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Top Ten Tips on Coping with Change

September 2, 2021
The Lime Team


Change is happening all the time. It is a part of the world we live in and in the last two years it might feel like change has been happening with frightening speed. Where we once relied on certain expectations and habits to live each day, a period of change brings about uncertainty, and in some cases worry, anxiety and other feelings of apprehension, even when the change itself might be something considered a good thing.

Change can be thought of as a journey, during which we experience a mix of emotions. Some of these are outlined below:

Shock: This happens when we are first made aware of an inevitable change. It is characterised by a mismatch between expectation and reality, and causes feelings of immobilisation and numbness.

Disbelief: Denial and minimisation, which is when we try to convince ourselves that the change isn’t really happening to us and it really isn’t a ‘big deal’.

Self-doubt: When reality of the change becomes much more apparent, there may be feelings of frustration, uncertainty and anger.

Acceptance: Letting go of old attitudes or behaviours and starting to develop an acceptance of the new circumstances.

Integration: Through a process of experimentation in our thoughts and behaviour we learn to incorporate the new circumstances into everyday life and it becomes a new normality for us.

So, how can we manage periods of change in our lives and be more accepting of it?

  1. Anticipate change – Take steps to avoid becoming rigid and afraid of new experiences. Throughout life, keep making friends, explore a variety of interests and activities and accept new challenges at work.
  2. Take care of your physical and emotional health – If you’re facing a big change, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and limit alcohol consumption. Make time to do something you enjoy with friends or family.
  3. Keep an open mind – Just because you haven’t done something before doesn’t mean you won’t like it.
  4. Stay positive – You have a choice on how you respond to changes you face. Keeping a positive attitude will help you through the tough times.
  5. Take it slowly – Making changes is a series of transitions. You will find it easier to cope with a big change by breaking it down into small steps so that you can make gradual adjustments.
  6. Limit or ‘pace’ your changes – Try not to take on a big change before you’ve adjusted to another one and avoid trying to make a lot of smaller changes all at once. If you know that you are already experiencing stress, try to postpone making big decisions that will bring about change and, possibly, more stress.
  7. Talk about your feelings with people who can help – Be as specific as you can about your concerns. You might say to your partner, “I’ve had more responsibilities at work since I’ve been promoted and it’s become harder for me to make dinner every night. What can we do about this?”
  8. Hold on to your sense of humour – When you’re feeling stressed, watch a film that makes you laugh or go to lunch with a friend who makes you smile.
  9. Learn some relaxation techniques – You might find it helpful to take a yoga class, use a relaxation app, listen to a relaxation CD or one of the relaxation breathing exercises  you can find in this Nurturing Resilience series.
  10. Seek professional help if you are having difficulty coping with change and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might benefit from talking to someone, such as a counsellor via a helpline, like Mind-Matters. Even strong people need support and guidance when faced with tough circumstances.

Source: Validium

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