coping with change

Change is on my mind because change has been in the air. I’ve just come back to Stockholm after 4 months of self-supported sabbatical. Wrapping up my life abroad and returning to Stockholm has been a big change. It doesn’t matter how many times I do it: it’s still an adjustment.

The time zone change alone packs a real wallop! The first several times I changed time zones I struggled quite a bit to and often felt quite miserable.

Over the years however, I’ve actually gotten better at coping with change, or what I call re-entry. Which looks like a real miracle compared to those first bumpy re-entries. Now that I go abroad every year, it’s essential that I fast-forward through the process.

Re-entry is a real stage of coming back, it takes some skill and above all, a certain mindset.

For example, I think of it as moving into a change or re-entry. Not “I’m coping with change” but “I’m moving into this change.” The choice of words matches how I think about big change:

  • I’m accepting that change is happening
  • I’m acknowledging that I don’t need to rush to make everything different all at once
  • I’m giving myself permission for a gradual transition

With that mindset in place I then deploy a few tools to make the change feel effortless.

9 Tips for a smooth re-entry into your regular life

You can consider these tips “careful planning for the miracle.” These work well for a variety of return type situations. Perhaps you’re returning from time abroad, or to work after a sabbatical.

  1. I get enough sleep.
  2. I do a slower start and expect less of myself the first few days.
  3. I meet up with good friends and share our experiences since we last met.
  4. I get in exercise and drink plenty of water.
  5. I plan something fun to do within the first few days with someone I like.
  6. I put order to my life as quickly as I can. Hiding any clues of the transition back such as suitcases and dirty clothes.
  7. I make good food and treat myself to healthy eating.
  8. I notice the things I missed not the things I am missing.
  9. I spend time with those people I love doing ordinary life.

Coping with change can be pretty simple

Try out these tips and create your own smooth entry into change. I bet you will experience a smoother transition and feel calmer as you meld back into your everyday life.


Image Credit

Stockholm” by Flickr user Susanne Nilsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.