- Recent decisions made by the Supreme Court and Federal Gov’t have left Americans feeling a variety of ways – some celebratory, and others a lack of control.
- Even though our world operates in a constant state of change, dealing with change can still feel like a huge challenge to our mental health.
- Scroll to the bulleted list below for some ways to begin to manage change in your own life.
The last few weeks have brought a lot of newness, transition, and (potentially) conflict to the lives of Americans. Between the Supreme Court releasing decisions on a number of landmark cases – impacting reproductive freedom, environmental change, and the interpretation of the second amendment – to President Biden signing into law new legislation that allocates resources for mental health programs across the country: a lot is changing. All of this with the background of an ongoing and shifting global pandemic and the foreground of all the daily components of life that impact our mental well being.
In general, periods of change or adjustment can make a person more vulnerable to experiencing mental health lows, and these last few weeks might have you feeling disoriented, angry, celebratory, relieved, and/or more. However these national-level changes are making you feel on an individual-level, when our realities undergo a shift, our mental health takes notice.
The reality is that in our country, in our state, in our community, and in our relationships we are constantly changing, growing, and disagreeing. While change might be a common phenomenon, it is natural for different and new changes to throw us off and even create distress in our lives.
As Octavia Butler famously said, “the only lasting truth is change.” From this we can extrapolate that one key component of taking care of mental health is learning how to best prepare for and handle transitions. How can we do this? While that answer is not so straight forward, it can help to start by grounding ourselves in the values that guide us, holding close to the relationships that nurture and support our growth, and working to find meaning and fulfillment despite the noise.
Below is a starter-kit for what you can do today to start managing change (in no particular order, and in no way exhaustive):
- Work to identify the change(s)/transition(s) in your life – articulating the moving pieces is helpful in knowing what you are up against. Try visually mapping the change (drawing, listing, collaging) as a way to get the change out of your head and into the tangible world.
- Think back to a time where you handled change. What did you do well then? What might you want to do differently this time?
- Don’t fixate – while the change(s)/transition(s) you are experiencing may feel huge, there are still many other components of your life that deserve your attention – shift focus to relationships, a hobby, etc.
- If you are able to, change your environment. Whether it is getting out of the house, going to visit a friend, sitting in a park, or going for a drive. Changing your environment can help freshen your perspective or provide a distraction.
- Remember your strengths. You have arrived at this moment because of the strengths and power that you already possess. How can you use your strengths during this period of change?