How to Adapt to Change is my recap of the past season, life’s changes, and how I’ve learned to adapt to them. Growth occurs when we’re faced with both positive and negative changes; practicing tips for adapting to them can help us feel happier and less stressed!
My last blog post was published on July 28th, and since then it’s been a LITTLE crazy:
We traveled to Italy for a friend’s wedding – it was our first time in Italy (and first time to Europe for me).
Major job changes from full-time personal training to part-time training/part-time social media managing for both existing clients and a research company.
Perhaps the biggest news…we have a German Shepherd puppy! Her name is Maya and she’s sweet, funny, and ultra soft to the touch. Unless she starts chewing on your hands/toes/pants.
At My Worst
With all of the above changes, my stress levels started to go woah-woah-woah. Stop everything! But of course, you can’t just stop. So I kept going without taking time to breathe, relieve stress, and “properly” feel the change.
As I began to pick up more social media consulting work, I would squeeze it in whenever and wherever I could. Early mornings, between personal training clients, evenings, and weekends. Allowing myself to have a break from ALL aspects of work made me feel unproductive, so it was a no-break sort of routine. [You don’t have to tell me that that doesn’t really work in the long term, ha!]
Just as I was beginning to find more of a routine between personal training and consulting, Maya entered the picture with her bear-like face and marshmallow paws. If you have any sort of animal –or even, like, human kids—maybe you know what I mean when I say they’re life-changing…and LIFE-CHANGING.
Out went my sense of routine and structure, and in came days where I drove back and forth two or three times during the day to let Maya out, feed her, train her, and of COURSE snuggle with her fluffy self! Ray works all day, so I’m on my own for 2/3 of the day. The second week we had her, I was a mess. At first, I didn’t understand why my stress and anxiety levels were this high. Sure, I let pretty much all-but-priorities fall by the wayside, but wasn’t I happy we had this cute little nugget in our home? I started to doubt my abilities as a puppy parent, trainer, and consultant: cue the waterworks!
This past week left plenty of room for improvement – the only way is up, right? Ray and I continued to work together to GSD with our GSD (haha!). I set a new work schedule with dedicated times for consulting and training, rather than trying to do both all the time. Does it feel normal? Not quite. But my day isn’t stress-and-anxiety-ridden. I’m practicing being PRESENT and going with the flow, even when Maya decides to go out ONE more time, and that time coincides with when I have to leave the house for work.
How to Adapt to Change
Each time our lives enter a new chapter, we have to adjust and adapt to the change. Some of you are better capable of adapting than others (cough me), but no matter where you are, the following tips for adapting to change may be helpful.
Acknowledge that both positive AND negative stressors can have negative effects
Puppies are amazing, but no matter how cute they are, they’re disruptive to the current routine. I didn’t allow myself to think that something as cute as a GSD puppy could negatively affect parts of my life, but it did. And once I was able to acknowledge that (with the help of my therapist), I didn’t feel as guilty for getting frustrated with myself. [Note: having Maya has been one of the best decisions we’ve made together. Although she’s had a few accidents in the house and loves to chew shoes and feet, she’s done nothing to make me think that we shouldn’t have her!]
When you arrive at a new chapter in your life, tell yourself that it’s happening and it ain’t gon’ stop happening. Pause and be present with the transitions, and then try to remember that even good changes can feel overwhelming at first.
After dealing with heightened stress levels on my own for a couple days, I finally broke down and sent Ashley and Erin, a long text about feeling overwhelmed. I also confided in Ray and my sister, and everyone was incredibly supportive. Catherine and Erin both have dogs, and they 100% understood my emotional status; it made me feel less isolated and more confident that we’d get through these puppy stages! Other friends and bloggers with dogs have also been great to turn to for advice and support. Can I give everyone a hug now?
Whether you turn to friends, family, your partner, or a professional, seek support and let it be a way to release all the feels. Confiding in someone—other than yourself—can be a nice way to relieve stress, gain some advice (whether you choose to follow it or not), and connect with others.
Practice saying “no”
I’ve shared this about myself before, but I’m (less) horrible at saying “no”. To people, jobs, tasks, social events…you name it, I’ve probably said “yes” to it. Not always the best quality, as I’ve learned the hard way! 2017 has been The Year of Many Jobs: personal trainer, yoga teacher, social media strategist, and now puppy parent. And last month, I made some major changes to my schedule. I’ve referred out almost all of my personal training clients, save for a handful that I’m able to see in the afternoon after consulting work.
On the social front, I’ve been more careful about how much “extroversion time” I engage in throughout the week. If I’ve had a social weekend, the week is meant to be spent with Ray, Maya, and/or myself in order to recharge and not feel burned out. Although I love spending quality time with friends, I’m starting to realize that if I space things out it feels much more special and engaging.
Saying “no” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re letting someone down or being selfish. Prioritizing and knowing when to say “no” allows us to be the best parent/friend/partner we can be!
Start to practice ‘going with the flow’ and know you are enough
This is something I’m still working on, and I think it’ll be super important for the long-term. Since, you know, change is always happening. When Maya is being crazy, hasn’t eaten lunch, yet needs to go out because I have to go back to personal training, I try to take a deep breath and focus on getting her taken care of first, before worrying about the other 17 things I need to do.
If I look at the to-do list for the day and get overwhelmed by the amount of work, I try to focus on three things at a time and ride out the rest of the day. Adopting a mindset that involves putting out immediate fires first can help us stay present when things get crazy. If something unexpected comes up, it becomes the focus. Going with the flow.
Change is Good, Adapting is Better
When the going gets rough, it can be really difficult to take a step back and view things from a positive standpoint. In fact, we might react to change with negativity, stress, and anxiety. But if we can practice acknowledging change, finding support, saying “no”, and being more present, the change doesn’t seem so daunting after all. I had a hard time accepting Maya’s routine as an integral part of mine, and spent a good two weeks viewing her presence as a distraction from “my routine”. As the days go by and she adapts more to our little family, it becomes more evident that she IS my routine! Or a big part of it, at least. And that’s pretty freaking cool.
I leave you with one of my new favorite quotes from Rolf Gates:
We show up. Burn brightly. Live passionately. Hold nothing back. And when the moment is over, when our work is done, we step back and let go.