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Things Are Changing, How Do I Cope?

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC

           If there is one thing that is constant in life, it’s change. I’ve noticed that change seems to be a huge pattern in the lives of many people I am currently working with. The pandemic has undoubtedly created a lot of changes. And now that some things are getting more back to “normal,” it appears that people are realizing that our “normal” is now different. And that’s scary! Whether it’s a move across the country, starting college, getting a new job, change can be difficult for some people. Sarkis (2017) outlines 10 tips for coping with big changes in life and how to come out better because of it.

  1.     Acknowledge that things are changing.

First and foremost, you need to simply acknowledge that changes are happening, or have already happened. Sometimes we spend so much time and energy fighting the change that we put off actually dealing with it. However, saying to yourself “Things are changing, and it’s okay” can be less stressful than denying that it’s happening and putting it off.

  1.     Realize that even good change can cause stress.

Sometimes, positive life changes like having a baby or graduating from college can still create a great deal of stress, or even dread. Positive changes can create stress just like not-so-great changes can. However, stress is just your body’s way of reacting to change. It’s normal! Work to not shame or guilt yourself if you feel stressed for positive changes. You’re allowed to feel that way.

  1.     Keep your regular schedule as much as possible.

The more change that is happening, the more important it is to try and keep yourself on a regular schedule. You can anchor yourself by having things on the same day, at the same time, such as walking your dog every morning at 8am. Having this anchor gives your brain a bit of a rest amidst of all the changes, as it tells your mind that some things are still the same.

  1.     Try to eat as healthy as possible.

It’s okay to sooth yourself with comfort foods, in moderation! It’s natural to reach towards carbs during stressful times. Eating carbs boosts serotonin, which is a brain chemical that may be somewhat depleted when you undergo change. However, it’s important to make sure you are still nourishing your body with the nutrients that it needs. Also notice if you are experiencing an increased use of alcohol or other substances, as use of these substances can sneak up on you during stressful times.

  1.     Exercise.

Keeping up regular exercising can be a part of the “keep up with your regular schedule” tip. However, if regular exercise is not currently part of your routine, try adding it! Exercising at least 2-3 times per week as been shown to significantly decrease symptoms of depression. This could even just be a walk around the block!

  1.     Seek support.

It’s okay to ask for help. That’s a sign that you simply know yourself well enough to realize you need some assistance. This is a strength, not a weakness. Think of a list of family or friends who could be helpful to reach out to if you need them to watch your kids while you run errands, or even if you just need some alone time.

  1.     Write down the positives that have come from this change.

What are the good things that are happening because of this change? Maybe because of the change you have met new people, started practicing healthier habits, discovered a new passion or hobby. Maybe it helped you prioritize what is most important in your life. Change presents us with an opportunity to grow.

  1.     Get proactive.

Figure out what steps you need to take before something happens. Being proactive means, you are taking charge and working preventively. Being reactive means, you wait until something has already happened to take action.

  1.     Vent, but to a point.

It’s important to have a support group who you can vent to. However, this needs to be watched. If you and your support group are only venting, the feeling of frustration and anger can be contagious. Rather than solely venting, try gearing the conversation toward action.

  1. Back away from social media.

It can be natural to gravitate towards social media when a big change happens in your life. Your first instinct might be to post it on Facebook. However, make sure you are in a calm state of mind when doing so, and stopping to think before you post. Also, remember that social media is a “highlight reel” of people’s lives. Keep that in mind if you find yourself comparing your life to others on social media. Step away from social media if you find yourself caught in this.

If you find yourself struggling with coping with change, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our therapists in Chicago at Symmetry Counseling. You can contact Symmetry today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors. 


Sarkis, S. (2017, January 19). 10 Ways to Cope With Big Changes. Psychology Today. 

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