One Step at a Time: Coping with Change
One Step at a Time: Coping with Change
When it comes to pursuing simple joy, coping with change is a great asset for the journey. You can count on change showing up in a variety of ways and inevitably rocking your boat. Perhaps it is the nervous excitement about making a transition or maybe a combination of elation and terror when you discover you are about to start a family. Change may also come about from something not so good, like having to deal with the long-term impact of a life-altering incident.Whatever the nature of the change you encounter, there are a few ways to prepare yourself for any emotional roller-coasters along the journey. With all of life's surprises (good, bad, and awesome!), the sooner you apply these tips, the easier it will be to ride future waves of change.
Who Can You Turn to for Help?
The first thing to think about is who can you turn to for help? Regardless of the changes we may face, we don't do very well on our own, despite how independent we claim to be.The term "lone wolf" may sound impressive and all, but one wolf by itself is nothing compared to being with its pack. Just as a wolf would expect its pack for support, you should be able to list a few people who could help you through a change you are struggling with.
Family & Friends
Your family and friends will always be the best first line of support. They know you best and often may have gone through a similar experience in their past.For example, who on earth better to talk to about giving birth for the first time and surviving that first year with a baby than your own mom. You might also have sisters and friends who can give you some honest advice about what to expect and come alongside to encourage you.
More weighty changes may require an additional layer of support beyond what family and friends can provide. What if you are trying to recover from a car accident? You might need to rely on professionals such as doctors, nurses, and counselors to restore you back to good health. Even a lawyer may be needed to help you fight for the compensation needed to rebuild your life.These and others dedicate themselves to helping others navigate life's unexpected and/or traumatic changes. Never hesitate to ask them for help when you need it. Have these kinds of folks in among your family and friends or among their family and friends makes it that much easier.
Finally, you should also turn to your faith to find help. Sometimes sitting quietly with your thoughts and praying through the change can provide you the opportunity you need to process and determine next steps. As a Christian, I find such comfort and peace in knowing that God is sovereign in everything that happens. He is always there for you. All you have to do is ask for guidance and have the faith to follow His lead.
How Can You Break Down a Big Change into Smaller Changes?
One of the main reasons that people don’t like change is that it is often very sudden and can feel big and overwhelming. Think about your first day at your job and walked into an office full of strangers, hoping to make a great first impression. Pretty scary, right? That is because there was a lot to take in and process all at once.Instead, take a deep breath and break down the things that seem huge and daunting into smaller and more manageable parts. You could break your first day down into a few easy things like getting dressed, driving to work, meeting one person and then another and then another…When you take a step back and really look at that first day of the new job, you aren’t really doing anything radically different from what you have done before. The only real change is the setting, and you already know that you will get used to that soon enough!Any big change can be broken up into smaller and more familiar things. Though the big picture might look scary, take a look at the constituent parts and realize that life is going on in much the same way as before.
Where Will You Find the Motivation to Keep Going?
Some changes in life can have such a huge impact that may leave you feeling like giving up. That sense of running into a wall is awful! But don’t panic. There is always a way to keep yourself motivated and get through.The support you get from family, friends, and professionals is great, but unless anyone from those circles has experienced what you have, it can feel lonely. Finding those individuals who can empathize with you, specifically those who have overcome what you are going through, is an excellent source of motivation.
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Finding motivation goes hand in hand with breaking big things down into smaller and more manageable parts.
By way of a seemingly extreme example, someone who suffers a serious injury caused by an accident simply can't deal with everything at once. Making a healthy recovery is the first priority.Instead of thinking about rebuilding your whole life, changing your job, redoing the house, learning how to live with a new disability, you need to focus on the small, manageable things first, then see how you progress.Knowing that there are 5 stages that most people go through after a serious injury can serve as a motivational tool to help you move on and beyond.If only you could montage your way through the life-changing bit like they do in the movies, right?Instead, you should keep track of your progress by some means. You could keep a diary to make notes of each new achievement so that you can take a look back at what things were like and compare them with how they turn out later.At the time it might feel silly or pointless, but giving yourself the chance to look back is like creating your own movie montage to appreciate later and see just how far you have come.Though the major life change you are going through may not be this severe, the suggestions can apply just as well.
You are stronger than you think you are.
At the end of the day, coping with change calls for being open to new things (even if those things are the result of bad things), allowing people around you to help, and having the perspective that any big change can be broken down into more manageable things.The best way to get from where you are to the other side of and beyond whatever change you encounter - first day at a new job, becoming a first-time parent, recovering from an life-altering injury - is to take it one step at a time.