Dealing With Change in Time of Uncertainty

By: Deon Ambersley, MSW, RSW

We are experiencing a massive collective shift right now.

As we continue to face the realities of COVID- 19, we are in the process of accepting a new normal. Social distancing, face masks, Zoom calls, you name it — they’ve now become aspect of our everyday lives, leaving many longing for the way things used to be.

The world as we knew it has changed.

Most of the clients I work with are often going through some aspect of change and are looking for assistance to get through the process. Whether it’s trying to lead a healthier life or challenging thoughts or behaviours which no longer serve them, adjusting to change can be tough. As creatures of habit, we often like what we like and want to maintain it. However, change is inevitable, and sometimes outside of our control. Right now, in the wake of COVID-19, there is a lot of change going on. One of the things I’ve recognized in working with clients who are going through the change process is it becomes easier when you embody a certain mindset.

Here are my top 3 tips for going through change:

1) Focus on what you can control

A lot of times when we are faced with a difficult situation, we tend to get stuck in the way we wish things could be. This often causes a conflict within us, that makes it harder to work with our current reality. Focusing on the things you can control will leave you feeling more empowered. We can control what we do to maintain our health, to some extent how we spend our day, as well as where we focus our attention. Don’t get stuck on what you want things to be, but also look at how you can embrace how they are.

2) Make the most of what you’ve got

Things we used to take for granted, to some extent, are much harder to now come by. Socializing, shopping and simply our way of being are not what they used to be. For example, a lot of celebrations have been cancelled due to social distancing measures. However, there have been a lot of creative graduations, weddings and birthday celebrations, which have happened due to this. A dream wedding of 150 people is certainly the fairy tale, but a wedding with much fewer isn’t any less meaningful.

3) Minimize outside chatter

A positive mindset really makes the world of a difference when going through change. However, it is difficult to maintain this if you are constantly bombarded with doom and gloom. Try to minimize how much you expose yourself to this. This may mean, watching less news or avoiding that friend who doesn’t have the most positive outlook. When we let go of ideas around how things should be and adjust ourselves to the moment, it becomes much easier to deal with challenges that we’re faced with. Finding a mindfulness practice may also be very helpful in cultivating a positive mindset in order to deal with change.

I do want to acknowledge that for some, social distancing measures are a temporary inconvenience, while for others these measures elicit a lot of fear and anxiety. While anxiety is a normal response to uncertainty, if you have become overwhelmed by it, seeking support may be helpful.

My Favourite Quotes

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Lao Tzu

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end
of your comfort zone.”
Roy T. Bennett

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have
power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

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