illness of a loved one. Or it can come from an opportunity, such as meeting that special someone.
Whether you are approaching graduation or your kids are approaching a full day at kindergarten (leaving you with more time on your hands), change is surely on its way. It always is.
I love this passage from Susanna Tamaro’s book, Follow Your Heart, that describes the often unexpected and sudden nature of change.
“Do you know what’s one mistake we always make? Believing that life’s immutable, that once you get on a particular track you have to follow it to the end of the line. But it appears that fate has more imagination than we do. Just when you think you’re in a situation you can’t escape from, when you’ve reached the lowest depths of total desperation, everything changes as fast as a gust of wind, everything’s overturned, from one second to the next you find you’re living a new life.”
Whether a change lifts you up or knocks you down here are three techniques you can use to help you weather the changes in your life.
1) Name what has changed.
One big change for a lot of people is graduating from college and entering the workforce. Notice how many areas of life are affected by this change. Your environment shifts from one that is comprised mainly of peers to one where you are likely one of the youngest people at your office. Your attire changes from pajama pants to business casual. You go from spending an hour here and there on a variety of subjects to working on one topic for eight hours straight. The amount of time you have available to spend with friends and pursuing leisure activities diminishes. Noticing and naming what has changed can help give you a better understanding of exactly what is going on.
2) Give yourself time to adjust.
Change is psychologically and physically tiring, and there’s an adjustment period that goes with any change. This can involve minor inconveniences such as the time it takes to find where you put your stamps and envelopes in your new apartment. It can also involve a much bigger process of letting go of one identity and adopting a new one, such as moving from only being responsible for yourself to becoming a parent. While you are adjusting to a change comforting activities, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise are helpful to your well-being.
3) Embrace the gifts of change.
Every change in our life offers us a chance to start again. Change can teach us lessons and provide us with new perspectives that we never would have otherwise found. Remember that even though change can feel uncomfortable, the unfamiliarity of a new situation will pass with time. You’ll get better at handling your new environment with each passing day. Until it changes again.