In life, change is inevitable. This couldn’t be more true than in today’s world, where we’re facing adversity, difficulties and tough decisions. School or homeschool, reopen or stay closed, mask or not mask, test or not test, protest or not protest – the list goes on and on. Fortunately, in most of these instances, the choice, although possibly life-altering, is ours. But oftentimes, change just creeps up on us and we are forced to adapt and adjust even when we weren’t prepared to do so. This is life.
We’re all facing a changing situation when it comes to the worldwide pandemic, we’re watching in disbelief at the racial injustice still occurring today and we’re bowing our heads as west coast fires continue to devastate countless communities. Big changes with very little time to process. So, how do we react in a positive way that allows us to march onward with enthusiasm, acceptance and peace? It’s not easy and although we haven’t walked in our readers’ shoes, we’re empathetic to that which we don’t personally understand and united by those obstacles that we face together.
Here are a few techniques we’d like to suggest to put a spin on the negative aura surrounding changes, whether unexpected or fully planned. It’s all in our reactions and we want to help you see the rainbow on the other side of an anxious, possibly dark, time.
Connect with others. Sometimes just being in the presence of others is all the pick-me-up we need. We grow inspired by others’ enthusiasm for life and we, perhaps, can offer a bit of our own encouragement to those who may be suffering. Although the quarantine and continued pandemic makes it hard to connect physically with others, there are still ways to stay connected. Meet up at a local park while the weather is still nice, go for a walk or hike, visit for coffee or tea at a local shop or schedule a Zoom call.
Keep the conversation going. It’s easy to bottle up emotions and, with that, we lose the words that are necessary to share how we’re feeling. Without that, we’re stuck in a place of disappointment, regret and depression. Just as parents often tell their toddlers or even thorny teens – “use your words”. If speaking is too much, write a letter, send a text or craft an email expressing your feelings and thoughts so that others can better understand where you are at in your journey.
Try to find the good by practicing gratitude for that which remains the same. If everything around you is looking pretty different or if you have suddenly found yourself without some of your familiar comforts, stay grounded by practicing gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for, whether it’s a special friend, a job, health, family or even just life itself, begin and end the day by recognizing that which remains.
Lower your expectations. If you think life is unchanging and constant, forget it. If you expect to get that raise or promotion, think twice. If you never expect to get sick, believe that your spouse or friend could never let you down, or that your job is guaranteed, you’re sure to be mistaken. So, lower those expectations. No one is perfect and life is full of surprises. We won’t always get the “yes” we feel we deserve or the treatment we feel is due to us. But that’s OK. That’s how we learn, it’s how we nurture relationships and it’s how we learn to vocalize our wants and needs.
FEEL your feelings. Just like it’s easy to lose the words necessary to express how we’re thinking and feeling, it’s equally hard to really run toward those emotions. If you are facing difficulties, loss or in some way struggling, feel what you feel. If it’s sadness, cry; if it’s anger, scream; if it’s anxiety, embrace the symptoms, but don’t run. Work through everything that comes at you, expressing yourself if need be, and you’ll learn a great deal about yourself in the process.
Let go of the past. Oftentimes, when change is before us, we long for the past. That is human nature. If someone passes on, we wish for one more conversation, one more hug; if we lose our home to fire, we wish for the comforts of our familiar place. It’s when we can’t let go of those things and look toward the future that we face roadblocks. It is important to remember and honor the past and there are various ways to do that that are personal and unique to the situation, but when we accept the past as the past and create a plan for the future, we are free.
Own the future. Every day is a fresh start. We like to think of sleep as a reset button. A chance for our bodies to become restored both physically and mentally. We might awaken to the same uncertainty for the future, but we can take ownership of today, tomorrow and years to come with a few steps. Set goals, get active, make choices, visualize success and BELIEVE that the best is yet to come. Mistakes will happen and unexpected change is inevitable, but with the above in mind, a happy, successful future is waiting for you.