Dealing with Unexpected Change
Dealing with unexpected change can be incredibly difficult. When things happen out of the blue, we can feel disoriented and destabilised, we can also feel shock and a sense that everything is out of place.
What can feel like an unexpected change for one person someone else might take in their stride. We all have different ideas about what is going to change and what is going to stay the same, having said that even changes that we anticipate can hit us in unexpected ways and make us feel discombobulated.
Since the Coronavirus came into our lives, now two years ago, we have all experienced the uncertainty of changing rules, new variants of the virus, and the question of when it will all end. Particularly at the beginning of the pandemic none of us knew what precautions we needed to take to stop the spread of the virus and how bad it would become. As time has gone on, we have grown accustomed to the rules changing and we understand that we need to check things out before we do them, we can’t just travel as we used to, we need to take tests and or quarantine.
In the last few days, we have been told that we now need to wear masks again in shops and on public transport to stop the spread of a new variant. For some this will be nothing and they will just accept and adapt and move on. For others, who have perhaps felt we are coming out of the pandemic, this will feel like a backwards step and a change that they are unhappy to make. It will be a change that they will want to resist and feel resentful of.
Whatever unexpected changes might come our way to trip us up or make us feel off balance, there are things that we can do to support ourselves in dealing with and adapting to the change and how we feel about it.
When we experience a change that is unexpected and that we don’t like we might first try to deal with it by avoiding the situation, this is called avoidance coping. Avoidance coping might include; procrastinating, worrying excessively, using alcohol, drugs or food as a way to escape what is happening. This article on avoidance coping explains in greater depth what it is
There are positive aspects to avoidance coping but on the whole it can create more anxiety than it deals with. Active Coping is the alternative to avoidance coping and involves taking active practical and cognitive measures to deal with the change you face. Below are a list of Active Coping tips.
- Be prepared – Every now and then it can be a good idea to consider what things you can proactively do to be ready for unexpected change. Look ahead considering your life circumstances and consider what could happen and if there is anything you could do now to help yourself in the future. For instance: save money so that you have a buffer if something happens. In the pandemic, consider the possible changes that might happen in the next 2 or three months, what if we are locked down again, what plan B arrangements can you make for Christmas or New Year.
- Take time to think about the change and absorb the new reality. It’s ok to sit with how you feel about a change and feel your feelings of anger, disbelief, sadness, loss and frustration. Talk to someone about how you feel, maybe talk to a counsellor.
- Reframe how you think. Are there different ways that you can see this situation, are there hidden advantages or opportunities. For instance, if we have to wear masks again in shops and on transport, we are less likely to catch colds or the flu.
- Try to maintain a routine. When everything around you is changing and fluctuating maintaining structure and routine in your day is important. Take a look at other blogs we have that can help you in this area.
Purposefully include activities that give you joy or comfort. When you are going through the hardest of changes holding on to things that are comforting is incredibly important, it might be music, walking in nature, talking to friends. Whatever it is it is important to include it in your routine to give balance to your practical situation and you emotional and mental wellbeing. Please take a look at this blog on our website that might help you.
Online resources for dealing with unexpected change
If you are dealing with changes in your life, unexpected or anticipated it might help you to talk to a professional. If you would like to make an appointment with Paul for Counselling, Psychotherapy or Supervision, please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can.