I’m terrible at dealing with change.

Apparently I’m supposed to have some sort of 5 year plan that sees me living in a bigger house, or in a better job, or just generally better. Mostly, though, I just think I would like things to stay as they are.

Where I am right now is comfortable and safe. I know what to expect from right now. Even right now isn’t good I’m still hugely resistant to change as at least this bit of “not good” is predictable and known.

That’s why I stayed in jobs that made me unhappy, up to the point they forced me to jump.

The problem with disliking change is that you rarely get to make change on your terms. Outside influences are more likely to force change on you, which is then beyond your control. When faced with some amazing opportunities my fear of change has very nearly led me to turn some down (you have no idea how close I came to telling Lenovo I couldn’t go to Las Vegas), and to turn others down altogether.

Dealing with change

I find uncertainty and change mentally and physically exhausting. I will research situations endlessly until the information stops making sense. I’ll try to plan for every possible eventuality. But not just once, over and over again. It’s no wonder I hate change so much, I’m mentally exhausted from planning for it before it even happens.

Right now I’m in another moment of change. Mr Chick being made redundant is part of it, but I am also considering taking a leap and making a career change myself. Once again I find myself over researching, procrastinating and avoiding making decisions instead of confidently striding into the future and owning it.

Change is an unavoidable fact of life. nothing stays the same for ever. Avenue Q taught me that. How we deal with it is the only thing we have control over. Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt a lot about dealing with pressure from Sports Psychology. I’m trying to apply that knowledge to my every day life and dealing with change. To learn to embrace change, to be that easy-going, flexible, bold person that I would rather be.

I’ve learnt that routines are important. Just because there are some areas of your life that are out of your control doesn’t mean that everything is. Keep going to the gym, eat your breakfast and lunch at the same time and stick to your daily routine as much as you can. Before bed I always make time to read a book with a hot chocolate, for instance. I do that every day, not matter how busy I am, or what time I get to bed. I try to do it when I’m travelling as well to keep that consistency. Routines keep you grounded and constant when everything else is in flux.

Buffy Mug

I’ve also learnt that times of change are exactly the time when you need to look after yourself. If you’re moving home, or doing something else incredibly stressful it’s easy to feel like spending half an hour painting your nails is a frivolous waste of time. It isn’t. Your mental and physical well-being are inextricably linked and feeling good about yourself physically helps keep your brain in check. Brush your hair, have a bath and put on clean clothes, you’ll be much more prepared to cope.

I’m working hard on not over-analyzing. More knowledge doesn’t always equal more control. I sometimes find it hard to realise when I’ve basically found out as much as I’m going to about a situation or topic. I’ll spend ages reading every last website on the planet that covers that topic. Knowledge is power and in some situations can give you some control and an advantage, but it’s important to learn when to stop researching, and just see where life takes you.

Lastly, tell people how you feel. Don’t try to struggle on and cope with everything without letting on that you are under pressure. At least acknowledge that you might be short of time, or lack focus because of a situation you are in. Let people around you know, they might have advice, be able to offer understanding or practical help. At the very least they might be a little more understanding if you’re not as on the ball as normal.

Do you deal well with change? What are your tips on dealing with change?