Everyone knows dramatic changes have occurred in the way we live as a result of COVID-19. No one knows for certain what a “new normal” will look like in the future when the lockdowns and social isolation are over and the ultimate shifts in the world of work finally arrive. Perhaps normalcy will return, but one thing can be counted on: Coping with change requires actionable steps that work. Those steps can help you adapt to whatever happens next.
Coping with Change: The Steps
Accept that change creates stress. Design a personal stress management program that offers resilience and helps you cope with uncertainty, changes in the way you work, changes in the way you think (i.e., fear, worry, catastrophizing, etc.), and how these things affect your mood and your relationships. Reach out to sources of inspiration and professional counseling to accomplish this.
Don’t go with the flow. Be proactive, and make choices to help you cope and respond at home and at work to maintain personal and job productivity. The analogy is preparing for a hurricane. Either you can wait by the radio and be told what to do, or you can take action steps to feel empowered and be in control of outcomes while listening to the weather radio at the same time. One approach will empower you, improve resilience, and give you a sense of control and direction in the ultimate outcome.
As you experience stressors associated with change, make decisions about how you will cope and maintain control in spite of them—stay on the “nonvictim side of the balance sheet.” Avoid being a victim of change, often signaled by looking around at what others are doing in order to decide what to do next.
Discuss and process these steps for remaining proactive with family, friends, and loved ones. Better ideas and solutions, a feeling of security, and staying positive generally result from these interactions.
Expect and anticipate your positive future despite what is happening. Don’t allow the inability to predict or know what the future holds to lead you into catastrophic thinking and its immobilizing effect and undermine your life plans.
If you are struggling to adapt to this new normal, reach out to your EAP for support. We are here to help.