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Life is a mixed bag. You never know what may happen next, no matter how much you plan ahead. I’ve never hated change, but I still struggle on occasion when something unexpected happens. I become irritable, moody and have unreasonable requests or expectations.
However, over the last 5 years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning and using self-help strategies and techniques. These days, people around me (including strangers) would comment on my calm nature, vibe or energy. Of course, we all experience stress when big changes occur. However, it is possible to manage our reaction to stressful changes with these 4 tips!
1. Read self-help books.
If you enjoy reading, I suggest using that time to dive in to the self-help section! Find a title that stands out to you, ask for recommendations from friends or Google what books have been popular and the most helpful.
A book I would recommend is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is basically about four principles that could be immediately applied to your life. Having these in mind have been good reminders to keep me grounded, no matter what change occurs.
An alternative to books is to listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos.
If you know someone personally who has gone through minor or major life changes, reach out to them and ask what helped them most!
Calming techniques are not one size fits all, it takes time and patience to find what will work for us.
2. Schedule the time to de-stress.
De-stressing allows us to be present. Since stress and change are inevitable occurrences, it’s best to find ways to alleviate stress that works for us. Finding techniques to manage fluctuating emotions can help keep us calm in our mind and body. What helps you de-stress when an unexpected change happens? Even those of us with introverted personality-types (like me) still need community-support to get through tough times.
- Talk to someone. Whether it’s online counselling, face-to-face talk therapy or catching up with a friend, reach out. Having someone listen can lighten the heaviness. Even if it’s just a little bit. It’s still worth it.
- Be productive. I don’t mean be swamped with work and never feel your feelings. I mean use the time you have to write, build or invent something. This can give us a sense of purpose when things feel chaotic during life changes.
- Get out of the house. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything when we’re overwhelmed with life changes. That’s when I try to fight it. Yes, there are definitely days/a week or so where I will “hibernate” and process my emotions alone. After that time, I push myself to see people, do activities or I ask my boyfriend to come with me for a drive around the neighbourhood.
Find what works for you. These strategies may vary depending on the circumstance, financial ability or simply the way you approach change. That is A-okay.
3. Be patient with yourself and others.
So, you’ve heard the news. The unexpected change is here. What else is there to do? Practice patience. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s all we can do not to break down. And sometimes the break down comes anyway – no matter how hard we try. That’s more than okay – it’s absolutely normal! We all respond to stress differently.
You may find your emotions fluctuate. You’ll have good days and bad days. Or maybe you’ll be easily irritated. That’s okay. When unexpected changes or tragedies occur, we are not in our prime mindset to manage emotions steadily. Be patient with yourself and others.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
If there’s something you don’t understand, ask questions. If someone sounds angry, wait until there’s a free moment and ask to clarify. If it is time to apologise, then apologise. Also remember, other people may not react the way you ‘predict’ or ‘want’. So be open, be patient and communicate clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.
With a good set of de-stressing techniques, actively building our resilience and having a support-group around us, it is possible to adapt to change. Getting lost in a book full of advice, scheduling time to de-stress and having a proactive attitude can help immensely whenever life throws a curve ball at us.
Take a slow, deep breath.
Know that you are loved.
Know that you can get through this.