Tips For Coping with Change

Life never sits still. It’s fluid - always moving, always changing. Sometimes, change is good, but sometimes, it’s not. The people in your life might be the reason for the change.

You may marry or divorce. You may lose a loved one. Sometimes a job change is necessary, but it could be that you may lose a career that you loved. You may have to sell a house or buy one.

Change is something that can be easy to deal with and you might feel excited and ready for it. But sometimes, it wasn’t what you wanted and you weren’t expecting it. That can be excruciating to handle.

There are ways that you can cope with change, and learning how to cope is an important part of self care. Remember that you’re not a robot. You’re going to feel a wide range of emotions.

You might be up one day and down the next. If you’re going through some kind of change, take it easy on yourself. Understand that eventually things will either return to normal or you’ll get used to your new normal.

If the change that happened was one that you didn’t want and it involves another person, don’t jump onboard the blame train. There’s no happy ending destination when you waste time stuck there.

Just accept that this change has happened and go about the business of learning the best way to deal with it. Accept that it might be awhile before things turn out the way you’d like them to.

Change can be a long or a short process. Just be patient and keep hanging in there. When the change that you’re coping with is not a pleasant one, reach out to people who are supportive of you.

Let them know what’s going on. The people who care about you want what’s best for you. They’ll be happy to listen and help with whatever you need.

Getting the emotions out can be beneficial when you’re coping with a change so that you don’t keep everything locked within.

Sometimes, a change is so unpleasant that it rattles you. As long as you train your attention on what’s wrong, on what’s bad about the situation, your emotions will settle there.

All you’ll see is the downside of what’s occurring. For example, you might focus on all of the bad that comes with losing a job rather than seeing the good that could come from it - such as now you’re free to start your own business or move somewhere you’ve always wanted to live and start over.

A good way to practice self care during a change is to make sure you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Take care of what you can take care of today and don’t fret about tomorrow’s problem that the change may bring.

Put yourself at the top of your self care list. Keep your focus on your needs. Rest when you need to. Take five minutes to get alone and meditate if you need to. Whatever your mind or body is in need of, do it.

How Helping Others Can Actually Help You Take Care of Yourself

Helping other people by volunteering your time and talents is a way that you can practice self care. By reaching out and giving of yourself, you also gain. When you’re investing in the lives of other people, you’re giving yourself an outlet.

As you go through your day, you experience things that give you stress. These things can also add to your emotional burden and cause you to feel upset, anxious, sad, or even depressed.

When you volunteer, the act of reaching out to other people alleviates your stress. Many studies have shown that people who volunteer have a higher happiness factor than people who don’t.

One theory for the higher happiness level is thought to be because when a person volunteers, he or she has others around that help to combat negative feelings. When you give of yourself to other people, it causes the brain to release endorphins, which instantly improves your mood.

Some of the happiest people on earth are the ones who spend time volunteering and investing in the lives of other people. It can make you happy to see other people happy just because of something you did.

When you volunteer, it takes your mind off whatever negativity is in your life and helps you focus on the positive. When you feel like you’ve done something uplifting for other people, you end up liking yourself better and you view what you’ve done with a feeling of deep satisfaction.

This allows you to feel peace with your life and with who you are. For people who’d like to find ways to embody self care and choose volunteering, this can give them a sense of direction.

It helps them not dwell on the chaos in their own lives and by pouring out their own time and care, they’re getting that back - whether they realize it or not. When you volunteer, you gain a sense of community, which helps you not feel the weight of your own burdens as much.

Plus, it cuts out feelings of loneliness and can help you forge friendships. You reap physical and mental benefits when you volunteer. Your mood improves, your stress dissipates and that helps you feel better physically.

Studies have shown that volunteering can boost self esteem, and help with anxiety among other benefits. Places you can volunteer at include food pantries, animal shelters, nursing homes or with organizations that build or repair homes for the poor or elderly.

Coping with PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can strike anyone regardless of age. It can be caused by being affected by or witnessing a trauma. It can also be caused by repeated exposure to trauma.

If you have PTSD, it can affect every area of your life unless you learn how to cope with it. When you understand what you can do to cope, it gives you a feeling of control. Some self care strategies you can use for dealing with the condition is to first understand that PTSD is not who you are - it’s about what’s happened to you that’s caused a reaction within you.

Some people with the condition tend to keep it inside for fear that people won’t understand what you’re going through or might judge you. PTSD is something that’s important to talk about - especially among people who understand the condition and the toll it can take on you and your loved ones.

If you have the condition, the best first action step is to join a support group of other people living with PTSD. It can help you forge friendships with people who understand. If you can’t make it to a physical support group, then find one online.

This support is instrumental in your recovery process because one of the things that PTSD can do is make those who have it feel like they’re all alone in their struggles. Learn everything you can about the condition.

This way, when you go through a symptom, it won’t catch you out of the blue. Also learn what your triggers are. This may be a sight, a sound, a place or a smell. Understand that you may need to explain to people what it is that you need from them.

When it comes to family and friends, they mean well and want to help, but they also want to give you your space - even though that may not be what you need. So tell them how they can help you.

Do things that make you feel relaxed or that make you laugh. Learn how to meditate or take up yoga. This can help you learn how to relax and how to deal with the emotions when you’re having a bad day.

Get plenty of exercise. This gives you a natural endorphin boost that can lift your mood and help when you’re dealing with emotions such as sadness or anger. Make sure that the exercise is one that you enjoy. Go easy on yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up when you have a bad day. Take care of yourself physically by getting enough sleep. This part is important when you have PTSD, since a lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms.

Take some time for yourself when you feel that you’ve reached your maximum limit for stress and are about to overload. Get into therapy. A therapist trained in PTSD treatment can help you learn how to reprocess what you’ve been through.

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 Cheers, Helene Malmsio

Related Reading: How to Manage Stress

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