You may now be returning to the workplace after a long two years of absence. You may be pleased to get back to the office, or maybe not so much. You liked the flexibility of working from home but now you are called back. Whether you like going back to the workplace or not, you will experience the push and pull of change.
A quote by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus comes to mind. It is as true today as it was thousands of years ago, “the only constant is change.” Life changes, workplaces change, organizations change, sometimes slowly and sometimes very quickly. One of the keys to meeting change head on is to realize that is it not necessarily the change that happens that is important, but how you react to it. To cope effectively with changes, you need to develop key skills that will help you adapt and grow into your new reality. Below are seven ways to do just that.
Respecting change means accepting that change happens and striving to do what needs to be done to move through the change process. Finding balance and understanding between living with and adjusting your thinking to meet the challenges of change is a key coping skill.
Accepting changes shows your strength. You may not like the changes that are taking place but understanding what you can accept versus what you can’t control helps you cope. The next step in meeting changes within the workplace is finding your comfort zone. This usually means clarifying for yourself what you have control over and searching out how the change will help you become better at what you do. Most people don’t like changes, but they can push you beyond your normal boundaries and help you grow.
Give It Time
Forever is a long time. Most changes don’t last forever because another change takes their place. One coping skill to deal with change is to remind yourself that your current situation can change too. When you learn to respect changes, you build the skill of moving yourself through them to a new and better situation. It’s meeting Heraclitus’s philosophical dictum head on -‘the only constant is change”.
Both good and bad changes can happen slowly or unexpectedly. Either way, remember to frame the change as a part, not all, of your life. You don’t know how the next change will affect you, and it may be better. When you work on yourself to meet any kind of change, give yourself time to learn and grow.
Learn from Mistakes
There are a lot of stops and starts in organizational change. And, sometimes mistakes are made. You may be a person who wants to get on with it. Yet, the change may not go as smoothly as planned. It’s easy to become impatient when you want to make a change – or to adjust to change.
Another key coping skill is to learn from the mistakes so that you can construct a better way to handle it.
Don’t look at mistakes to find fault. And for goodness sakes don’t approach them with a mindset of failure. See them as mistakes that can be corrected. Use them to learn new skills and better ways of dealing with changes. Mistakes should be a teacher, not a barrier. Learning from your mistakes in the workplace helps you move past them and make better choices about how you will deal with future changes.
Practicing self-care is also a key coping skill to deal with changes. Self-care includes taking the time to focus, build, and balance your mental and emotional health. The stronger your mental and emotional health is, the better you will be able to deal with changes.
Self-care can include meditation, relaxing activities, or simply time spent pursuing hobbies and interests you have. Practices such as these outside of the workplace can help you deal with changes within the workplace. Even in the workplace you can slow your pace down by taking deep breaths and spending five minutes relaxing your brain with a quick meditation (see the 3 Minute Mental Break here). Taking the time to focus on yourself helps you build the mental and emotional strength needed to remain calm during changes and prepares you to make changes that will improve your life.
When you struggle through the change process and discover what you can control, you will also learn to understand that changes can be opportunities. These opportunities can help you reach your personal goals by increasing your knowledge, seeking help from others, or committing to a course of action. When you see changes as opportunities, you become grateful for the chance to move forward.
The skill of being grateful for even difficult changes helps improve your mindset. With a healthy, positive mindset, you will deal more effectively with changes now and into the future.
Scientists have studied the effects of humor on people’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Humor is a key coping skill for dealing with change. Laughing, smiling, and seeing the humor in situations can lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and boost your mood. Humor can put changes into perspective and remind you that not every change is as bad as you may think. Humor can also help you connect with other people who can support you during changes.
Stay Physically Healthy
When you are experiencing changes, you need to stay physically healthy. Poor health adds stress that can make changes more difficult. Needing to deal with health problems can steal your time and focus away from dealing with changes. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising your body will help you deal with changes.
You can see by how this article unfolded that changes you face in the workplace are fundamentally how you deal with change in all aspects of your life. Approaching workplace change with a sense of respect, gratitude and humor, a recognition that it could really be a time for personal growth, an attitude of learning from setbacks and mistakes, and a need to keeping healthy and looking after yourself, will help you become the best version of yourself.
Use these key coping skills and it doesn't matter how big or small, good or bad the change is you can deal with it more effectively.
Thank you for reading and as always take care, be safe and continue your journey of self-discovery.