I’m about to change jobs. I’ve been working in my industry for three years next month, always with the same company though sometimes different locations. I’m good at what I do, but it was time for me to go somewhere where I could grow. So I’m changing companies, taking on a bigger role with more hours and responsibility… and I’m feeling all the feels!
How do you cope with change? Especially change that you’ve initiated?
How do you get past ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ anxiety?
If you thought I was about to answer, well, sorry. I can’t. Every person’s experience is their own, and the way to work through change is individual to you.
I’ve shared below some steps that are helping me to cope. Perhaps they’ll help you, too. 🙂
*** Important. The following is based on my own experience. I am not a therapist, psychologist, or otherwise certified regarding mental health and life issues. If you have concerns and need advice, always seek the help of a professional. ***
Here is how I have been managing change (or not!).
Allow space to grieve the past
Moving on isn’t always easy. Sometimes it might seem to be… until one day months down the line you find yourself remembering or regretting something, and then it hits you – the loss of What Used To Be.
When that happens, let it happen. Don’t squish it down. Your feelings are valid. They’re real. Give yourself the space and time to accept your grief. Just don’t let it overwhelm or stall you.
Accept that you have moved on, but that some feelings still remain. Move to step two.
Acknowledge lingering negativity (or anything else)
We initiate change for many reasons. Sometimes it is a long time coming, sometimes unexpected. Sometimes an external factor forces your hand… other times it comes from a positive, confident feeling of taking a new step, a different direction.
Savour the good memories and positive learning experiences as you move forward from here. Discard the bad.
What does that mean?
Holding on to what was isn’t healthy. Are there lingering feelings of guilt, anger, regret, hurt, or other about what happened, perhaps what led to this change?
If so, acknowledge them.
Then, use them.
That’s right. Take what you feel and channel it into learning how to do better. Write down your thoughts and feelings, then try to take a step back and write a critical reflection about them (or talk them out). What is the most important aspect of the memory causing this feeling? How would you like to do/see/feel better in the future?
Perhaps your negative association stems from someone else’s actions. In that case, reflect on how those actions affected you. Imagine a different scenario in which the opposite happened, and you instead now felt joy. What does that look like? What can you put in place to lead to joy?
You can’t change the past, but you can change how you look at it, and how much it affects you. You can plan for better circumstances. You can change your future.
Accept anxiety as normal
Anxiety is a survival skill. Our brains are built to worry about what happens next, because what if waiting around the unexplored corner is a sabre-toothed tiger? Or a really horrible boss? Or a global pandemic? You get what I mean.
I’m reminded of the old prayer: Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Change is inevitable. We do not live in a static environment; in fact, we would not live at all without change.
We can accept the anxiety that comes with change, while learning what to do about reducing its impact.
Focus on the positive
You started this journey toward change for a reason. List those reasons! What are the positive things you are looking forward to?
Also, if you’re replacing one thing with another, do try to write ‘More of/X’ rather than ‘No more/Y…’ (e.g. instead of ‘No more Brussel sprouts’ you could write ‘Loads of healthy veggies that I love!’)
I use this in particular when thinking about the people I’m leaving behind – by acknowledging their impact on me and my positive memories, I can then turn my attention to the new people I’m about to meet and all the possibilities there.
It’s a trick that, when used successfully, can really help to refocus your mindset.
Give yourself a break
I could mean this literally (who doesn’t love a holiday?), but in everyday terms, I also mean be kind to yourself.
During this period of heightened anxiety and change, little things might trigger you more often. You might feel more fatigued than normal (or appear to have extra energy, then suddenly slump at the end of the day). This is all part of the adjustment period. Acknowledge it.
Then put a plan in place to accomodate it.
If chocolate, wine, or bubble baths are your relaxation thing, do those. Love walking or exercise? Go for it. Need to binge-watch a few more shows than normal? That’s okay, too. Give yourself the time and space you need to rest and recharge while your brain (and body) acclimates to the new ‘you’.
It’s okay. You can do this.
All images on this post, including header, are from Pexels.com.
How do you approach change? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Have a great week. 🙂