Have you heard the saying ‘change is constant’ so get used to it? And how you adapt, learn, and grow is what makes you a resilient person.

I understood the concept and I have taken courses on change in the workplace and strategies to shift people in doing practices in new ways. It is one thing to know the material, but when it comes to your own life, it can be challenging!

I think this month my circuits got overloaded with too many changes and ‘wow’ do I feel exhausted.

Earlier this month, a good friend of ‘A’s and the best man at our wedding passed away at the Rocky View Hospital. It was terminal cancer and it was sudden – a little over 2 weeks from his diagnosis to the ending of his life.

So incredible fast and so incredibly sad. He was 54 years old.

Now, if that doesn’t make you take stock of your life, nothing will.

And then shortly afterwards, ‘A’ experienced ill health and ended up in the Emergency Room at the Foothills. We spent over 10 hours there, and the good news is that they ruled out many serious causes for his symptoms. The bad news is they still don’t know the underlying cause of his body reactions.

That was the second shock.

This is a big change, as “A’ is usually the one with all the energy and leading me on our big adventures, biking and hiking here in Canada or overseas.

“A’ biking in Japan.

So, where am I going with all of this with respect to aging well.

That you can do everything in your power to live well – mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, but sometimes life hands you a curve ball, and it is up to you to go through the process of accepting this change.

It is similar to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The New Reality

The point of all of this is that you may have to readjust your plans to your new reality, but don’t stop living well by, for example, exercising at the level you can, eating well, and connecting with others. You may need more support, or time to process sudden changes, but don’t throw all the good habits out. Give yourself that time to readjust. And be kind to yourself.

Feel your emotions, process and reflect on them, and then get going again. (This is what I am telling myself, but I thought I better look at what the experts say).

Dealing with Life Changes – What the expert has to say

(Adapted from Abigail Brenner M.D’s blog, 5 Tips to Help You Deal When Life Suddenly Changes)

  1. Focus on the bigger picture.

Keep your situation in perspective.

Sunset out our Back Window of our House in Calgary

Being able to step back and observe this unique transitional period within the bigger picture of what is your whole life helps to moderate how you think and feel about this specific period in your life. What may seem to be overwhelming and daunting may pale in appearance when placed within the context of all you have been through during your lifetime. Keeping things in perspective may help reduce distraction and mitigate emotional responses, keeping you solidly focused in the “here and now” of your life, not giving yourself over to the drama of this sudden change.

  1. Prioritize what’s most important in the moment.

Given the circumstances and the limitations on what you actually can do, ask yourself what requires your immediate attention. Maybe it’s:

  • Setting up the routine for your “new” daily life.
  • Figuring out how to accommodate everyone’s immediate needs.
  • Focusing on what measures are required to stay healthy.
  • Juggling how to work from home or go to school at home while being mindful of those you’re living with.
  • Moving to a better situation or place while you’re waiting it out.
  1. Accept what you can’t do anything about.

Accept what you can’t change now. Some things will just have to wait for a later time to get done.

  1. Master the emotions of change.

Emotions can and will run the gamut, especially when life is suddenly disrupted. People are bound to feel confused, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, disappointed, angry, and often depressed because of having to change course, or having to put one’s life on the back burner for a period of time.

Other emotions can include:

  • A sense of loss (because you’re often giving up one thing for something else when you make change),
  • Experiencing uncertainty, doubt, and discomfort.
  • Feeling frustrated that your life is temporarily on hold,
  • Fear of the unknown, and
  • Even panic may accompany the uncertainty of sudden change.

Let things unfold and let go of the outcome, especially when there are external factors that influence the mix. Sudden change can take the wind out of you, pull the carpet from beneath your feet, and make you feel totally confused and out of sorts.

Sudden change can make you doubt yourself and your ability to deal. But sudden dramatic change can also give you the unique opportunity to really see what you’re made of. You may be very surprised and pleased.

Useful advice. I will try to keep this in mind and stick to my normal daily routine as much as possible to manage the emotions of stress.

Calgary – looking for books, my normal routine!

Keep on Moving and Live Well,

Source: Abigail Brenner M.D., July 29, 2020, 5 Tips to Help You Deal When Life Suddenly Changes, Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/in-flux/202007/5-tips-help-you-deal-when-life-suddenly-changes

Why is it that right when you get your footing … BAM?

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