I hate it when my heart aches from growing pains. Even though I really, truly believe change is good and pushes us to grow, it still feels sucky sometimes. The trick is not staying in that space, letting the whirlwind of change pull you down for good. I’ve got a little mental tool kit full of knowledge and tactics I’ve collected over time to keep myself from staying stuck in the muck. Here’s hoping they help you, too, anytime big changes knock on your door….


1) Cry your eyes out. Yes, really. Change triggers grief, whether you’ve lost a job, lost a friend, or lost your footing. Getting sad or mad is really the healthiest thing we can do…as long as those emotions don’t fuel destructive behavior. My mom reminded me recently that when I was in the throes of depression and PTSD, the most worrisome thing for my family and my therapist was my inability to feel. I was so numb that nothing made me mad or sad {or happy, for that matter}. Nowadays, I know the value of a good cry; it’s a great release and can provide real relief. 


2) Honor what you’ve lost. I remember when I left my corporate job four years ago, I expected to feel free and blissful in the days that followed. Instead, I felt uneasy and highly emotional. Yes, I was thrilled about the adventure ahead of me, but I hadn’t considered how much I was also losing – including my daily routine {who knew I’d actually miss the morning rush!?}, my office, relationships with my co-workers, and a big piece of my identity. It took a couple of weeks to start settling into my new existence, and only after I came to terms with the things I was leaving behind.


3) Make an “I’ve still got it” list! When things change, it may feel like the walls are crumbling down. But you’ve still got good stuff left in your life. I guarantee it. Take a few minutes to write those things down. If you can already think of ways this change will affect your life positively, be sure to include those on the list! It’s powerful to recognize all those blessings and you can refer to the list whenever you’re starting to unravel.


4) Surround yourself with awesome people. This is a do-ahead job; you don’t want to have to go looking for a posse to lean on the day the rug’s pulled out from under you. You want them to be waiting in the wings, ready to catch you. Be on the lookout for people who believe in you no matter what and who stand by you even when you’re crying snot bubbles {see #1}.


5) Do yourself a favor {or a bunch of them}. Change – and the roller coaster of emotions that come with it – is easily exhausting. You’re already dealing with the enormity of whatever that change is – so you need as much strength as you can muster, as much space to breathe as you can find. So take a walk. Get more sleep. Drink your coffee in the sunlight. Call a favorite friend. And, maybe most importantly, take some quiet time to envision yourself moving forward with grace, gratitude and joy – heading into a super-bright future.


As I was finishing this post, I had the TV on in the background – Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes was on, featuring backstage footage of Oprah’s very last show. Talk about change! The way she described her feelings before hitting the stage sounded like a profound affirmation to me – one that we could all benefit from repeating and believing in the face of change:


“I feel very confident that I will be alright. That I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in this moment and that whatever is going to unfold for me is going to be the next best thing.”- Oprah Winfrey