Coping with Change

Post it note that says "change ahead"

As we begin the final month of 2020, it’s obvious how much our world has changed over the past year. It was inconceivable that 13 million Americans would contract covid and we would lose more than 250,000 American lives to this virus.

At this time in 2019, few of us knew the terms PPE or social distancing or shelter-in-place. I don’t think anyone predicted that Thanksgiving 2020 would require nasal swabs or seeing their loved ones over Zoom. Or that holiday traditions – such as Christmas concerts, in-person Black Friday shopping, or holiday parties – would be canceled due to covid.  Yet here we are!

My household has not been immune to change in 2019. Although my family has managed to avoid getting covid, my husband, daughter and I have all experienced changes in our work situation and the economic fallout from the pandemic. In addition, my husband and I both had serious accidents. My father and brother were both hospitalized and are still receiving significant medical care. Plus we lost our beloved 15-year-old miniature dachshund, then filled the emptiness with a 6-year-old beagle/basset hound mix who is taller – and far more mischievous – than any of our miniature dachshunds. With the exception of adopting our new pup, none of these changes were anticipated or welcome. But they happened.

7 Ways to Deal with Change

I am a person who loves routines and dislikes change. Here are some ways that I have learned to embrace change amidst uncertainty.

  1. Accept uncertainty is a part of life. Sometime around 500 BC, the philosopher Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” This is just as true now as it was 2,600 years ago.
  2. Acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay to be overwhelmed, angry or depressed. I think we’ve all felt that way over the course of this year. Accept and process your feelings in a way that works for you – talk to a friend, go for a long walk, or write in a journal. Take a break, if needed. Otherwise try to reach a point where you feel stable enough to take action.
  3. Set reasonable goals that are under your control. You can’t control the covid positivity rate in your region or whether your part of the country is on lockdown. You can control your behavior. Set goals based on when you work and what projects will be beneficial. Create routines that will help you achieve your goals.
  4. Remind yourself of your strengths. All of us have experienced personal difficulties and survived (maybe even thrived) afterward. Human beings are remarkably resilient creatures. Remind yourself that you have made it through hard times before and you will make it through this too.
  5. Conduct a SWOT analysis. Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can do this personally and also for your business. Use this information to create a plan to capitalize on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. (You can read more information in the blog post SWOT Analysis Planning for Solopreneurs.) Focus on opportunities for improvement and problem-solving.
  6. Be mindful of your self-talk. Don’t berate yourself for not predicting a pandemic. If the government, hospitality and medical industry weren’t prepared, it’s unrealistic to believe that your small business could have predicted covid. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. (You can read more in Improve Your Business with Positive Self-Talk).
  7. Stay in the present. Don’t focus on what you should have done differently or catastrophize about the future. Use your goals and routines to move forward in your business today.

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