Changes and periods of uncertainty are inevitable in life. We all go through it, but for some people it’s easier to deal with change and uncertainty than for others.
Change and uncertainty can have a big impact on you and may bring up a lot of emotions. It can be stressful, overwhelming, scary, challenging, new and uncomfortable.
But it can also be exciting at the same time.
This past year I’ve gone through quite a couple of big changes in my life. I got married, quit my job and moved to the US. Recently my husband and I moved back home again and now I find myself surrounded by uncertainty.
I have a million questions in my head: Are we going to find a place to live? Where are we going to live? Am I going to find work? What will I be doing? Will I like it? And I can go on and on.
Perhaps you’re going through a big change or period of uncertainty in your life too. Moving to a different city or country, changing jobs, going back to school…
You know that your current situation is going to change, but you don’t know how things are going to be. It’s uncertain and you may have asked yourself some of the same questions that I’ve asked myself.
I’ve never been a hero at dealing with change and uncertainty. But through experience I’ve learned how to deal with it in a better way. In this article I’d like to share 5 tips to help you deal with change and uncertainty better. Hopefully, this makes things a little bit easier for you.
1. Don’t Resist Change
Change can be scary. You’re leaving something behind, but you don’t know what you’re going to get in return.
There’s a lot of uncertainty involved and you may have the strong urge to hold onto what’s certain and to make sure things says the same, because that feels comfortable.
But resisting change and uncertainty can be frustrating and it can make you feel stuck.
When you’re resisting change, you’re actually resisting loss. You’re afraid to lose something you have, even if it’s not necessarily a perfect or desirable situation, because at least it gives some certainty.
Rather than struggling against change, the uncertainty and the unknown, try to go with whatever comes. Change is a beautiful opportunity to learn, develop and grow. If you try to see it that way, it will be easier to let go of the resistance you have and to just go with the flow.
2. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Change and uncertainty can be uncomfortable, overwhelming and intimidating.
Of course there is the physical change (new environment, new colleagues, new home, etc.) that you have to deal with. But change and uncertainty can also impact your emotional and mental state.
You may feel angry, frustrated, stressed, sad, anxious, panicked, insecure or a combination of these. And it’s perfectly normal to have all these feelings and emotions. But they can also build up and bring you off balance a little bit.
Acknowledging how you feel and having an outlet for your emotions, can help to restore the balance so that you can deal with change and uncertainty better.
For me, letting go of my emotions usually comes in the form of a good old ugly crying session. What also helps is journaling about how change and uncertainty make you feel and how it affects you mentally. Or talk about your feelings with someone close to you.
I promise, it will bring a lot of inner peace.
3. Accept What You Can’t Control
Sometimes when there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives, we try to control things. It’s a way to cope with changes and uncertainties. But some things are simply beyond your control and you have to accept that you can’t control them.
I have numerous examples of times when I tried to control things and it didn’t work out the way I had planned, but right afterwards something even better came up.
When things don’t work out the way you had planned you feel defeated and lost. And maybe even a little bit scared because you’re immediately thrown back into uncertainty (that you were so desperately trying to avoid by controlling things).
But in hindsight, the way things worked out was for the better. It’s almost like someone is trying to teach you a lesson: stop trying to take control and things will be even better than you tried to let them be.
You may not have all the answers you’re looking for right now, but that’s okay. Eventually, everything will work out.
4. Check your thoughts
When going through a change or a period of uncertainty, it’s easy to get carried away by thoughts about the future and what it will look like. Before you know it, you may find yourself going over all of the possible outcomes and scenarios.
Most of us have the tendency to focus on all the things that could possibly go wrong (we’re programmed to focus more on the negative than on the positive, that’s called the negativity bias). And if you’re like me, you’ve probably already made a list in your head.
But focusing on what could go wrong only enhances the feelings of fear, anxiety and stress you may already be feeling because of this change and uncertainty.
Think about it: When was the last time something worked out exactly as you’d thought it would go? You probably don’t even know. So what’s the point in trying to figure it out?
The next time you catch yourself making a list of things that could go wrong in your head, remind yourself of this: You can go through every possible scenario and outcome in your head, but things always work out differently than you’d thought they would.
Try to let go of what the potential outcome will be and accept that you don’t know what the future will look like.
Trust that everything will be all right and that things will work out the way they’re supposed to be.
5. Take Time to Adjust to Your New Normal
When things are changing in your life, it shakes up what’s so normal to you: your routines, daily practices and the way you’re used to doing things. Creating your new normal and adjusting to a new reality can take some time.
Give yourself enough time to do that. A change can have a big impact on you and it’s okay to take all the time you need to get used to that.
When going through a change or a period of uncertainty, I’ve found that it can help to keep doing things that are part of your normal daily routine. Things that are known to you, that make you feel comfortable and are an essential part of your day. For me that would be doing yoga in the morning or drinking a cup of tea before starting my day.
In times of change and uncertainty, when a lot of things are new and unknown, having something that’s certain and familiar to you, can provide support and guidance.
So, think about what you do every day that makes you feel comfortable. And make it a priority to keep doing that when you are going through a change or a period of uncertainty.
Just one more thing…
If you’re going through a change or a period of uncertainty in your life right now, I hope this article helps to deal with it in a better way.
I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re right in the middle of it. But know that you’ll get through it and that things will be all right.
I truly believe that we go through change and periods of uncertainty to help us grow and become a better person. It may be tough right now, but if you look back on this change and period of uncertainty in a couple of years, you’ll be able to see how it shaped you and helped you become the person you are.
Don’t be afraid of change and uncertainty, but embrace it.
Ps. I would love to know about your experience with change and uncertainty. Are you going through a big change or period of uncertainty right now? How does it make you feel? What has helped you to deal with it?