The next four months of my life are filled with many changes. Starting an internship, moving into my own place, and getting a puppy. I am so excited for all of these new opportunities, but I always face fears and uncertainties when change is on the horizon. Fears of the unknown, fears I made the wrong decision. Fears that I won’t be able to handle it, and so on. Change can feel really overwhelming, but hopefully these insights can aid in the “impending change feelings”.
There have been many times in my life where I have thought, “if only such and such would change, then my life would be much better.” Sometimes those things have changed and provided a temporary stress relief. But I still struggle with other “life concerns” that I am always trying to work on. I think with this mindset, I set unrealistic expectations for the upcoming change. If there is an expectation that everything will be great, then there may be disappointment that the change isn’t living up to that. With high expectations, it may cause longing for how things used to be, which can be a trigger for depression. This isn’t to say that having some expectations or excitement is going to turn out negative, but it can be helpful to keep expectations realistic and not expect a circumstance to change everything.
I also think it is important to expect that there will be stress and a feeling of a loss of control. Everyone varies in his or her ability to adapt to change, but there still can be stress even when the change is a positive thing. In the past when I’ve gone through changes, I’ve sought for something to control. Which usually ends up being my hair. I’ve died it every color under the sun. Got bangs. Cut it. But after taking years to finally grow it out, I’ve learned to let myself feel the anxiety of no control. It’s hard to sit with the stress, disappointment, and lack of control, but there are ways that can help ease the discomfort of this.
Take Care of Yourself
Change can bring up many emotions and can also be exhausting. It is important to listen to these emotions and your body to see what you need. You may not feel entirely like yourself at first, but that’s to be expected. To help with this, there may be benefit to keeping a similar schedule to what you had before to have some consistency and familiarity. If you have a Taco Tuesday tradition, hit up a new taco shop, if you can’t go to your old one! Find a new friend to walk around the neighborhood with. Figure out your favorite coffee shop nearby. Although the environment, people, or even yourself may be different, a type of schedule or something familiar can be helpful.
It can be hard to be vulnerable, but reach out to those you know for support. Let them know how they can help you, whether it is to video chat, look up places they want to visit when they see you, or go with you to new places. Friends and family can be a great support and it can also be good to have someone to check up on you and make sure that you are adjusting healthily.
Through all of this, I think trusting yourself can go a long way. You are a human, so you have made it through change before; probably even some really hard and painful changes. Maybe you can look back on these changes and see how you grew or became stronger. Change often isn’t easy, but trust yourself that you can handle it and maybe even flourish in it! If it is hard to trust yourself, you can trust that humans have the ability to adapt. How else would people be able to live in Arizona in July (120 degrees?!) if we weren’t able to adapt? (This applies to more than just temperature, by the way.)
I do still fear the unknown, fear I made the wrong decision, or that I can’t handle it, but I think as I try and do these things, I’ll adapt better than my anxiety tells me I will. I don’t expect it to be easy and fun all the time, but I really am looking forward to the changes coming my way.
Sarkis, S. (2017). 10 ways to cope with big changes. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/10-ways-cope-big-changes
Major life changes. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.oprah.com/spirit/strategies-to-deal-with-every-phase-of-major-life-changes/all