Dealing with the Change
Hello and welcome to the Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. It is time for the new school year. Are schools started in your area? My son is starting school this week. Like most of you, I am really anxious about the way this school year is going to turn out. I know, there is already a lot of confusion and discussion about this school year. But we all are trying to do our best to handle the situation in a way possible to us. I would love to hear from you any tips and ticks that are helping you navigate this new reality.
Happy Moment of the Week
Today’s my happy moment is in the same lines. It is not my usual rosy, chirpy moment. As I was telling you, I have been feeling quite overwhelmed with the upcoming school year. I was constantly wondering how we are going to manage once the school year starts. Both I and my husband have continuous meetings in the morning. I am sure Mihir will have his online classes in the morning and Maitreyi, she is free as a bird. I was worried and overwhelmed. Now you will wonder, where is the happy moment in this ? But wait it is coming. For the past couple of days, I was waking up on the wrong side of the bed because of all these worries. Yesterday, when I woke up, I was in the same mood. Every single task in front of me was overwhelming me. The cooking, cleaning, meetings, preparing for back to school, on top of that I have a big project deadline coming in next week. I was worried about every single thing happening around me. Then, I sat down to write my journal. I was struggling to find the happy moment to write in my journal. Then, I decided to be extremely honest and wrote down that today, I am feeling extremely overwhelmed with all the things happening around me. But to my wonder, I did not stop there. Did you know what I write next? I wrote that, I am determined to find a way to handle my thoughts and work on my actual tasks at hand. You won’t believe but right after writing that line in my journal, I started feeling calm. I made a to-do list of all things which were overwhelming me. I wrote down every single, small, trivial thing. As the day went on I was crossing off many tasks in that list. I still have to finish a few items in that list but I am in much more control now. I feel much more grounded. By the end of the day, I am feeling much more relaxed. I am so happy with myself today that I started this journaling practice. Yesterday, journaling gave me an opportunity to handle my stress, my worries in a better way. I am so thankful for this journaling practice. This is definitely a happy moment for me. I am constantly learning new benefits of this practice but this was by far my favorite one. It helped me feel centered and I will never forget this moment of self realization. So, this was my happy moment of the week, little twisted this time, but still a happy one. What about you? What is your happy moment? Close your eyes and think about the moment that brought a smile on your face. Life is a collection of such beautiful moments. Collect those and your world will become much more beautiful.
Alright, since we are already on the topic of uncertainty, changes that are happening around us, I thought I will talk about the ways to deal with these changes. So, today’s episode, episode number 19 is dealing with the change. We all have heard this quote, change is the only constant in life and still we struggle to accept the changes in our life. We like stability, certainty but sometimes change is unavoidable, it is beyond your control. What should we do in those situations? General human tendency towards any kind of change falls into one of these two categories, fight or flight. You either fight the change and try not to accept it or you try to run away from the change. But today, we are going to work on a middle ground. We will try to deal with the changes. Life is all about changes, sometimes it can be painful, scary, uncomfortable but sometimes, it can be beautiful, joyful, sometimes it can be both but that is the way of life. Isn’t it? It is sometimes hard to accept the changes happening around us. We all are experiencing the total shift in our reality for the past few months. We had to change how we go out, how we socialize, how we work, how we learn. There are so many changes happening around us at this moment, that we are bound to feel overwhelmed, even angry, sad, lonely. Some of us have suffered losses, loss of loved one, loss of job, loss of financial stability. These are really painful changes and I am totally with you, in your pain. But most of us, gained extra family time, time to connect with your long lost friends, time to learn something new. These are some beautiful things that came out of this shift. Am I right? Is it worth it to keep fighting the change? Shouldn’t we at least try and acknowledge the change? That’s what we are going to discuss in step 1.
Step 1 - Acknowledge the change.
Life is the process of the change. If you look closely, everyday is different, we experience change in the weather, change in season, change in our emotions, our mindset, our body and still we somehow are not ready for a change. We as a human being love stability. We want certainty, we want to know it all but sometimes, that is not possible. Just think, do you feel Monday blues when Sunday evening rolls around? Because your weekend routine is going to change and you have to adjust to it. Even though this happens every week, you still feel something different on Sunday evening. You get used to your relaxed routine in just 2 days. Same thing happens with the bigger change. The first day of school after a long summer break, the first day of your new job, the first time you start working out in a gym. There is always going to be resistance but what we want to do here is turn this resistance into excitement. It is specially important these days. There is a lot going on in the world right now, the things which were so easy and normal are now not that accessible. Lot of things have changed but does that mean you have to keep on resisting the change? I think it is our social and moral responsibility to accept and acknowledge the change. We need to change our perspective, reframe our mindset. We love control, but at this point you need to know what is in your control and what is beyond your control. I totally understand that it is not that easy. As you must be aware, India is famous for its extravagant weddings. I truly believe in the institution of marriage. But just think about the number changes that it brings in two families. I know you must have heard after marriage, a girl has to change everything, her name, her home. A young, carefree girl suddenly becomes in charge of housekeeping, social relationship building. She has to change her small quirks, small habits which were totally fine in her mom dad’s house but not here in her in-law’s house. She now has to call his husband’s mom and dada her mom and dad. I am all about calling them mom, dad because they are like your parents but it doesn't happen gradually, it happens almost instantly after stepping into their house. But I would go beyond this and say that the boy has to change as well, he now has to grow up, he suddenly gets the responsibility of a girl who is new to the house. It is his duty to make her comfortable. Though not as much as a girl, he has to change his ways of spending his time. Both the families have to adjust to having and not having their girl in the house. It is a big change for everyone involved. But it's been ages that we have accepted this. We all know what we are getting into when we talk about marriage. If we can accept such a huge change, shift in our life, why are we scared of small changes? Let’s accept that life is all about changes. Change is part of life and they often help us grow, developing the skills that we might not have developed if we didn’t have to deal with the change. So, friends, let’s acknowledge that there are going to be changes happening around us and now let’s think beyond resisting that change.
Step 2 - Don’t dwell on the past
We all have a tendency to hold on to our past. Because it is more comfortable and known than the unknown future. Sometimes, you have to let go of what’s already gone, instead appreciate what remains and look forward to what comes next. Is it really useful to dwell in the past? Can you go back and be there forever? No right? There might be some happy memories, some wonderful moments that you want to cherish, I am all for that. If you can draw inspiration from the past, of course do it. But don’t stress out if the things are not exactly the same as the past. I see so many women, talking about their pre pregnancy body and how easy it was to lose weight. There goes the whole struggle to just get back to pre-pregnancy body. Why is it so difficult to accept that you have carried a baby for 9 months, took care of it as nobody could and birthed an entire human being. The body has already been through so much. You know me, I am all about exercising and taking care of your body but getting stressed out and going into a spiral just to get back to your past body is just so demeaning to yourself. It should not be your benchmark. Of course I was no different. I am being extremely honest with you. It took me a lot of self reflection to let go of my obsession over getting back to my pre-pregnancy body. But eventually, I started getting comfortable with the way I look. I started giving more importance to how I feel. I still workout everyday, I still watch what I eat but it is definitely not for getting back to prepregnancy weight but it is to take care of my amazing body, my mind and my soul.
If we keep holding on to that past, how will we make new memories? Don’t be afraid of change. You might lose some good things but the chances are you might get some wonderful things. You hear people saying something like this, “I was so good at poetry. I wish I could have continued, I would have become a really great poet.” The name of the hobby might change but the context is similar. I wish I would have done that. I just want to say one thing, life is not finished till you take a last breath. You still have time, you still have the skill.. If you have passion for something, you will find a way. Have you heard about Louise Hay? She was a motivational speaker and author of several self help books like You can heal your life, The power is within you. She suffered from Cervical Cancer but she was cured. But even after facing such a life threatening disease, she not only lived a long life. She lived a fulfilled life. She established her own publishing house, authored many books, and touched the lives of so many people with her speeches. She even learnt to dance at really old age. Her Age, her cancer survived, did not stop her from learning new skills. She did not dwelled on her past and went into a victim mindset, but in true sense, she conquered her mind, body and helped others to do so. I know, it is not that easy, I hear you my friend. It gets really uncomfortable to come out of your comfort zone and accept the change. But trust me, once you take the first step, it gets easier eventually.
Step 3 - Take Action
It gets really practical now. Change in your daily routine, your schedule is something you need to take seriously. Anticipate the things which might get affected because of this change and be proactive. Let’s take the same example, virtual start of the school. You can tell that is all on my mind these days. Right? Since, kids will be working on their computers for their school time, it is necessary to anticipate the changes we need to make in their surroundings. Before they start the school, allocate a designated spot for them to sit and work on their computer. I understand, not everyone has a separate homeschool room. Work with what you have. You can get a desk and put it in their room or use a dining room table. Try to make all the stationary that they need accessible to them near their desk. Make sure they have a comfortable and calm environment for them to focus. It is a huge change for the kids too. They are not getting the social exposure that they used to get before. It is our responsibility as a parent to help them transition into this new way of learning. You have to be proactive and take actual action to make this change as smooth as possible. I can totally understand these are stressful times for us too. There might be some parents who can not work from home, they have to struggle even more to handle this virtual learning process. There might be a home where both parents are working full time in a high pressure job. There might be a home with multiple kids doing online learning, there might be a single mom or dad trying to make do. It is a difficult situation but try to look at this in a positive way. It is for the protection of our kids and for their teachers. They are safe at home. If we plan, prepare and execute some proactive measures this can become a smooth transition.
As I was telling you, I was pretty overwhelmed till yesterday. I couldn't have recorded this episode till yesterday. I still haven't found a desk or made a proper arrangement for my son to work on his assignments. But I have a plan now. I am prepared to make it work. I am ready to take on this challenge and welcome this change with the positivity and open mindedness. I hope after listening to this episode, you are too.
Step 4 - Manage your stress
This is an extremely important step. I am a big believer in teaching by demonstrating. If I am stressed and I run frantically losing my calm every single second, just because I am really stressed out about the things in my plate, I am sure my kids will pick on it. I lose my right to correct my kids when they show the same behavior when they are under stress. The very first thing that you need to do as a grown up and responsible person in the room is manage your stress. It is absolutely not okay to let your stress take a form of misplaced anger. I know, it is tough sometimes, but there are ways to manage your stress, your anger. A quick 5 minutes meditation, taking a break from the situation just for 5 minutes, diffusing the situation with humor are some of the ways. But I will go one step beyond and say, anticipate even the stressful situations and take proactive measures before it even becomes the trigger point. I would suggest, write down 5 positive things about the change. Read those every time, you feel stressed. Consider, you switched your job and now the new job, new team, new type of work culture is really giving you anxiety. Write down 5 reasons why you switched a job and what did you like in this new job, why did you accept this particular offer. Read this list every time, you doubt your decision.
One more thing that you can do is find your trigger point, what makes you stressed? If you are used to getting your workout done everyday at a local gym but now because of pandemic your gym is closed. Everytime, you remember how this pandemic has affected you and how you are not able to get the workout done, you get stressed. Then, think of a way to get the home workout done before you start your day. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and relieve some of your stress. Stay away from social media as much as possible if the continuous news cycles are giving you anxiety.
I think mindfulness becomes very necessary when we have to deal with change. It helps us remain in the moment. Be fully present in the moment. There is something good in each passing moment, look for those trivial moments that bring you joy and relieve your stress. There is no point of thinking too much about something which is still unknown, instead be present, be aware and be happy in the moment.
Step 5 - Give yourself grace.
If there are things constantly changing around you, you are bound to feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, I totally understand it. You might have to readjust a few things, let go of a few things. In nutshell, you have to be flexible. Always look for positive side effects of change in your life. If you are struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing situations around you, seek help. It is okay to ask for help, ask your partner, your family to cope up with this change. But even after doing all the things that we discussed in this episode, if you are still feeling overwhelmed, give yourself grace, take a break for sometime from all the stressful situations. Go for a walk in the fresh air, clear your head. It is easy to go in a spiral of negative emotions. But trust yourself, you can do this. Who would have thoughts kids to understand the gravity of the situation and stay at home? Was it easy for them not to see their friends? Was it easy for them not to go out to play? They accepted the change and tried to adjust in their own way. All our essential workers, their families did a huge service to society so that we can stay home safely. Just imagine the changes this pandemic brought in their life. We are just normal people sitting in our cozy homes, we can definitely do one thing and that is try our best to navigate this new situation. If we face any kind of stress while adjusting in this new normal, try to work on the cause of the stress. But as I always say, you are a human being, you are bound to feel full spectrum of emotions, so if in any way you are not feeling your 100 % , give yourself grace. It is okay not to have pinterest worthy study space for your kid, do what you can do in your existing space. It is okay to change your schedule based on that day’s requirement. Fine tune your day as you go. Always remember, you are doing the best you can and you are amazing at that. You are in unknown territory, there is so much unknown. Don’t try to control everything. Change is beautiful, it will give you an opportunity to grow. Love this process of change. Just trust, change can be sunshine if you just let it in.
On this note, let’s recap this episode. Today, we discussed how to deal with the change. Since change is the only constant in life. We have to deal with some kind of change every day. We discussed the ways to positively deal with the change
Step 1 - Acknowledge the change
Step 2 - Don’t dwell on the past
Step 3 - Take Action
Step 4 - Manage your stress
Step 5 - Give yourself grace.
This week, let’s try to accept the changes in our life with a more open mind. This week, we have a very short list of action items.
write down at least 5 positive things about the changes in your life.
Prepare in advance for the upcoming change.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Your support and love is what keeps me going. I would love for you to share this episode with your friends and family and of course don’t forget to leave me a review in your podcast app. It helps me bring new episodes each week. Wish you and your kids all the best for the new school year. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change and those who can not change, their minds cannot change anything.”