No matter how much personal development you’ve done, some changes feel like you’re on a personal roller coaster.
You swing from the high of ‘oh wow, it’s really happening’ to ‘oh no, what on earth am I doing’.
It’s what I experienced after I decided to move to Fiji. At first, I was excited. Then I started to pack up my beloved home and say my goodbyes- cue teary moments and thoughts of staying put!
It’s not unusual to have this response when you get something you want. Legendary coach Martha Beck described a client of hers getting an international role she’d dreamed of, then curling up in a ball on the sofa as she realised the enormity of the change before her.
Change involves walking an untested path, even a change we long for. And anything untested in scary. What do we do when we’re scared? We want security. So, we start to doubt ourselves and our choice. We get wistful about our current state, imperfect as it may be. And we may even stop the process of change completely if it feels too scary.
We may find ourselves snapping at those closest to us because we are so overwhelmed with stress. We might get teary in quiet moments. Our bodies may be tense. We may lose our appetite or have trouble sleeping.
Logically you know that the change is good, but your heart is trying to play catch up.
So even though those around you might be excitedly telling you how great it all is, inside you may be feeling very differently.
If you are feeling this way – it’s okay. It’s normal.
The key thing is to get through to the other side, through this unchartered portion of the journey to your dreams.
The good news is, there are some things you can do to help you.
What to do?
First of all, acknowledge how you are feeling, and tell yourself it is okay to feel that way.
If you are piling any shame or other negativity on yourself, please let it go. Imagine yourself throwing that emotional junk off your back and into a canyon so deep you can’t even hear it drop. Do this over and over again with the same emotional baggage until you feel lighter. Then move onto the next piece. Alternatively, you may wish to imagine a different scenario that suits you- perhaps sending the concerns off into a little boat and pushing it to God or the higher power you believe in. Choose something that resonates with you.
Second tip is to take away the mental load as far as possible.
Schedule appointments in an electronic calendar and make sure you put in travel time, so you aren’t over committing yourself. Write a to do list for each day of the week which you can then electronically delete as you complete the tasks. I like to keep my phone handy as I do my evening meditation and quickly list what comes up (usually in the first ten minutes) then my mind is free to relax. By being organised in this way you free up your mind to make decisions, rather than have your thoughts churning away in the background about things you can offload.
Third tip is to nurture yourself. Any change, good or bad, involves additional stress, so it’s vital that you increase your self-care. Time is often at a premium during a change so find something that suits the time you have available- the last thing you need to do is add an additional burden at this time, even a good one!
Here are the top three things that helped me:
- A simple routine of nurturing: mine involved breath meditation morning and night and a short yoga practice each morning.
- Reaching out: I would talk to a friend or family member about how I was feeling. And I relied heavily on a coach to get an objective perspective.
- Spiritual practice: I found the Psalms of the Bible very comforting, as there are so many which involve asking for help in difficult times. Whatever your belief system, there are likely to be words of wisdom in a book or from the kind words of a spiritual leader.
- Mindset- I wrote affirmations every night that were the opposite of my worries. For example, if I was worried I would not find somewhere to live in my new country, I wrote down ‘I have easily found a home I love in Fiji.’ Write the same thing over and over if you have to, until you feel comforted. No one else has to see this, so it doesn’t matter.
All is Well
Write this down somewhere and read it over and over. As hard as it is to believe, we are never brought to a situation without being given the resources to get through it along the way, even though at times it seems we are alone without a helper in the world! Know that you are precious, loved and that God has a good plan for you. The hardest part is trusting that the steps lead to a positive outcome when you cannot see them!