Last week I wrote about the Winds of Change have spoken – you can read it here: Click here little did I know at the time that my security rug was going to be pulled out from under me again.
Towards the end of last week, I received the news that all the residents in our complex will need to relocate for approximately 8 weeks starting with the floor I’m on (ground floor). The complex management has discovered a problem with rising damp and feel that instead of waiting for the problem to get worse, they would rather deal with it now. Yes, the residents will be inconvenienced but will benefit us all in the long term.
I’ve just moved into this complex. I’ve only been here for two weeks. I’ve just nicely got my things in the place where I want them. Have my curtains hanging and my pictures on the walls. Now everything has to be cleared out and moved to another place only to be relocated again in about 8 weeks from now.
Dealing with stress from unexpected change takes time:
Unexpected changes such as job loss or financial uncertainty, can turn life upside down and I’ve gone through both recently besides other stress relating to health (my own and my mom) and my mom’s death. Dealing with stress and a “new normal” can be slow and painful, but it is possible.
Stress affects our health and relationships. Even if we do not talk about it, those around us – our family, friends and co-workers – still pick up on our body language.
As much as I fear the unknown, the unfamiliar is not to be feared. It can be a chance to turn your life around. During the last few major changes I have learned a few things . . .
Don’t just do something: Sit there: When I’m facing major change in my life, my natural instinct is to go into “action” mode and DO something, but there is actually a lot of value to just sitting quietly instead. You need to allow yourself an unproductive period before you can blossom.
Make yourself little: When you suddenly have to deviate from familiar routines, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. It is absolutely crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Preparing nutritious meals for the week in advance is helpful. If you are able to spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. It is important for you to take care of yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.
Ignore your inner reptile: There’s a part of the human mind that is referred to as the “Lizard Brain”, because it existed even in the earliest land animals. The Lizard Brain is concerned with survival, it likes the tried and true, so it is likely to pop up right now, flooding you with warnings of “danger!” as you veer off course. It is like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying.
Silence you inner know-it-all: It helps not to be too smart. Smart people don’t like having their minds changed. If you’re so smart that you can’t rethink your positions, all you IQ points won’t do you much good when your life is turned upside down.
Look for new perspectives: Zen practitioners cultivate the “don’t know” mind: they work to assume they don’t know anything and in that way see the world afresh. This is a great way to approach change – because an opportunity to start afresh, to consider all possible. Ask naïve, wide-eyed questions of anyone who is doing anything you might be interested in trying. Listen seriously to arguments you might once have missed.
Try something new and slightly scary: Why? Because now is the time to explore what it is that you really like. Catch yourself off-guard, do something spontaneous that you have never done before and see what happens.
Be sceptical of common wisdom: It is dangerous to live in the aggregate, especially when you’re trying to figure out your next move. One year, everyone knows you need an M.B.A. to succeed at anything. The next year they will be telling you you’re wasting your time because there are no jobs anyway. Set your sights on what you want to achieve.
Learn to live with uncertainty: The anxious feeling does not signal that you are doing something wrong, only that you are trying something new.
Say “really?” a lot: When you start to turn this sudden shift in your life to your advantage, you might shake up a lot of people, especially the ones who are not happy with the way you are living. To them, your efforts to move forward may feel like a glaring searchlight that needs to be switched off and fast. To their descriptions of the terrible fates that will surely befall you if you dive headlong into a new life, respond with “Really?”. Alternatively, “oh yeah?”
Shed your old skin: Discard physical clutter, tired ideas, old routines. Seeing things through another’s eyes can help. It is only when you have cast off what has been weighing you down that you can finally move on.