Change

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2020 is one of the worst years I can remember. I saw a T-Shirt the other day (maybe we should sell them)- that showed the year 2020 only receiving one star, and boy did that seem about right! With COVID-19 our lives were brought to halt early this year,, and while Connecticut has had some restrictions lifted, we still have a long way to go to resume our old lifestyle (if we ever do.) As some of you know, I decided to go back to school to get my graduate degree and I’m two papers away from FINALLY graduating at the end of the month. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning, but I’m so distracted with everything going on around me and trying to run Piper and Dune that I need a break! Any other time I would be planning a vacation to celebrate, but due to COVID, I’ll be staying local. I’ve been reading and writing lots of papers about managing change, albeit in a business environment- from a leader’s perspective, but this has prompted me to think about how we are leading change in our own lives.


My daughter Sarah and I were talking yesterday about how much everyone’s lives have changed this year. Sarah was telling me that several of her friends who are able to work remotely, have decided to let their leases go, move home to save money or to have the companionship of family during these uncertain times. Dating for most is almost non-existent, and meeting new friends through community, clubs, and other social gatherings is extremely difficult. Childcare, school, sports, and more are for a lack of words - a messy situation. So what are some tips for remaining positive and managing change?


First, we have to recognize that nothing stays the same, especially today. We need to manage a lot of changes and it is more important than ever that we tackle change head-on.We are living in a world that is fast-paced, unpredictable and this has become a way of life. We aren’t just dealing with the regular changes that we go through in life like growing up, growing old, getting sick, losing family members, getting a new job etc.; we are also dealing with global issues that are impacting our daily lives as well, e.g. company closures, technology changes, environmental changes… And, as challenging and difficult as it is, being resistant to change will likely cause you to be even more stressed. I read the following quote in a book that I had to read for my Capstone course: “what people resist is not change, per se, but loss.” (Heifetz, et al., 2009, p. 28) People are afraid and uncomfortable with the “unknown”; they  fear what they might be losing, but what if the change is better than you can even imagine? I’m the one in my family that looks at life with the glass ½ full, I thrive on change and welcome it. For me, it lifts my spirit and energizes me to try something new. By embracing change, I feel like I have the power to control it; I know It helps me to grow and to develop, and that excites me. That’s not necessarily the case for others in my house, but they are working on it! Zorka Hereford, the author at Essential Life Skills.net had some helpful tips to manage change in your life:


  1. Stress and Mental Health
  1. Physical Health
  • When you’re stuck at home, stick to a routine to manage day-to-day activities. 
  • Home workouts and outdoor exercise will help you get plenty of fresh air and improve your mood. 
  • Maintaining regular sleep habits and mealtimes can also contribute to a sense of normalcy. 
  1. Work-Life Integration
  • With work responsibilities more integrated into home life, it’s still important to be mindful of where those roles begin and end. 
  • Depending on your workload, you may not be able to start and stop work at guaranteed times each day, or prevent work interruptions during your free time. Be honest with your employer and yourself about what you can do (and when you can do it) and what’s expected. You can only do what you can do.

  1. Home Finances
  • For some—those who have been laid off, who have seen their hours cut or whose own business has been affected—this lockdown is straining budgets without a clear end in sight. Government relief might ease some of the burden: Unemployment benefits and the CARES Act money will help. And if you’re struggling, there may be other options to get financial help. 
  • For others, however, staying home for so many weeks can save money (gas, car maintenance, restaurant meals, etc.) Take some time to figure this out, it might be a welcome surprise!
  1. Technology
  • Be sure you have sufficient internet bandwidth to accommodate more people in your home at the same time, with more streaming on additional devices. Schedule important meetings at a time when no one else has data-heavy activities. In the case of children’s activities, have offline projects as a backup in case of slower internet or bandwidth problems.
  • In addition to work and school requirements, you can also experiment with technology to be more productive, to learn a new skill or to replace previous leisure or entertainment activities. (Virtual game nights, anyone?)
  1. School and Childcare Changes
  • In addition to employment changes, school and day care closures are adding to the stresses of work-life integration. Many parents and grandparents now have to juggle childcare and distance learning while working from home full time. Be flexible when creating schedules. Depending on the age of the child and your job responsibilities, you may have to start work earlier or later than usual. It may be that you log in before the child wakes up or after bedtime, or share care duties with others in your household. Stay in contact with your employer and your child’s teachers. You may have to adjust expectations as you go along to find a schedule that works.
  1. Relationships
  • More than anything, physical distancing takes a toll on our relationships. Check in on loved ones—online, over the phone, over the fence or whatever you can do to maintain connections within the distancing guidelines.
  • And it’s not just relationships with families and friends. We miss our communities. Social clubs, religious services and volunteer engagements may still be happening—just in new ways. Whether online or in-person - stay involved with community groups for your own sake and for those you serve.

Whatever you do, try to be patient with one another. Play some family games, burn a candle (the smell and flicker will help to relax you), read a book, cook a new meal, relax in the tub, and have some fun doing whatever it is that excites you. One thing is for sure, change is inevitable, so try to embrace it.


Explore What Excites You,



Chris and The Piper and Dune Family


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Resources: 
https://www.essentiallifeskills.net/about.html
Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., Linsky, M. (2009). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership:Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business Press
 
 

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