How do you cope in challenging, unexpected times? Do you go with the flow, or, are you completely put-out and overwhelmed? Or perhaps you’re right in the middle; you’re a little bit miffed or paralysed as to how to respond and adapt? Undoubtedly, all has been revealed thanks to ‘the ‘rona’ (aka novel coronavirus aka COVID-19). Our flight/fight natures have been exposed, and as we’re now in the thick of it you might be wondering how on earth do you prevent these horrible ‘change’ feelings from occurring ever again?
Our student counsellors are available to support you during this unique (and are there even when there isn't a pandemic). Here are my tips to ensure you can channel your inner scout, and ‘Be Prepared’ for all things ‘change’ that will inevitably come your way again.
How can I prepare for change, so I’m not caught so off guard again?
Acknowledge that change is always coming and that it requires flexibility and learning, and that it can bring about positive and negative emotions. Change can also be disruptive.
The good news is that we all deal with change in our lives. You also will have dealt with change many times in the past including changing jobs, commencing study, moving to a new house, finishing school or beginning a relationship. You’ve inevitably dealt with change before – so it’s imperative to acknowledge this, and:
- Be positive by taking note (make a list) of everything good and helpful that will come out of change.
- Think about what strategies you put in place that helped you get through change in the past. What actions did you take that really worked? How did you deal with change in your communication with others around you? Did you reach out and check-in? Did it help?
- Problem solve and write down what you need to do and can do that is within your control.
Okay, so given change/COVID-19 is here – what should I be doing?
- Maintain a positive and proactive approach as outlined above. Refrain from pondering on a lot of negative information or negative thoughts. Social media can impact your thoughts for good and the not-so-good. Manage your social media time (and news cycle time) and the perspective you are embracing. Stick to facts only, and you don’t need these (facts) rehashed several times a day.
- Recognise your feelings throughout the change process, and explain to your children (if you have them) that they too can talk about their feelings.
- Maintain your wellbeing through eating and keeping hydrated, connecting with friends and family, and being physically active.
- Remember to smile and take deep breaths.
- Try and establish some sort of routine where you engage in activities you enjoy. For example, for 30 minutes a day I will make a cup of tea or coffee (drink of choice) and read the newspaper, a book, or go on social media (with balance).
- Celebrate your successes through the change process.
- Seek help from people or organisations who can help with specific strategies and tasks on your to-do list. Your list could be as simple as finding out about a particular matter relating to health, finance, tenancy, or communicating to children.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed and if anxiety remains or increases, consider getting professional counselling support. There are many organisations who can support you. Some of these organisations provide telephone and online support. Our student counsellors can direct you to appropriate support. Also consider talking to family and friends who can help and provide emotional sounding boards.
How do I progress from just ‘coping’ with change, to actually ‘embracing’ or even perhaps getting excited about it?
- Remain calm and remember some change can bring about good. Recognise that some change is very different from what you have known, yet great benefits can come from it.
- Understand and differentiate between what you can control and what you cannot. Understand that you cannot change the things you cannot control, and equally; be positive about what you can control and run with it..
These are unprecedented times – just like they all are. Understanding this very fact, identifying what works for you, curating your information intake, maintaining routines and seeking help if needed are the best ways you can continue to look after yourself and those around you. And most importantly, remaining positive – we will get through this (change).
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