Since March 2020, the UK population has got more familiar than ever with the concept of change. Lockdowns, masks, restrictions, school closures – we’ve had them thrown at us at short notice, having to muddle through and find the best way to deal with it.
As restrictions ease in the UK, change is upon us once again. Maybe it’s changes in school or college, further changes to work habits, or starting to get out more when you’ve been shielding for months. Lots of us struggle with change and it can contribute to feelings of hopelessness or anxiety. Here are my top tips for coping with whatever changes life presents…
Talk About It
Find someone to talk to about how you’re feeling about the changes. It may be that your friends or colleagues are feeling the same apprehension – maybe you can work through some of it together. Find out what they’re doing to cope and share ideas on what could make things easier.
Talking about it may also help you to process any difficult emotions that arise from change (anger, sadness, fear) so find a friend and have a chat.
Focus on what you can control
Unless you’re a politician, you probably won’t have control over things like school closures and lockdowns. This feeling of being out of control can make panicky feelings and anxiety overwhelm you. So focus on the things you can control.
Structure and routine are often great comforters in times of change, so try to look at how you can make sure your life has some routine. For example, try to get up at roughly the same time every day and get enough sleep so you’re feeling better able to deal with what’s happening.
Look After Yourself
Change (even when positive) can often bring stress which can have a negative effect on your health and your mental wellbeing. Try to be compassionate to yourself, give yourself time to process what’s going on and make sure you practice self care. Looking after yourself can help you be more resilient, allowing you to bounce back when things have been hard.
See my 5 Self Care Activities That Won’t Cost You A Penny for some ideas.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve let the initial idea of the change sink in, develop a plan of how you might deal with it. Think about what your priorities are and plan for an alternative way to fit these into your life.
Actively planning for how you might manage any change can help you to prepare and focus on things within your control.
Look at the Positives of Change
Of course, the pandemic has brought with it lots of fear, uncertainty and anxiety. But the huge change that has swept the UK can have its positives too.
Maybe you’ve been able to access job or work experiences opportunities from farther afield than ever before.
Maybe you’ve learnt how to use new technology or methods of communicating and can embrace this new skill set. Maybe you’ve made new friendships or resurrected old ones through having the time to invest in them more via text or zoom. Maybe you’ve rediscovered a craft or found a new hobby that you’ve never had time for before.
Concentrate on the positive aspects of change if you can. This ties into gratitude, and being thankful for what we have. Over time this should help reframe how you’re feeling about the changes you face.
Amy is a qualified counsellor working in Kent and online with adults and adolescents. Amy works with a range of issues and specialises in working with neurodivergent individuals and their families.
For more information, contact Amy here.