Stay in the Wellness Loop | Health and Wellness Articles

Antje Springmann, BA, PPCC

Taking Charge
of Change

The Only Constant in Life is Change - Heraclitus

Our lives are marked by changes. Some are welcome, like a promotion or retiring, while others bowl us over, like the loss of a job, moving away, or getting divorced.


Welcome or not, large or small, all changes have one thing in common – they are stressful and often messy. They have the power to rock our world, forcing us to let go of the familiar and plunge forward into the unknown. We can find ourselves feeling we have lost control. We swing from feeling boxed in without options to being paralyzed by too many choices and decisions. 


But here is the good news: it does not have to be this way. In fact, the bigger the change we experience, the greater the opportunity to realign the direction of our life with our values, goals, and desires. Here are some basic steps to gain control during change and use its momentum to bring you closer to a more authentic, empowered and fulfilled self.

1 Acknowledge that you are going through a challenging time. Change is challenging. Routines in which we take comfort are disrupted and the future is not always clear. Recognize that you are going through a period of increased stress and that now, more than ever, it is important to stay grounded and look after yourself. 


2 Take stock of your resources and use them. Emotional and physical resources get stretched during times of change. What feeds and sustains you? What grounds you? Exercise, keeping a diary, a hot bath, tea with a friend, getting a massage…whatever your sources of renewal and well-being are, make the time to draw on them.

 

3 Concentrate your efforts. Change has two components – the things over which you have power, and those over which you do not. Be clear and realistic about what they are. You have a finite amount of energy. Direct it to where it will it will be of most benefit to you - steering your future in the direction you choose.


4 Let go. Acknowledge what you are leaving behind, honour it for how it served you, and move on. Habits, routines, things – and, yes, even people – may need to become part of the past to open space for the future.


5 Be gentle with yourself. Going through change is uncomfortable at best and often frightening, even terrifying. As counterintuitive as it may seem, do not rush it. Trying to make too many decisions at once can be paralyzing. Give yourself time to adapt. Check in with yourself often to ensure you are in alignment with your chosen path. 


These five simple strategies can help you remain grounded and able to harness the opportunities in both life and work changes. Remember to acknowledge your progress and accomplishments; celebrating triumphs large and small along the way will make your journey that much more rewarding.

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