When change becomes too much.
We know that life changes; we change, our likes and dislikes change, our behaviours, friends, jobs, relationships, financial status, living environment, habits, health and beliefs change over time, and yet we don’t always find change easy to deal with. We are naturally creature of habit. Many of us have a tendency to try to keep some sense of order in our lives, and endevour to sustain a degree of predictability allowing us to maintain a sense of control. Should this stability disappear we can be thrown into a different state entirely; this may be one of excitement (which we may find energizing), or it may be one of despair, fear, overwhelm or anxiety, causing us to believe that we are a failure or leaving us feeling permanently “on guard” as if watching and waiting for the next disaster to happen. We may feel useless because we don’t know what to do or how to manage the changes and our feelings around them.
Some of us will thrive on living on our wits, allowing the wind to blow what it will at us, providing us with a sense of freshness and new opportunities. For many of us though, we spend much of our lives repeating patterns and habits. We probably get up around the same time each morning, go to work/ take the kids to school/walk the dog etc. around the same time and in the same way each day. It is widely cited that we make around 35,000 decisions a day. If every day we had to remake all the small and relatively unimportant decisions of daily life; from what to eat for breakfast to which is the best way to get to work, we would become overwhelmed and worn out before we even begin to get to the important decisions that will make a difference to us. Habits and routines offer a way for the mind to be on auto-pilot if you like, preserving energy and allowing us to have more free space and time to think about the things that may have a greater impact upon our quality of life. However, no matter how much routine we build into our existence life has a habit of throwing the unexpected at us and presenting us with situations that mean that we cannot rely on our usual patterns of actions and thoughts.
Some of these life changes are predictable, or at least we have warning of their imminence, whilst others can come out of the blue. We may be faced with our children leaving home, a relationship breakup, being made redundant, having to care for our aging parents, having a life-changing illness or injury, our children not getting the grades/ job that they wanted, discovering that we have been left, as sole benefactor, great aunt Edna’s donkey sanctuary, or that our partner has secretly gambled away the savings and house.
How we manage changes is dependent upon various factors;
- our state of being at the time- are we fit, healthy and full of energy,
- are we free from too much stress-if we already have a lot on our plate just one more thing (no matter how tiny or trivial) may tip us over into overwhelm and panic -even if we know that usually we are perfectly capable of coping.
- our personality type -do we tend to thrive on challenges and embrace them as opportunities to learn new skills and make positive changes or avoid them like the plague.
If you find yourself feeling as if you can’t cope these tips may help:
- Most of us, at some point (or several points) in our lives will feel like this- it is normal.
- Consider if this were happening to your best friend, what would you expect of them and say to them?
- Be compassionate to yourself- things are hard enough for you right now as it is.
- Talk to someone you trust
- Get support
- Eat well and rest plenty
- If you hear your critical voice telling you that you SHOULD be okay and able to manage don’t listen to it.
- Do something every day that you enjoy and is purely for you.
- Try not to believe that just because you are feeling overwhelmed, incapable, anxious or fearful you are in any way a failure- You are a human and doing your best. That is all we can do and is enough.
- Recognise that this is a stage and things will change.
If you would like professional help please contact me.