Dealing with change – 9 things to remember when feeling overwhelmed!
No matter how spontaneous, adaptable and adventurous you like to think you are (hi, me), that doesn’t make you immune to having a hard time when things change.
Change is great. But it sucks. It’s exciting. But it’s scary. We want it. But also not really… You know?
I think we’ve all tried to avoid change in our lives. Sometimes it means staying in a bad relationship, not quitting the job you hate, staying in the same city forever or continiously saying yes to coffee with someone you grew up with even though you clearly grew apart and you’re like “Ughhh I don’t want to gooo” 3 days before e-v-e-r-y. s-i-n-g-l-e. t-i-m-e.
When things are changing it often comes with lots of stress, anxiety, overthinking and sometimes it can be a bit paralyzing. We start worrying so much about all the ” what if’s ” and we forget to stay present.
If only we could time travel really quick and see if all this uncertainty and discomfort is leading us to somewhere… fun. You know, a nice place with palm trees and happiness, one of those pretty colorful drinks in one hand and confidence in the other. But we can’t time travel (yet.. Elon Musk, get it together, homie).
So before you try to find answers in your horoscope and before you schedule your next Tarot card reader appointment, hold your horses.
Remember you’re a super hero
Humans are the coolest. Not only do we have thumbs, but we’re also majestic creatures, who simply just refuses to die as a species. Every single time the world changes, we change with it. We proved that over and over again. Just look at the pandemic!
Boom, we adapted to a global health crisis in a couple of months. Washing hands, wearing a masks, COVID-19 testing, social distancing, staying at home… we just adapted to a new normal. Let’s go team!
Is it fun to adapt? Heck no. Is it comfortable? Heck to the no. But you’re here. You’re alive. You adapted to change. *Elbow high five*.
That’s what today’s post is all about…
How to adapt to change rather than trying to avoid change.
If you try to avoid it, you already lost. You and I both know that the only constant in life is that it’s always changing, so we better buckle up and start getting really good at it. Even when you started reading this blog post, you were younger than you are right now, so change is happening whether you like it or not.
I know – that little reminder doesn’t make you feel better about the changes that are going on in your own life at all. I kinda predicted that since fun facts don’t help me either.
It’s like telling someone about your pain and they go: “ThErE aRe pEopLe wHO hAVe iT woRsE thAN yOu”.
Ok, but my neck is still broken, pass me the band-aid, mf.
So instead of preaching about the universe, I made a list of reminders that can be helpful when you’re feeling a bit anxious about changes in your own life.
1. Even good change can cause stress
I think this is so important to remember. Positive change can create just as much stress as not-so-positive change. If you’re feeling the adrenaline rushing through your body that’s not a sign something horrible is about to happen or that you made a wrong decision.
Stress is just your body’s way of reacting to any change. Because it’s new. It’s out of your comfort zone. It’s just chemicals in your body. Don’t let it freak you even more out.
(Are you an overthinker? Then this blog post is for you!)
2. Stick to some habits
The more change you’re facing, the more important it is to have a constant in your life. To me it’s dance, talking to my family and sending WhatsApp voice notes to my friends every single day.
If you wanna get poetic, you can consider it as finding an “anchor” in your every-day life. The habits gives your brain some rest in the middle of a typhone of change. Find something that is familiar, safe and comfortable.
3. Exercise (even when you don’t want to)
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you.
We both know that a run or some stretching from a YouTube tutorial doesn’t cure cancer or prevent Planet Earth from exploding from Global Warming, but a daily walk the past year has for sure saved lives while we’ve all been isolated and dealing with an enormous amount of pressure.
Whether you’re physically in isolation or just feel very isolated in your brain with all your thoughts, worry and emotions: go for that walk.
You don’t have to “feel like” moving. Not to sound like a total b*tch, but I actually don’t care if you want to. Just do it. Bring a podcast, your embarrassing throwback-playlist and an XL hoodie. It’s gonna be great and will give you a break from your own thoughts.
4. Find your support system
Like ALL other mental health issues – talking about it helps.
You’re not weak because change makes you feel anxious. You’re human. So congratulations, for having another human experience.
Talk to your human-family and human-friends about it.
They love you and will support you, encourage you and most importantly reassure you that: “hey, a lot is going on, take it easy. Breathe. You can do this” no matter what.
Having people in your corner who’re there for you when you have a hard time being there for yourself will actually change your life.
(If you don’t get support from friends and family, read this post!)
5. Stop focusing on what can go wrong
I mean, your brain is designed to keep you alive which means finding all the danger in a situation and try to talk you out of it. That’s pretty awesome. How do we not get killed today by a wolf or a presentation in front of the class?
But try to be a rebel and work against that. Instead of thinking “what can go wrong?” try to focus on: “what can go really extremely well?” and “how will the change benefit me?”.
Maybe change helped you grow. Maybe you had to stand up for yourself. Maybe it helped you find out what you don’t want. Maybe it brought some people into your life that you would’ve never met otherwise.
(Read: 9 reasons to just go for it here!)
6. Stay present
When we focus too much on what can go wrong and all the what-if’s we’re overthinking and simply not staying present. We’re acting Phil-from-the-Future who jumps back and forth between the future and the present. Trust me, I loved Phil-from-the-future on Disney Channel when I grew up. But it’s not healthy.
It takes away all the joy from where you are right now. And it is really true: worrying is suffering twice.
7. Take control when things change
Not everything can or should be controlled. But very often when change happens, it can feel much better to be a bit proative instead of just reactive. Reactive is when you wait until something has happened and then you take action. Proactive is when you take charge and try to lay out the situation as nicely as you can before it happens. It creates confidence.
I know the change is coming. What can I proactively do to make this a good experience? Or a just a better experience?
BUT HERE’S THE THING: Evaluate your level of control. What do you actually have control over and what is just not in your control? Be honest. To give an example: You’re not in control of other people’s opinions and actions.
8 And then… let go
This one is the hardest for me. If you’re a perfectionist, very proactive and loves being in control, letting go can sometimes sound like “giving up”. But give yourself a break.
You are allowed to not be productive 24/7. You are allowed to do less than what is humanly possible. You don’t have to #hustle, #grind and make money at alle times. We need to be smart enough to understand when to push and when to go with the flow.
It’s like baking. You put the cake together, then you put it in the oven and then you wait.
It’s like working out. You need rest days.
It’s like dating. You don’t want to text your crush 98 times a day.
It’s just how life works.
The current change in my life
I am writing this blog post in the airport. I am going to Mexico in an hour and then to the United States, and at this point I’ve come to terms with: whatever happens happens. I’ve felt very anxious, but I am constantly trying to go back to these 9 things.
There are no mistakes, just fun stories. And it’s my job to make my journey enjoyable and fun.
That means not worrying on the plane, but watching a nice movie.
That means being with my friends again after a year and enjoying that rather that stressing over not being with my family.
That means starting to get back into the game, without punishing myself for not necessarily being where I’d wanted to be at this time.
(Follow the journey on Instagram here! )
There’s never a period after change, only a comma
Someone once told me that after making a hard decision. After change happens there is not a period. Only a comma.
Change will happen over and over and over again as long as you breathe on this Planet. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and learning how to deal with change, is one of the hardest but most necessary things.
I don’t know what made you click on this post and I don’t know what kind of change that weights heavier on your chest. But trust me, it will all be okay.
You’ve survived 100% of your worst days this far.
That’s pretty awesome.