Coping with Big Changes
Life is a constant change. And our responses can either be reactive or proactive. Our behavior and decisions can be affected by these changes; hence, coping may be easy and hard for some, depending on the impact the change will make on our lives. But of course, we intend to become better and more resilient people. Here are the ways to cope with change.
- Acknowledge that things are changing.
Resisting change happens when we are already comfortable with the way things are going. But going out of our comfort zones can be an opportunity to try out new things, and that is a learning moment for us. If our body undergoes change as it grows, then expect that the world around us evolve as well. Acknowledge this fact and knowing it is okay can make your acceptance to change less stressful.
- Be aware that even good change can cause stress.
Let us go back to the real meaning of stress. Stress is the body’s way of responding to changes. Stress is inevitable when change comes, whether it is a good kind of change or the opposite. Know that stress is natural, and so it is okay.
- Keep some of the usual routines as much as possible.
One of the coping mechanisms to change is having an anchor. The anchor is something that keeps us rooted, telling us that some things stay the same no matter how big changes are. That anchor keeps us secure, and it gives our brain a bit of rest from the stresses brought about by change. Keeping your regular schedule can serve as your anchor. For instance, waking up early, which you have done so in the past, can stay the same, or your habit of taking your dog for a walk before you work can still be among your things to do.
- Try to maintain a healthy diet.
People resort to more carbs when there are major changes that are happening in their lives. This is probably because our brain chemical called serotonin becomes depleted when we are stressed. Our body becomes hungry for carbs to help build serotonin levels. Comfort foods should be moderated, do not depend on much from it to the point of becoming impulsive or emotional eaters. It helps to list down your food intake to track the number of carbs you are putting in your body. Also, avoid resorting to alcohol and substances when you are stressed as these are not healthy when abused.
People who exercise regularly become happier, focused, and strong, which are vital when coping with stress. Exercising two to three times a week can significantly decrease symptoms of depression (Barclay, et al., 2014.) Taking long walks and brisk walking is good exercise as well. Always be on the move, and keep an active lifestyle to keep you motivated in every endeavor.
- Seek support.
Surround yourself with people who can give you the support you need. They can keep you anchored and positive when you come to them. A strong support system can help you navigate through changes. Talk to them, listen, and learn from their experiences. If you are feeling low or overwhelmed, do not be ashamed to ask for help, even from experts. There are also helpful apps like NextDoor, which can be of help in connecting with neighbors. If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-8255.
- Write down the advantages that this change can bring to your end.
Change is good in many aspects, even if they are uncomfortable and unideal at first. As you change, list down the good thing you have been getting. Meeting people, being more socially aware, learning a new skill, managing your behavior, and making decisions are some of the many benefits changes can bring to a person. Count these as your experiences so you can be of help to others who will undergo the same journey as you are at the moment.
- Get proactive.
One of the habits of highly effective people, according to Stephen Covey, is being proactive. Being “response-able” is being responsible for the way you respond and not always blaming circumstances. Changes, in this case, can be a reason for a lot of your wrong decisions but being proactive means taking responsibility to find means to cope, take charge, and work while looking forward. Do not wait for things to happen first before you take action.
- Vent, but to a point.
Venting is a good outlet to let out frustrations; however, be in control and be mindful too. We do not want to spread negative vibes out there. Learn how to verbalize and describe your thoughts and feelings, not to be hostile. There are also creative ways of doing it.
- Limit your social media engagement.
Being emotional or in distress at times of change can make you irrational. Posting on social media about your rants or reacting to posts might not be the right thing to do at this point. You might end up posting things that you will regret in the end. If there is a need to do so on your part, make sure you are calm and try to post things that will encourage you and remind you to keep positive.
And finally, give yourself a break.
Yes, you need a break. You need to energize, rejuvenate, and be refreshed. Reading a book, devoting time to prayer, and taking vacations can be helpful to be 100 percent again and be ready to navigate through life once again. Also, learn to take one day at a time so you will go through change smoothly. Be proud of your little accomplishments and learn from each mistake. Also, finding humor is a good habit of mind. It increases your dopamine levels, which will make you feel good and see the beauty amid changes.