By Sid Madge, Meee
A much sought-after skill in the world of work is developing change capability. And in the last year or so many of us have found our ability to adapt to change being challenged: many of us have been forced to change the way we work, the way we socialise, our holiday plans and the way we keep in touch with friends and family. No one knows what’s around the corner, but we can guarantee it will involve more change: new seasons, new jobs, new homes, new school, new terms. Change is endless, so we may as well get comfortable with it.
I’m a great believer in instant change, little ‘micro-moments’ of learning or adaptation that allow us to actively take charge of our situation and emotions in the moment, to reset and to bring more of our best to help ourselves and others. Each micro-moment intervention is designed to be actionable in a minute and I’ve written three books on these micro-moments for life, work and family.
Here are three simple ways to cope with change and build resilience, in just a few minutes a day.
- The Natural Health Service
We’ve all been in awe of the National Health Service through the pandemic but the Natural Health Service is also worth shouting about. Change, even positive change or change that we are excited about, can cause disruption and elevated stress. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone and too much of it can cause havoc to our health and mental wellbeing. Cortisol also creates negative feedback loops which means that the more cortisol we create in the body the worse we feel which in turn creates even more cortisol in a downward spiral.
It’s so important to break that downward spiral as quickly as possible and one great way is to get near nature – a park will do. Pay attention to the sounds and smells and simply enjoy some quiet time and the fresh air. Being outside in or around nature has restorative powers that allow us to get back on an even keel, so we can more forward constructively with the change.
Instead of sitting inside to eat your lunch, why not go to a local park with some work friends and enjoy lunch al fresco. If possible, add in a little walk too. Just breathe and listen to the sights and sounds of nature.
Another great way to disperse cortisol in your system is to move and get physically active. You don’t need to go overboard – no need to pound the pavement at 5am. Just move your body. Put on a favourite song and dance around your living room—like no one is watching—for a few minutes.
- Celebrate Failure
Change requires us to do, think or be different in some way. This often means mistakes, failures and slip ups along the way. It’s rare that we move seamlessly from one position to the other without some stumbles. Learning to ride a bike is a change—change from walking to a new form of transport—and learning to ride a bike doesn’t just happen miraculously, like the flick of a switch. It’s a journey of anxiety, questionable balance and a few scrapes. Everyone fails their way to riding a bike.
We all know this and yet when we become adults, we dread failure. It is seen as a weakness or something that must be hidden or fudged. And that is rubbish! Failure is the only way to succeed at anything, including successful change. This is known as having a growth mindset – the idea that everything is possible and we can get better at anything if we stick with it and persevere.
Next time you have to make some changes recognise that A to B is never linear. There will be days that you stuff up. Times when you feel that you are taking three steps forward and two steps back. That’s OK. Just keep going. Take a minute to think about how many times you have embarked on change and created unrealistically high expectations for yourself. Stop expecting immediate perfection and instead settle for consistent effort.
- Take care of the basics
If you want to emerge from change fighting fit and raring to go then you need to take care of the basics. That means eating healthy food, getting enough micro-nutrients, enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have take-outs or go out for a few drinks – just take care of the basics most of the time. Getting enough rest is also crucial. To help with sleep make sure you don’t have a TV in your bedroom and no checking Facebook or TikTok before bed. Ideally don’t have your phone in your bedroom. Get an alarm clock and charge your phone in the kitchen. Trust me – the world will not tilt on its axis if you are not within touching distance of your phone for a few hours.
Make eating well easy for yourself. Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and make sure there is plenty fresh fruit and vegetables in the house. Also consider a social media detox for a day or so. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.
By taking just a few minutes a day and following the suggestions above you can put yourself in the best possible state of mind to manage change successfully. Another great habit to get into is appreciation. In the shower in the morning or on your daily commute, take a few minutes to think about the three things that you are most grateful for in your life. Relish those things in the midst of change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is the founder of Meee which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of psychology, neuroscience, branding, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of SMEs to PLCs, to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in a Minute’ series of books, which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work or family life in 60 seconds.