by Lindsay Maurer
Some changes in life are forced on us. Aging is one. Other changes are the result of choices we make to better our lives or accomplish goals we have set. Either way, change is challenging, and we always have a choice about how we will handle the transition. We have to decide to surrender to the change and shed what is no longer needed. I am here to give you some tips based on my experiences on how to accept change and move through it with grace.
I am a clinical exercise physiologist and massage therapist by trade. I am also a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. For the vast majority of my professional career, I have worked in healthcare settings and with people who needed clinical exercise solutions.
Then…..I had children. I had two of the most amazing creatures on the planet, and my professional hat came off to be Mom. Fast forward a few years, and I found the in-between. I started a business that allowed me to nurture my professional self AND be a mom. A professional lifeline of sorts to bring me back into the health and wellness world. It was the thing that had taught me that I could, in fact, be a professional in my field and still be present and involved with my family. It gave me a tribe and a community of support. It was amazing.
Recently, I transitioned out of this business to accept an amazing, career changing position at a local hospital. At the same time, I became a mom with kids in school when I was used to being a mom with kids who were home all the time.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it was for me. While the transition went seamlessly, I went through some growing pains along the way.
- I was going from an entrepreneur with quite a bit of flexibility to an employee with a schedule.
- I was going from a work from home parent to a parent who worked out of the home.
- I was going from the mom of younger children to the mom of school-aged
- I was going from a leader of my own business to a part of a team.
There was a lot that was changing about my day-to-day. Throughout this change, I felt many things. I was afraid to lose the friendship of the tribe of women I had built. I was afraid to lose my edge as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. I was afraid that I had grown irrelevant in my clinical roots. I wondered if I was going to fit in with my new co-workers. There was a lot of noise in my head.
Needless to say, I made it through. I managed to keep my sanity using these tips and tricks:
- I let my vulnerability show. You need to admit that you feel vulnerable which may include fear, anxiety, or sadness along with excited anticipation.
- I got excited about my new opportunity. Become pro-active in the change process. Those who are empowered look for opportunities to make things better.
- I allowed myself to feel my feelings and I only lingered on the positive ones. Know that feelings are not set, and you are never stuck with just one feeling. In the same day, we may feel afraid, optimistic and excited about the same circumstances. Focus only on the positive
- I trusted my instincts. I knew in my heart that the timing was right for this change.
- I took it one day at a time. Try to avoid obsessing about the future. The solutions for how you feel now are usually in the present.
- I changed the tone of my “What Ifs.” When the future is foggy, you might be inclined to obsess on “What ifs?” A better alternative is to choose to focus on the positive aspects of “what if.” Make the moment you are in the most important thing in your mind and focus on the positive possibilities.
- I stayed on the positive track. Don’t let your thoughts derail you. Take positive action to get back on track. Stopping certain thoughts isn’t easy without a few tools. Doing something completely different like putting on music and dancing in your kitchen, going for a walk in nature, drinking a big glass of water, opening up your posture (stand and stretch your arms stretched out to each side) and breathing. You can also read something short and inspirational that will steer you in a better direction.
- I focused on gratitude and the beauty of a new opportunity. Sometimes our minds feel like a runaway train. If you can quiet your mind briefly, you will notice there is always a fork in the road. One option is to let your anxious thoughts hijack your brain (the negative path), or you can focus on how things have a way of working themselves out (positive path). Choose the positive thoughts to focus on.
- I talked it out. Asking for help when you are vulnerable works much better than being angry, irritable, and critical which pushes people away. Be aware that you may be spreading negative energy to others when you are fearful and obsessed.
- I got out of my head. Many people can lessen their fears and stress fairly quickly with meditation, prayer, or by helping someone else. In other words, get out of your own head and take action on something positive.
If you try these tips consistently, you will probably have an easier, but not perfect, transition. Please keep in mind that while some stress related to the situation is completely normal, ongoing fear and distress may be a sign that you may need professional help. For a small number of people, depression can be triggered by stress and will prevent them from bouncing back when things settle down. Anxiety may also make it harder to move on and accept changes.
Now, I am back to my clinical roots, and I am remembering just what I’ve been missing. Although I miss certain aspects of my life as a business owner, I know that I am in the right place. I am now an important piece of an amazing team (who welcomed me with open arms by the way), and we are digging deep into what we can offer our community to help lead others into health and wellness.
Although change is often a good thing, we need to be willing to surrender to it. In uncertain times we often think we know what is best and can see only one acceptable outcome. However, if you seek and hope for the “highest good” (meaning the best outcome for all concerned) rather than the one acceptable outcome, you may be surprised with something better. The best outcome may not be what you expected, but in the end, it may bring about positive results and options you never expected or considered.
Surrender and shed my friends. Swim hard, with grace and don’t be afraid to take up space in your new opportunity.