It’s inevitable that we go through many changes in life, and even the small things can sometimes throw us off course. When it comes to major changes, such as getting a new job, moving, losing a loved one, getting married or having a baby, the ripple effect can be felt in all aspects of your life. In short, change can be difficult to adjust to.
“Whether the change is good or bad, big or small, any disruption in our lives can cause stress and frustration,” said Beth Santine, director of clinical services at New Directions, a company that provides behavioral health services for many Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members. “Practicing resilience and developing coping skills can help make the best of a broken routine or a new challenge.”
When change occurs, you may feel varying levels of anxiety, stress, confusion and possibly self-doubt. The adjustment period can be uncomfortable, but there are some things you can do to make change easier on yourself. Here are a few tips:
- Expect disruption. In the vortex of change, many people expect to go on without missing a beat, as if the change were a simply a minor inconvenience. But this attitude isn’t realistic. If you’re starting a new job, for instance, and are used to performing at 95%, don’t expect to be up to speed immediately.
- Focus on the known. In the midst of change, people tend to over-focus on the unknown because that’s what is causing anxiety. To avoid needless worry and self-doubt, focus on what you know and can control.
- Anticipate change. Change is inevitable so it’s helpful to plan for it. If you have children in high school, for instance, you know they will soon leave home. Establish several game plans for coping with empty-nest syndrome and making good use of your free time.
- Pinpoint patterns. How do you move through change? What kinds of feelings and reactions do you typically experience? Being aware of the patterns you typically following in times of change can help you develop your own personal toolkit of coping strategies.
If a life change has you feeling “off,” consider seeking help from a behavioral health specialist. If you’re employed, your company may offer a behavioral health benefit that can connect you with counseling, crisis support, community resources and other behavioral health tools. For example, many Blue Cross members have access to New Directions, an independent company that provides behavioral health services. You can find more information and a variety of mental health resources at ndbh.com.
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Sources: The StayWell Company, LLC and New Directions