Coping with Change
Change is stressful. Whether it be good, bad, or neutral, changes in life can prompt feelings of anxiety and even depression. Though in some ways we may wish to avoid it, it is simply part of life and can represent opportunity for growth. As we all continue to learn to deal with the recent life-style changes required by the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to discuss some ways in which we can each better cope with the stress of it all. Hopefully something on this list will speak to your present needs.
Don’t Deny It
It can be very easily to simply want to ignore approaching changes, but it doesn’t make it any easier when the change does come. You may also have a tendency to want to minimize the magnitude of the change. Just embrace the fact that things are changing and to some extent the stress involved will be easier to cope with.
Once you’ve accepted that the change is occurring, learn more about it. By becoming more aware of the changing situation, you’ll feel more secure. For example, if you’re moving to a new place do research on the area you’re moving to. Study maps, learn about the local culture, look into local celebrations and events. The more you know about the new situation, the easier it will be to merge into a new lifestyle.
Focus on What Remains the Same
Most likely, regardless of what changes are occurring in your life, something will remain normal. If your schedule is being changed, find something that will provide a sense of normalcy, such as walking your dog at a certain time, reading for a certain amount of time before bed, or going to bed at the same time. This will give you an anchor to use to stabilize any potential anxiety.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
A common tip in many of these blog posts regarding coping mechanisms for stress involves healthy eating and exercising, but there’s a reason for it. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise have been proven to help improve feelings of depression and anxiety. Both habits provide endorphins that can energize and uplift your mood. Take time when possible to involve these habits in your daily routine.
Find someone you can talk to, even if it’s just over the phone. It may not fix everything, but it will at least keep you connected to the world around you in a way that keeps your focus outward rather than inward. It also will provide an outlet for some venting, as well as a source for a different perspective on the situation.
Make a List of the Positives
While changes may seem overwhelming, consider the positive things that have come out of them. Perhaps you have met new people. Perhaps your current relationships have become stronger. Or perhaps the change has simply made you a better person. Perhaps you are more aware of the needs of others or perhaps you have become a harder worker. No change is all bad. Take time to focus on the good.
Be Patient (With Yourself and the Situation)
Both the change, and getting used to the change, may take time. Some days will be easier to cope with than others. Just take it one moment at a time. Keep in mind that though things seem different now, they will eventually develop a tone of normalcy and things won’t seem so out of control anymore. Be patient with both the situation and your coping abilities.