Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift discusses why coping with change is so important and what we can do to deal with it more effectively.
How much change have you experienced in the past year? Change is routine in today’s society and while we can’t stop it, we can choose how we react to it.
Whether welcome or unwelcome, drastic or minor, there are a few things we can do to make coping with life changes a little bit easier. Here are our top tips.
One, accept and reframe. It’s natural to have feelings of sadness, to grieve over loss, to feel angry about your situation, or to place blame, but you have to move on. If you spend too much time in that place of anger, pity or blame, you become unable to adapt to your change and get stuck in a place of helplessness rather than progressing to a place of hope and growth. Understanding change is an important first step to managing it.
Two, accept how much you can control. When change happens, ask yourself if it’s something you have control over. Learning the importance of acceptance can provide emotional freedom – accepting that some things are out of your control and choosing to be comfortable with that is likely to bring a greater sense of calmness.
Three, connect with others. Change is hard, even if you’ve volunteered for it. Speaking to someone who understands what you’re going through can help to strengthen coping skills, helping to overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness, improving both mental and physical wellbeing.
Four, look after yourself. This may seem elementary, but when we’re feeling stressed it’s common to abandon healthy eating, adequate sleep and daily exercise. But these are some of the things we can control – when we practice positive self-care, we feel better and stronger, both physically and mentally.
Five, seek support. Change can be challenging and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. Whether you’re moving house or dealing with something more serious, it’s ok to ask for help or emotional support. Don’t battle it on your own – reach out to someone you trust and you’re likely to cope better and adjust more quickly.
Cancer Council Queensland has a range of free professional services and support programs to help. These include a Cancer Counselling Service, local cancer support groups and an Introduction to Mindfulness workshop which combines mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy to help participants overcome some of the challenging thoughts and feelings that commonly arise during a cancer diagnosis. The initiatives are available at no cost to all Queenslanders affected by cancer, including families and friends.
If you’re feeling challenged by change, survive and thrive by trying these strategies.
Those in need of cancer-related support can call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 from Monday to Friday anytime between 8am and 6pm.