We all experience changes in our lives, but what happens when you have several BIG changes happening at the same time? Even if they’re good changes, they can still cause stress and anxiety in your life. I find myself in this situation as I’m starting a new job after 8 years at the same place, buying a house and moving in a month, and making a shift to the parenting schedule with my stepdaughter. Yikes! How did this all happen at the same time?!
Oftentimes, when we make one change, it has a domino effect and creates other changes. This is exactly what happened in my case, and it resulted in a perfect storm of changes. This scenario is common in stepfamilies as we go through changes such as getting used to new family members or adjusting to parenting schedules. So, what are some strategies for managing these changes?
- Prioritize. Make a list of what needs to be done and prioritize those items according to order of importance. If it’s not important, save it for another time. Focus only on what really needs to be done. For me, this means focusing on my new job and packing up our house and waiting to plan vacations until after I’m settled into my new job and house.
- Exercise. Exercise is one of the quickest ways to boost your mood because it stimulates “feel good” endorphins, making you feel happier and more relaxed. Set aside some time each week to exercise, whether it be a walk, bike ride, or jog. If you’re feeling pressed for time, combine it with things that need to get done. Instead of driving to the grocery store to pick up a few things, ride your bike. Make it a fun adventure with your kids and stepkids!
- Grieve. Allow yourself time to grieve and process your feelings about the changes you’re going through. If you’re moving to a new house, even if you’re excited about the move, take the time to think about all of the good memories you have in your old house. As you’re packing, you can reminisce and work through any lingering feelings of sadness you might have about leaving that house. Your identity is tied to your job, family, and home, among other things. So if you have big changes in these areas, you’re also working through the loss of the person that you were in that house or in that job. It’s important to work through this so that you’re ready for your new adventure.
- Meditate. Think of meditation as a way of training your mind to be quiet and fully present in the moment. I have just recently tried meditation and realized how hard it is to clear my mind of all of the things that I need to do. It takes time and practice to be able to master! Using meditation with affirmations, positive statements that help you overcome negative thinking, is a great way to relax and be confident that everything will be okay. Repeat your affirmations throughout the day. If you need some ideas for affirmations, click HERE. Combine your affirmations with daily meditations for the maximum benefit.
Above all, remember that these changes are part of a “season” in your life. Your mindset about these changes will determine whether these changes affect your life in a negative or a positive way. Try to make the most of these moments and enjoy the positive parts. While moving can be stressful, I’m enjoying the experience of buying a house with my husband and making plans as a family for how we’re going to make our new house “ours.”
What are some changes you’re going through in your life? How are you dealing with these changes? Share your strategies in the comments!