More Tools to Deal with Change
It seems that my last post regarding change really struck a chord and was ‘perfectly timed’ for many of you. I’m happy to hear that! The nebulous ambiguity between no longer and not yet can range from slowly unnerving to outright crazy making.
That’s why I’ve decided to do a follow-up blog on the topic to offer even more practical tools to help you get through transition. I’m pulling these directly out of my own personal playbook to share with you what I do when I can feel change coming once again. I hope they help!
1) BREATHE – Inhale to the count of four (or five, or six), hold for a moment before exhaling to the same count. This calms the nervous system and helps to ground the energy in the body. Repeat as needed throughout the day.
2) MOVE – Moving your body in some form for at least 20 minutes/day in a way that increases the respiratory and cardiac output can ground our energy, dispel excess mental and emotional energy, and give us one of my all time favorite things: endorphins. Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine are natural feel-good chemicals that the body releases with creative exertion. Endorphins can help ‘take the edge off’ of the unknown and lend more mental stability in times of change. As Nike says: Just Do It.
3) GET OUT OF DODGE – Temporarily removing ourselves from our everyday grind can provide ease, clarity, and new perspective. You don’t have to go somewhere fancy like Tahiti… even a ‘stay-cation’ at home where you retreat from the everyday can provide respite and integration from that impending sense of transition.
4) PLAY IT OUT – Change brings the unknown. The unknown often brings fear/anxiety. It’s natural. This is where running the worst-case scenario all the way through in your head can be helpful. It’s not as bad as it sounds! Trust me! Sometimes I catastrophize only to run this scenario and see that even my worst-case imaginings wouldn’t actually be that bad. This exercise dispels fear by bringing forth knowledge. Also, if we are willing to be super honest with ourselves, we likely see that the terrible scenarios we create in our heads likely won’t ever even happen.
5) SAY F*CK IT – Transition is not the time or place to beat yourself up or hold yourself to impossible standards. Everything is shifting – which requires softness. I would offer to keep functioning as a basic human and cut yourself some slack. So what if you eat too many cookies or binge watch Netflix? It’s okay! Expanding into the void of unknown unnerves the ego… so self-comfort is natural. That said, be mindful of old, destructive patterns that may rear up. Having a few cookies is one thing, mainlining heroin is another. Transition is prime area for shadow integration. Finding a subtle softness while not engaging self sabotage/mutilation is an integral part of this growth edge. That said, if you spiral – it’s okay. Avoid the desire to beat yourself up. Just get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. You got this.
6) SET THE COURSE GPS – Change is here! Yay! That means something new and cool and exciting is on its way! So, whaddya want? What’s your end game? Where do you want to be in life in ten or twenty years? Do you know? Now is the time to brainstorm. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ right now… it likely won’t go down how you think it will anyway. Just start planting the seeds of what you want. That’s it. Think about what you really want, write it down, or better yet – talk about it with a trusted friend. After that… let go. Cultivation will come after the transition happens. It’s like setting the course GPS to your life.
May these practical tools be useful in those times of uncertainty. Wherever you are on your path, please remember that you are not alone. We are in this transition together, and so the adventure continues…