Change can be good or bad, but either way it tends to throw us through a loop. I always equate change with the old saying, “When it rains it pours.” Even though this saying tends to refer to a sequence of bad things happening, I think it applies to sequences of good things happening as well. In my life I tend to go through many good changes at once, or many bad changes at once. Even though I prefer a series of good changes, life can become very stressful either way. I still haven’t mastered how to properly deal with rapid life changes, but here is what I’ve learned so far.
Step #1: Take a Deep Breath
First thing’s first, don’t forget to breathe! When news initially hits you, it can be traumatizing. Instead of going straight to panic mode, try taking a deep breath and briefly process what is happening. Many times you will receive important news at the absolute worst time. It could be on your 15-minute break at work, while on a night out with your friends, or right after you spilled an entire cup of coffee on your favorite shirt. This is where practicing your best poker-face in the mirror and always having an excuse on hand on why you need to briefly leave helps. If you know how to stall your reaction until you’re in your own private space, this will be better for you in the long run.
Step #2: Go to Your Happy Place & Forget About Everything for a Solid Hour
Once you’ve had time to process what is actually happening or about to happen in the near future, do your best to temporarily forget about it. For me this can mean going to my favorite place to eat, watching a funny show or movie, or taking a long nap. I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to stressful situations. If I don’t take a brief break from worrying about the future, my brain might explode. A lot of the time change is beyond our control, but how we react is something we can control. Sometimes you need to take time to yourself so that you don’t make any rash decisions.
Step #3: Seek Advice from No More Than 3 People
Seeking advice from people with your best interest at heart can be great! The only downside is that everyone has different advice to give and sometimes their opinions can start contradicting each other. This is where I believe in the magic number of three. Once you ask more than three people what you should do, everything becomes convoluted. I tend to ask the three people closest to me for advice: my boyfriend, my mom, and my dad. My boyfriend knows me very well, so he can usually ask me the best questions for me to solve my own problems. My mom gives me great advice on what my priorities should be and how it will affect the people around me. My dad is very business savvy and financially conscious, so he gives me very practical advice. I try to take the key points from all 3 people and formulate what I should do from there.
Step #4: Come Up with a Plan that has a Plan B and C
In my experience, things are never completely black or white. Many times plans involving change are contingent on multiple factors going a certain way. Just in case one of these factors aren’t easily determined at the moment, you should always have a backup plan or two. This is where prioritizing can help a lot! Find out what the most important part of your life changing moment is important to you, and then come up with multiple plans around it. That way you aren’t sacrificing what means the most to you, but you are realistic about foreseeable obstacles.
Step #5: Try not to Dwell on the Reason for the Change
Once you have figured out a plan of attack, you will reach the hardest part of the change process. I’m referring to when you start dwelling on the why. Things happen all the time for reasons we can never understand. Instead of thinking “Why me?!?” realize that it happened, and you can’t change the past. The quicker you can come to that conclusion and move forward, the more content you will be in the long run.
Again these are all things I’ve picked up from my experience with change. Everyone has a different way of coping and reacting, but hopefully at least one of these tips will help you in the future.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
How do you tend to react to big changes?