Just like January, September is often associated with change and new beginnings, especially for those effected by the academic year. Both my daughters have gone back to University, and I have a student lodger moving in. The weather has become autumnal and I am digging out the winter clothes and folding away the summer gear.
One thing that we can be certain about is that we live in an ever-changing environment. There are different types of change and we implement different ways of coping with change some of them good, and some not so good.
Change can occur in the following ways:
1. Forced change
Through no fault of our own, something can happen which can completely change your life. Sometimes with devastating effects. Take the mudslide in Sierra Leone which happened last August. It destroyed 1,100 houses and killed 500 people. A year later the people affected are still trying to piece their lives back together surviving from one day to the next.
Closer to home, think of the people in Glasgow who turned up to work at the Charles Rennie Macintosh Art faculty to find it burnt to the ground.
2. Voluntary change
These are changes that we make within our zone of control – like getting a new job, achieving a promotion, moving house, working abroad. We might choose to make these changes, but they still have an impact on our day to day lives There will be a period of transition.
3. Third party change
When those who are close to us make changes, we too will be affected. A colleague might decide to leave the team, your manager leaves for another organisation, or in my case, your children leave home. Unlike a fire or a mudslide, these are not life-threatening changes, but you can still feel a strong emotional reaction which may not benefit you or others involved.
How can we cope with change whether self-imposed or out of our control?
1. Sometimes a change comes with a raft of extra things to do. So, do write a to-do list and order them from most difficult to least difficult.
2. Do at least one thing on this list every day. Some days you will be able to tackle the biggest challenge on the list but there will other days when the small tasks are all that you can handle.
3. Recognise that you are important, and you are your best resource. The less you do for yourself the more depleted you become and then the change you are experiencing may occur as overwhelming.
4. Be patient. You don’t have to do everything at the same time, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
5. Think of others impacted by the change you have made. You may be moving to your dream job, but what about those you’re leaving behind? Be mindful that they may be worried about the impact on themselves and others. Check that things are in place to mitigate their anxiety as far as you can.
6. At the same time do not assume that all is fine and dandy with the person going to their dream job, or new home. Despite loving university my daughters still have days when they are homesick and worried about studies and finances.
If you are going through change and are struggling, I am here and I can help.
You don’t have to do everything yourself or on your own. Contact me about my coaching workshops for individuals and groups going through change.