You`ve been promoted. You`re engaged. You`ve been solo in your business and you`ve added a virtual assistant. You`re finally getting your knee replaced, something you`ve thought about for awhile. Congratulations! Why does it feel so stressful, when you asked for this change?
It`s that stressful, butterflies-in-the-stomach, sometimes-can`t-breathe feeling, in between the times of pure joy at what lies ahead. But then there`s that stuff, that clutter that`s piled up on your desk. Or your time seems squeezed. Your home has more stuff out and around than usual. Where did that come from and why, when you normally feel in control and organized.
It`s because of the change. If regular life is like calm waters, then a big change like any of these introduces the waves. And like waves running up on the beach, there`s the ebb and flow, the ripple effects, and eventually, a new rhythm to the waves.
What`s happening with these life changes? And what to do to calm the waves?
Let Go and Look Forward
Think about the life changes I listed in the first line. You`re no longer looking out only for yourself; there are more people involved now, to keep track of or care for or to consider as you make decisions. Acknowledge this and you`ll open yourself up to new possibilities, new learning and less stress. Be curious. The stress happens when you won`t let go of how things used to be, to allow the new to have a place in your life. Your mindset needs to shift.
Break Up Time into Chapters or Phases.
With any change, there`s a period of `Oh, my gosh. How am I going to handle this?` An overwhelming feeling of being frozen in time, not so sure anymore of what to do next, or what will happen next. With your knee replacement for example, think about four phases: preparing for the surgery, the time in the hospital, your move home and physical therapy, and your shift back to regular life. Each phase needs different support, different scheduling, and some reorganization at home (physical and certainly systems).
Tackling one phase, and letting the change sink in keeps you in the moment, less stressed, feeling more in control, and also more open to the next phase or chapter.
Give Up Some Control
My experience is that the more we try to control what are unpredictable circumstances (or people), the more stress we experience. When I was a manager, the most structured people had the most difficult time with change. The people who were more laid back had a far easier time of it; they rolled with the changes.
Decide what your have-to-haves are because it will be easier to let go if you know your priorities. Think about other times of change in your life. Rediscover ways you found calm in the midst of the oversized waves.
For example, for me, during different life changes, my calm has been created by: quiet time in the early morning, exercise, a book I could lose myself in, music, puzzles, and my lists.
For different organizing clients, their calm has been: regular time with children or grandchildren; a regular date with their spouse, partner or closest friends; playing the piano; the movies; tea; walking in the woods; 8 hours sleep.
e sure to create this bit of time for yourself. It will have a wonderful rippling effect. How do you calm the waves when they get a little too stormy for you?