how to cope with change

Coping with change (an anxious girl’s guide)

A while ago I wrote about how new experiences shape our happiness and mentioned here that I struggle with change. Even though ultimately things pretty much always work out well, there’s this fear I have to battle with every time.

Every time I’ve moved house, I’ve cried myself to sleep the first night. I’m in a strange room, it doesn’t feel like home yet and everything’s different.

I even remember pretending I was ill at a ‘horse camp’ when I was young because I hated being away from home (I used to horse ride, this was a weekend when we did horsey things and slept at the stables). And don’t even get me started on Brownie camp…

It’s understandable really – it’s the fear of uncertainty. The fear of the unknown.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. From relationships ending and buying houses to changing jobs and having kids, there are some scary old life changes out there. So, how the hell are we supposed to cope?

Here are a few things that help me cope better. I still struggle, but these things make it a slightly less hell-ish struggle. Maybe they’ll help you too. 

How to cope with change

Research

If fear of change stems from a fear of the unknown – make the unknown known! Well, as much as you can anyway. Research what your next change will bring to your life, this should help you feel more on top of things and prepared.

BUT, don’t get too caught up in this, especially if it’s up to you to make the change. Sometimes you’ve just got to take a deep breath and dive into the unknown.

Have a grounding activity

Do you have an activity that calms you down and brings you back to the present moment? Come back to this when the fear gets too much. For me, meditation and listening to music helps. For you it may be running, cooking or drawing.

Seek solace in routine

Sometimes when there’s a lot of change in our lives, holding onto the routines we know and love can help ease our anxieties. If you love to hit the gym in the morning, keep up with this. If you always read before bed, read something lovely. I always feel better if I can at least meditate in the morning and do some yoga in the evening.

But don’t get stuck in it…

Recently I had a lot going on (pretty obvious when you look back at some of the topics of my blog posts!) and I had to let go of my routines to cope.

At the time, it was healthier for me to let go of any ‘obligations’ I had, even if those obligations were only to myself.

Look back

Remember when change happened in your life and it was a positive experience? You’ve probably got a few moments in your mind, right? Keep that in your mind and bring it to the front and centre whenever anxiety strikes.

coping-with-change-5

Visualise the positive

Visualise everything going perfectly. Our minds like to cling onto the negative, often bombarding us with worst case scenarios. Like a sassy lawyer, shout “I object!” to your mind and argue with some positive visualisation. Athletes do this to win races apparently, so, ya know – science.

Talk about it

You’re not the only one feeling anxious about change, I promise! Tell people how you’re feeling. Chances are they’ll totally relate and may even have some tips to help you. Suffering in silence doesn’t do anyone any good.

So there we go, a few ideas to hopefully quell fear of change. Does anyone out there actually like change? I remember an old manager from my retail days moved around the country a lot and said she felt rejuvenated every time.

If you get a kick out of life changes, get in touch, I would love to tell the other side of this story.

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