Whether you like it or not, change is going to happen. But dealing with change, well, that is something we could all use a life hack for now and then. The key is figuring out how to deal with change in a way that makes everything bearable.
Read on for the biggest life and work changes and how you can make them less painful.
Phases of life
No one goes through life without experiencing some changes. According to “How to Deal With Major Life Changes” by Martha Beck for Oprah.com there are four major phases of how people deal with change: dissolving, imagining, re-forming and flying.
- Dissolving—The first phase, and according to Beck the scariest, is when our idea of who we are simply goes away as a result of some major event affecting our lives. Her advice is to focus your attention on what is happening here and now, while seeking out things that comfort you.
- Imagining—This phase is when you start seeing what your future can be and begin making changes, inward and outward, to reflect this. Beck wrote, “Moving through this stage, you’ll start to feel an impulse to go from dreaming (imagining possibilities) to scheming (planning to bring your vision to fruition).”
- Re-forming—Feeling the urge to start making things happen? Then you have entered stage three. The key during this period is to realize that as you make these concrete steps forward, more often than not, you will fail and have to start over again.
- Flying—The final stage is the payoff, when all your pain at dealing with change brings about some much needed happiness. Take the time to enjoy this moment and make any small tweaks you may need.
You’ve got some life hacks to help you anticipate what a major change is going to put you through, but how to deal with specific monkey wrenches life and work throw at you? Shana Aborn offered some suggestions in “How to Cope with Major Life Changes” for Family Circle.
- Moving—Whether it is starting out in college, or moving on to “real life,” any time you change towns, states or countries, you’re going to have some stress to manage. Aborn advised thinking of this type of change as a research project, where you get to seek out new information about what your new home has to offer.
- Divorce—Maybe it is your parents, or even later in life, you and your spouse, but coping with divorce and the resulting change is no easy feat. Don’t focus on the anger or fear. Lean on friends or any other form of a support group you may have.
- Serious illness—When a big health problem strikes you or a loved one, it can throw you for a loop. Aborn wrote, “you realize how vulnerable you are and the future no longer seems so certain.” It’s ok to be emotional, but also remember that a good laugh can help.
But those aren’t all the changes you will experience in your life and work. There are many upheavals, big and small, that can occur in your place of work. Whether you have a part-time gig during school or are preparing to enter the workforce, there are things you can do to prepare for such changes as losing a job, switching jobs or getting a new boss.
Diana Lillicrap posted on May 23, 2013, for Minnesota Women in Marketing & Communications at mnwc.org, “5 tips for dealing with Change in the Workplace:”
- Change your perspective. Faced with something new at work? Try to see it as a positive.
- Keep on keeping on. Change freaks us out because we feel out of control. So find something that you can control and focus on that.
- Self reflect. Most likely the stress you feel is self-imposed. Try to figure out how you react to stress, so you know how to handle your change-related stress symptoms.
- Stay well-connected. Having a network both inside your workplace, and out, will help you not only stay on top of trends, but also help you out should things get crazy at work.
- See the big picture. The change or upheaval that is currently happening is one blip in the big picture that is your career. Be flexible, but don’t let work break your spirit or your overriding goals.
No matter what life throws at you, dealing with change is doable if you have some life hacks to help. Try to be flexible to help you adapt. Stay in the moment, so you won’t get overwhelmed. Find things to be grateful for and focus on them. And finally, learn to accept that change happens, you can’t control everything, but you can control how you deal.
What are some ways you have figured out how to handle major life changes? Let us know in the comments.