Change can sometimes be fun, exciting, and refreshing. But let's be honest, more often than not, change ends up being the exact opposite. That's why figuring out ways to deal with change is so important — because we all hate it so damn much.
Even if it's a good thing, change can feel totally overwhelming, tiring, and upsetting. Think about the last time you moved. Wasn't it kind of exciting to set up your new place, and to be in a new town? I'm sure it was. But it was also probably hella difficult to get used to everything, and you probably got your first gray hair in the process.
That's because pretty much any type of change feels like the end of the world for us humans; mostly because it's stressful. And, as it turns out, humans don't like stress. In fact, there's a scale that exists called the Holmes And Rahe Stress Scale, which was developed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe to study whether or not stress contributes to illness.
It's pretty interesting, if you want to talk a look. It has all sorts of "Life Change Units," such as divorce, changes in school or college, and even vacations. Basically, things that elicit change in our lives. Because — you guessed it — they all cause stress.
Too much stress can get you a pretty high score, and this can mean you might be making yourself sick. So don't let things get out of control. Here are ways to handle your stress, and approach big life changes in the healthiest way possible.
1. Get Yourself A Routine ASAP
One of the things that's so hard about change is that it disrupts your routine. After all, it's pretty darn impossible to have your morning coffee when there are boxes to be packed. And you're not very likely to hit up the gym when you're too sad after a breakup. But these big moments of change are the exact time you should be having coffee and hitting up the gym.
That's because a routine can kind of make things feel normal again. As Hannah Braime noted on TinyBuddha.com, "When it feels like everything else around us is in flux, finding small comforts to hold on to can make all the difference in how we process and deal with other changes in our lives."
2. Take Good Care Of Yourself
In the same way it's normal to forget your usual routine, change can also cause you to forget that you're a person with needs. Don't let this happen. In moments of change — such as when starting a new job, or dealing with a death — are when you should be taking extra good care of yourself.
According to Braime, "Taking care of your basic needs is absolutely crucial if you are in a period of change. These needs are like the foundations of our physical and mental health; without them, we’re unlikely to be able to process additional challenges in a healthy way. My nonnegotiable are sleep, hygiene, exercise, and healthy food. When I have these things, I am a happy camper and can deal with external changes far more easily." Figure out what you need to do to feel even the tiniest bit more better, and then go do it.
3. Let Yourself Be All Sad And Vulnerable
When changes are occurring, it can be tempting to pretend like everything is totally normal. You might push away friends, or act like you aren't as sad as you actually are.
Resist the urge to do this, as it doesn't allow anyone to come and offer help. As Lisabeth Saunders Medlock, Ph.D., noted on HuffingtonPost.com, "We need to allow ourselves to rely on others. And showing that vulnerability is OK ... You allow people to really see you and when they can see you, can know your stress or pain, they can help." And getting help, especially when you're doing something ridiculous like moving, can never be a bad thing.
4. Change Your Perspective
Sometimes change is bad, such as when you're fired from a job. When something truly horrible like this happens, you can sulk and think your life is over. Or, you can use the change as an opportunity to lead you somewhere better.
It's all about perspective, and how to reframe that perspective to find empowerment in it, noted Amanda Abella on Lifehack.org. So look on the bright side, and figure out what good can come from what appears to be a giant mess.
5. Don't Make Too Many Changes At Once
Occasionally, we bring stress on ourselves by piling on too many changes at once. We think that moving would be a great time to find all new friends, adopt a dog, and take on two new hobbies. This is all great, but too much at once can start to make change feel more overwhelming than it needs to be.
Instead, take things slowly. Let yourself get settled before you adopt a dog. Get good at one hobby before you pick up another. You get the idea.
6. Remember That You'll Adapt To The Change
The most important thing to remember, is that no matter what happens, you will eventually get used to it. It may seem absolutely impossible in the moment, especially if you are dealing with some bad news or change that wasn't your idea. But keep in mind, that even these types of things lose their edge over time.
As Saunders Medlock said, "Our ability to adapt is amazing ... If you trust that you can adapt, then you will. And if you believe that you can change, then you will, no matter what the challenge."
It can sometimes feel like change is overwhelming, but it will all sort itself out. I promise.
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