Change is inevitable, sometimes we ask for it or make change happen ourselves and other times, like just now, it’s thrust upon us creating chaos and throwing all plans and routines out of the window but one thing is for certain, change happens whether we like it or not and it’s how we deal with it that affects the outcome and our mental health.
There are two ways that people tend to cope with change and you’re not always going to cope the same way. Do you recognise yourself in either of these coping strategies right now?
- The avoider – you’re denying that the situation is as bad as it really is, avoiding or even hiding from the reality. Acting as if nothing has changed and blindly going about your daily business as normal. An example of this could be the people that are going to the pub for a lock-in when we’ve been told not to meet up with people outside our household.
- The controller – you may not have made this change yourself but now you’re here you’re going to try and make the best of the situation by keeping positive and being proactive. An example of this could be those small business entrepreneurs who are unable to run their regular business so have adapted it to help their local community, or perhaps the family that is making the most of all being home together to make happy memories and getting stuff done that is usually pushed to the side because “there isn’t enough time”.
It could be that you are somewhere in between, flitting between avoidance and proactiveness and that’s fine – it’s actually quite normal. Our emotional response to change isn’t just a single emotion and that’s that, it’s a lot more complicated and it often comes about in four stages, the speed of which varies dependant on what the change is or who we are.
- Stage 1 – Shock and disorientation (that wtf moment!)
- Stage 2 – Anger and heightened emotional responses such as upset, sadness, fear.
- Stage 3 – Coming to terms with the “new normal”
- Stage 4 – Acceptance and moving forward
So during this time of change, it’s likely that you’ll swing between optimism and pessimism and feel emotions such as fear or anger which narrow our ability to think creatively and negatively affect our mood. The ideal is that we move through stages 1 to 3 quickly, but fully, and get to stage 4 where we can accept and move forward as this is where we can start putting in place positive and proactive attitudes and plans.
How do we do that? Here are our tips to deal with change.
- Interact with others.
Utilise the video function on your phone or pc to speak to friends and family, chat through your feelings, let them know how you are and check in on how they are too. Have you been into the LighterLife Fast Facebook group – there are lots of likeminded people there to chat to, we’d love to see you there.
- Focus on the future.
I’m writing this not knowing whether the future for coming out of our COVID-19 isolation is in 3 weeks, 3 months or longer so why not consider a few different futures. A short-term future that looks at things you can do whilst you’re at home, a mid-term which looks towards the summer and a long-term which perhaps looks at the end of the year or even next summer.
- Maintain a sense of humour.
It’s important that in times of high stress we find a release and what better way than through some funnies. We like to start and end our day with a quick search through Facebook for the best and silliest posts of the day. Why not share them on your page so others can benefit too?
- Understand others’ perspective.
We’re in a unique position where the change that has impacted our lives presently is a global issue and so there is a unique sense of togetherness and comradeship, however, that doesn’t mean that everyone is in the same boat. Be sensitive to other people’s situation and try to help out where you can.
- Keep up a regular routine.
This one is a pretty important one, whether the change has impacted your routine, or not, it’s important to have a schedule and a plan in place otherwise we can easily get pulled into a rabbit hole of irrelevance. Try to plan out your day and week so time doesn’t pass you by and so you retain a daily sense of achievement. Look out for a routine post later in the Reset Challenge series.
- Try to eat healthily.
It’s very easy to start eating poorly when normality is no longer normal! Don’t fall into the trap of eating lots of sugary and poor nutritional foods just to make yourself feel better – because that’s not actually going to work. You may feel better for a few minutes but then you’ll be craving something else and before you know it have put on several pounds and are feeling even worse. Don’t let yourself get there by planning your food into your routine and spending a little time working out some delicious healthy meals and snacks which will help you keep your moods more stabilised and waistline more comfortable. We’re sharing some of our favourite recipes over the next few weeks on our social feeds but you can also find lots of delicious ideas in The Fast Zone on our website.
Whilst we’re on lockdown we’ve been advised to walk or jog for 30 minutes a day outside our homes if we can but that doesn’t stop us from doing further exercise in the home. Join us for the squat challenge or work out some fun games with the kids that will increase your heart rate, improve your strength and release wonderful endorphins to help with those positive feels when we are most in need of them.
- Write down the positives
When we think of the positives it puts our brain into a more upbeat space, one of these ways can be by showing gratitude as it’s been proven that if you feel grateful for what you have then you are more likely to feel positive for longer and also more likely to achieve your goals. Consider what you CAN do, rather than what you can’t and either at the beginning or end of the day write down that day’s positive moments. This is great to share with the entire family, perhaps whilst you’re eating dinner.
- And finally, get proactive.
Take charge of what you can, this tip encompasses a lot of the ideas above – consider them and set some goals, make some plans and start enacting positivity and taking control over your life and emotions; this will help you feel stronger and more motivated so you can get stuff done.
We hope that these tips are of use, that you and your family remain strong and positive and that you join us for our Reset Challenge where we’ll support you with food, nutrition, exercise and mindful ideas and tools to help you reach your goals and manage your way through change.
Team Fast x