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Coping with Change

I don't know if you are feeling it, but I am sensing great change in the air, and I think more than a few people are just a tad stressed out over it. Living in the country, the changes are so obvious. Our yard is surrounded this year by corn fields and during harvest, I am always amazed by how quickly the landscape can change. For the past 3-4 months, our yard has been nestled in the center of 8 foot corn fields. And literally overnight, once combined, can be mowed off to essentially nothing. Talk about changing landscapes!

So much is in transition right now, the economy, the presidency, the seasons. It is no wonder why people are a bit on edge. Over the weekend we saw our first snowfall, and while in in the depths of denial, I am working on trying to see the beauty in the change, and embrace it with open arms.

How do you deal with change? Here are some thoughts I have on how to maintain your sanity, if you have others, I would love to hear them:

1. Admit to yourself that things are changing: Change doesn't always have to be a negative thing. And while sometimes it can be scary, there are often good things that come with change. Have you ever moved into a new house, a new car. You didn't feel the need to cling to your old one, you accepted that you were moving forward, and didn't feel the need to look back. See the changes happening in your life now as positive ones. Even if you can't understand how they can possibly be positive, try to keep a positive attitude, you never know kind of gems could be hidden in this landslide. Admitting that change is effecting you is the first step. The next is to assure yourself it won't last forever.

2. Disconnect: In times when you are feeling overwhelmed, you might need to find some time to unplug from what is going on in the world. The media can have a tendency to focus on the negative things going on, and if that is your only influence, it can be easy to be depressed or anxious. Sometimes, if even for just one day, unplug from the news or from TV shows and movies which are violent in nature. If you need a little info fix, check out who chooses to focus on more inspirational messages.

3. Slow Down: Are you just too overwhelmed? Say no to one thing and take time for yourself. Find a quite place to just relax and "be." It is becoming more and more difficult to do this, but find a library, a park, a bookstore and just spend some quiet time by yourself. Putting on earphone, even if nothing is playing sends a message that you are busy doing something. Take a yoga or meditation class, or just go for a walk and breate. I always come back to the airline saying "affix your oxygen mask first, before helping others." You need to take care of yourself first, before you are any good to those around you.

4. Appreciate the beauty in life: What kind of natural beauty is all around you that you are too busy to even notice? Find a local flowershop, or the one in the grocery store, and take some time looking at the flowers, really looking at them. Appreciate their beauty. As I was driving in to work this morning, it was the beauty of the sun rising above the trees, the beautiful orange glow over the land. What about a plant in the office, take time to really look around. Are you surrounded by beauty? Make an effort to notice one beautiful thing today.

5. Get some perspective: When you look at your life, what was the absolutely worst thing you have had to deal with? How does that compare with today? You have likely dealt with many things that were essentially more life changing or traumatic that what is happening today and yet you are still here, and likely stronger for it. So see this as a small part of the overall life lesson plan, have some perspective and know that you will come through, stronger, wiser, or more complete when it is all over.

My daughter was born weighing less than a pound, 15.6 ounces to be exact. I keep a picture of her when she was little next to my bedside, and no matter what I have gone through that day, it is a reminder of a day which was so traumatic and life-changing for my husband and I, and yet we are stronger for having to deal with that change. This Thanksgiving our daughter, Hope, will turn 12 and is a happy and healthy beautiful young lady. Because this process and the perspective she has show us over the years, I have decided to write a book about our journey, which I hope to have the initial draft finished by her birthday. I will keep you posted as the book progresses.

6. Do something for someone else: What else can make you feel better than helping someone else. It doesn't have to be a major gesture, just something. Pay it forward. Open the door for someone, pay someone a compliment, let another driver into your lane, give your spouse or child an extra hug or kiss today. Make dessert, or have a special treat today, just for the fun of it.

7. Have fun!: When was the last time you did something fun? Something a little crazy, maybe even childish? Buy yourself a cotton candy, or your favorite childhood candy. Find a little container of bubbles, this also helps release stress because you are forced to breathe. Spend five minutes doing something you loved as a child, playing with a hula hoop, jumping rope, or playing with playdough. Sing a song you remember from your youth. My personal favorite is "B is for Bubble" from Sesame street. Find something that can't help but put a smile on your face, or make a funny face at someone else just to see them smile.

8. Surround yourself with positive people: We all know them, there are people who can suck the life right out of you and others who you leave feeling alive and recharged. Who is that person for you that you just love being around? Find a way to touch base with them today, even if for a quick chat, you will likely come away revitalized.

9. Do something for yourself: Do something, anything to help you feel pampered. It doesn't have to be costly or elaborate, but just take time to take care of yourself. That might include: putting on an outfit that makes you feel great, giving yourself a pedicure, taking a bubble bath, listening to a great song. Forget about the fact that the laundry isn't done, or your house isn't clean, take 30 minutes and do something for yourself.

10. Take a deep breath and relax: You can do this several times during the day, be cautious that your co-workers or family aren't getting the wrong idea. Deep breaths and belabored sighs are not the same. I like to try to make a conscious effort every hour on the hour, take a second and breathe. One nice long breath in and out. Survey your body, are your shoulders tense? Consciously relax them. Shake your arms out or roll your head to stretch your neck. We hold a lot of stress in our bodies, and I believe after a while it can really take a toll on your health. Remember to breathe!

 There you have them, my top ten for surviving change. What makes your list? Pick on or more and give them a try, see if you don't feel just a little bit better for it. Just writing the list made a difference for me.

What are your secrets for dealing with change?





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