By SHANNON SKAE, health and life coach at Revive with Shan
We all go through different life events and new experiences, such as changing schools, moving to a new city, changing jobs, possibly moving countries, and changing lifestyles.
This can all be frightening because it is unknown. Changes in our circumstances can bring about anxiety because we must start all over again and move away from our comfort zone, especially if the change is out of our control. This can also possibly cause feelings of disempowerment or loss.
We are naturally wired to fear change as humans. We prefer routine and consistency. Change brings a lack of safety because we do not know whether the change will be good or bad for us. This dates back to our ancestors who wanted structure and routine – otherwise, there could be dehydration, lack of resources, and even death.
Our mental health also fares best when we have routine and control. If we lose this sense of safety, our mental health can take a dip. When we follow a routine, our life is predictable, relieving anxiety and stress.
Change can, however, be positive, which means that knowing how to cope with a fear of the unknown may be helpful.
Some tips on how to cope with change:
- Create a journal of the pros and cons of this change
- Meditate and take deep breaths if the change feels overwhelming
- Create a vision board for what this change will bring you positively
- Talk with friends and family (seek support) about whether they think this change is a good thing
- Set micro (short term) and macro (long term) goals for this change
- Set steps in place for making the change more manageable; for example, if you are moving cities, go and see the city and potential house/workplace to get a feel of it beforehand
- Accept that you cannot control every aspect of change and roll with the unexpected twists and turns
- Take the leap if this change is going to impact you in a positive way
- Take a friend/family member with you when if you can to help get you settled
- Have some things close to you that give you comfort, e.g., a favourite coffee mug to a new workplace
- Be friendly to those that you meet in your new environment, and ask them about themselves – this helps make the transition easier for you
Sometimes change is necessary and unavoidable. These tips for coping will hopefully help make the transition easier. It is okay to feel overwhelmed by change, but acknowledging and working through it will help. Become the author of your own life – remember you have power over how you react to changes in your life!