Life has a rhythm. Some seasons are busier than others, some are quieter and more predictable. Workloads ebb and flow. Relationships evolve. And then there are the curveballs thrown our way.
Our lives change no matter what, and that change can be hard. But adjusting how we look at change can improve our attitude. Instead of dreading or avoiding it, expect it, account for it and welcome it.
Take stock on a regular basis.
Look back on your life five years ago. The routine you had was probably vastly different than the one you have today. Situations in life change. Maybe you’ve had children, started a new hobby, gotten a job promotion or changed careers entirely. Evolving as a person is an amazing thing, but with it comes adjustments to daily life.
Every three months or so, pause to reflect and write down what is working in your everyday life and what isn’t. Consider what you could take off your plate — and what you would like to add. Be realistic about the number of hours you have available.
Don’t forget to account for downtime and self-care! If you pack your schedule chock full of work and activities, you won’t leave any wiggle room for last-minute changes or flexibility. Just because there are empty hours or days on the calendar doesn’t mean you should fill them.
Accept what you can control — and what you can’t.
It can be hard to let go when things don’t go according to plan, and that strong pull to control can cause stress and anxiety.
Recognizing and accepting what you can and can’t control can ease your mind. Make a list of what is troubling you. Categorize the list into what can be controlled and what can’t. If something can’t be controlled, ask yourself, “How can I make peace with that? Can I ask someone for help with this?” This list can empower you to let go of what’s out of your hands.
If anxiety about performance, appearance, relationships, work money or anything else begins to get in the way of your day-to-day life, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. According to the Mental Health First Aid manual, 54% of women and 46% of men experience anxiety disorders. Anxiety can also increase the risk of developing depression or nonsuicidal injury.
If anxiety persists, talk with a qualified professional, such as a counselor or therapist, about the challenges you’re facing. They can offer appropriate treatment and exercises to improve your mental health.
Help others understand the season of life you’re in by communicating your abilities and challenges. Voice what you’re capable of handling and what’s unrealistic. Be confident in your answers.
If you’re not be able to take on tasks or roles one moment, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to down the road. Expressing your limits will help the other person understand where you’re coming from.
Whether it’s starting a new job, kicking off a project at work or gearing up for extracurricular activities with children, daily habits and routines fluctuate. And there may be big emotions attached to those changes! Validating those feelings can help you welcome the transition.
When you’re honest with yourself, you can #BeTheDifference to your own mental health. You can be the example to others. Learn more about Mental Health First Aid by finding a course near you.
Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA. National Council for Behavioral Health d/b/a National Council for Mental Wellbeing.