The only constant in life is change. Sounds like a pithy sentiment, but it’s absolutely true—we can certainly rely on things to be different day-by-day. Often, because we aim for it, change is good and positive. It’s brought about by following goals, and making the changes ourselves. But just as often, we can be blindsided by negative change. Right now, we’re experiencing a lot of change. COVID-19 has slammed into every aspect of our lives—work, home life, relationships, everything is affected.
When significant negative change hits us, we tend to go through the same process:
- Shock that this event has happened to us
- Denial that it is happening
- Confusion and anger, as we realise it actually is happening to us
- Resignation when we believe there is nothing we can do
- Acceptance—only when we learn to accept, can we embrace change and start to move on. When we are able to do this we are able to reach the final stage of looking forward and rebuilding
Everybody moves through these stages to greater or lesser degrees and at different speeds. The key is to try to recognise where you are and try to progress through the stages as quickly as possible. Then you can concentrate on moving on and staying positive!
Managing negative life events effectively can help you to restore your life balance, reduce their impact on your wellbeing and help you to stay happy and healthy. People generally adapt well to change, and learn from past experiences.
How can we best deal with major life events?
The first thing you should do when looking at how you deal with change is evaluate your lifestyle. Look for areas you can pay less attention to for now, and concentrate your mental resources on the change—this counts as much for positive changes as it does the negative ones.
Try these coping strategies:
- Recognise your stage of change—where are you in the above process?
- Give yourself time to reflect and plan—what do you need to do, who can help, how can you reach out to them?
- Make a written plan and to-do list— getting your thoughts on paper helps you to focus
- Talk to others and access support—change can cause struggle, and there are plenty of resources you can use to help. And many of your friends have likely been in the same boat
- Learn from your past experiences—and make sure to learn from the present as it becomes the past
Simplify your life
By simplifying your life you will feel less overwhelmed. Being organised, and having a solid foundation, makes dealing with change a breeze.
- Plan your day and each week around you
- Create time for yourself and ensure you build in time for rest and relaxation
- Prioritise—do what’s important first
- Make a conscious decision to eat well. Avoid over indulgence, avoid skipping meals, choose healthy options and keep hydrated
- Rest and recovery is vital to keep energy levels high —prepare for sleep with relaxation, try to have a set sleep routine and avoid caffeine before bedtime
- Move or exercise more to keep you fit and active