Photo credit: Freeimages.com
As the cooler fall breezes and chilly mornings made an appearance this week, I started to feel a twinge of emotion. It was that low-grade, slightly nauseous panic that—for me—goes along with change. Specifically, the shorter days and cooler weather signal in me an urge to control what I cannot. (No pumpkin spice enthusiasm here!) Of course, this goes far beyond wishing for endless summer and to encapsulate time. Change can stir up emotions, seasons can signal anniversary of loss or struggle, and we may not be fully aware of why our mood or behavior has shifted. Fortunately, through practice, support, and, and the teacher that is the inevitability and constant of change, I have learned to integrate change, shift into excitement (sometimes!), and thrive. I believe this is accessible to anyone, and I invite you to consider some of the following techniques to support your own journey.
If you’ve noticed an increase in stress in response to change, I encourage you take a moment to hit pause. Sometimes this might be the early moments of the morning while the house is quiet, or maybe it’s the 3 minutes that the oven takes to preheat. Stop. Notice. Take a few deep, conscious breaths. See what happens.
Perhaps in your moments of pause or in conversations you have with others about the change, notice what you are telling yourself about change, about yourself, about the situation. If it doesn’t build you up and encourage you (for instance, “I can’t do this!”), challenge that thought (perhaps, “I am capable!”)! Work to catch yourself and reconsider. This might be the time to find a support person, whether that is a friend or family member or a therapist to help support you in challenging old thoughts and behaviors you are ready to. . .change!
Take time to notice and celebrate your victories, measured in whatever increments make sense to you. Allow others in your trusted support team to cheer you on if you need a little boost– and challenge yourself to believe them.
Change is a constant in life. Whether desired or dreaded, planned or unexpected, change can stir up fear and make demands of our courage. Take a moment to pause where you can, seek support in the transition, and be ready to congratulate yourself along the way.
-Maureen Kelleher, ATR, LPC