In my last few posts I talked about preparing for a big change. How do you contend with change when you are in the midst of it? How do you steer when your boat is out to sea?
You probably feel a loss of control. I do. And not having control is one of my least favorite things.
If you’re experiencing a big change, a new set of emotions may come flooding in.
Some are feelings you’d like to avoid at all cost, like sadness, anxiety, panic, and anger. Others are more positive, like awe, exhilaration, or jubilation. Whether they’re scary or wonderful, all of these emotions can be overwhelming.
While riding these waves of emotions, you are being asked to do something different. That is what we don’t always like. Change requires us to practice new behaviors and create new habits. During change, we experience a loss of control. (We never have very much control – but change drives that point home.)
What can you do so you don’t lose it?
What do I mean by lose it?
For starters, how about eating lots of cake for breakfast? (Okay, I know that morning cake is not always a bad idea. But after my husband Rob left for graduate school and I found myself having cake for breakfast three days in a row… well, let’s just say it started to take its toll on my energy levels.)
When I say lose it I also mean: Not talking to your friends, eating too much, not eating enough, not sleeping, sleeping A LOT, watching tons of Ally McBeal reruns [insert your personal unhealthy TV obsession here] … anything that makes you feel bad about yourself at the end of the day.
How to keep your center in the midst of change:
Yes. Breathe. Annie, isn’t this always on your list? Yes. And for good reason. A few good breaths bring us back to ourselves. Breathing relaxes our shoulders. Softens the belly. Reminds us that we are made of air and matter. Reminds us that we are still here, still alive. This is your breath. This is your moment to be alive.
The load you are carrying may be heavier right now. There is more to juggle, more to figure out. Try not to be hard on yourself when things aren’t working out perfectly. Try taking a few things off your plate. What is not necessary? Not mission critical? Maybe “necessary” has a new meaning. Now maybe some things that used to be necessary are no longer needed.
Take it down to the smallest piece
Simplify what you need to get done. When thinking about what needs to happen next, take it down to the smallest step possible. Give yourself only a few small to do’s at a time. When those are done, give yourself a few more.
For example: Today I will buy dolmas at the grocery store so I’ll have some sustenance in the house. Today I will get out of bed and stretch. Today I will call my mom. Today I will walk around the block. Today I will write that email to Juan.
Remember your anchors
Who are the people who are most important to you? What things in your life bring you joy and comfort? Big change is the time to get serious about what you care about the most, and let go of the rest. Really let it go. Cross it off your “feeling guilty, must-do” list. You could think of this desert-island style. Think of the three things, people, and values that will sustain you on your island. Who holds you steady? What holds you steady?
In the midst of my current life changes, what matters the most is being with the people who understand me and are invested in my wellbeing. What matters is taking care of myself, being kind to myself and working to be kind in my daily interactions with others.
You know how much sleep your body needs. (And if you don’t, it is probably 7 to 8 hours per night.) If you are only hitting the 5-hour mark, do your best to get a little more sleep. Try setting an alarm when it is time to get ready for bed. (This is what Adrianna Huffington does.) If you’re sleeping too much, build a system for getting yourself out of bed. Try multiple alarms. Put lights and music on timers. Schedule morning appointments.
Strip it to the core
I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again. When you are in the midst of big change, get rid of the extra crud. Strip away anything that’s weighing you down. Take it off, leave it behind. Deal with the day to day. Remember what matters to you. Take a deep breath.
Make the change.
You’re ready to weather the storm.
You can do this.
Question for reflection:
What are your anchors in the midst of change?
Write an answer in the comments below or jump on over to my Facebook page and comment.