Change is inevitable—especially in a post-military transition—but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. In fact, learning how to embrace change (or “the suck,” as it were) can not only make the entire process a lot easier, but allow you to find the opportunities within it, as well.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take that will make adapting to change easier. Whether you’re dealing with your career transition, moving to a new location, or adjusting to an entirely different lifestyle outside of service, these tips will help you make the most of your new circumstances.
1) Don’t Fight It
When faced with change, it can be tempting to try to fight it, but this can be counterproductive. Resistance to change only serves to make the process more difficult and can create a lot of stress, so instead of trying to resist the change, it’s important to accept it and look for ways to make it easier to transition.
This may mean taking a step back and looking at the situation objectively. Change can be daunting, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by it. But remember that in most cases, the change is inevitable and is likely happening for a good reason. Embracing this idea will help you cope with the transition better.
2) Look for Opportunities to Grow
Change can be daunting, especially we find ourselves facing it suddenly. It’s natural to feel scared and overwhelmed in the face of the unknown, but it’s important to remember that every change brings with it an opportunity for growth. Instead of seeing change as a threat, try to focus on what can be gained from the situation.
When you start looking for the opportunity in every change, you’ll be able to find new ways to grow and develop. This could be learning a new skill, exploring a new passion, or even gaining clarity on your purpose in life. It’s important to remember that no experience is wasted. Each and every experience we have in life contributes to our growth.
If you’re having a hard time seeing the opportunity in your current situation, take some time to reflect on how this change could be beneficial. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want to gain from this experience?
- How can I use this experience to better myself?
- Is there something I can learn from this?
3) Build a Support System
Because change can be difficult, it’s important to have a strong support system in place to help you navigate the transition. Creating a support system doesn’t have to be an intimidating task, but it can make adapting to change easier.
The first step to creating a support system is to identify who your supports are—they could be friends, family, a therapist or counselor, co-workers, or anyone else who will listen and provide guidance when needed. Once you’ve identified who they are, the next (sometimes harder) step is to reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it. Your support system is there to help you through the tough times, so take advantage of their support.
You may also want to find an online or offline community of people going through similar experiences as you, which can be especially beneficial for those who feel isolated or overwhelmed during change. If you’re transitioning, check out networking groups like Vets2Industry for a network of other veterans and military spouses going through the same process. Either way, being able to talk with others in similar situations can help you stay positive and motivated.
4) Remember Self-Care
During periods of high change, it’s natural to also experience high stress, and so it’s increasingly important to practice self-care during this time. Taking care of yourself during this time can be a challenge, but it is essential for your physical and mental health. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be super complicated; here are some quick tips to help you prioritize self-care when adapting to change:
• Create a daily routine
Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and stability in an otherwise unpredictable time. This can include regular activities such as exercising, meditating, cooking, reading, etc.
• Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can be a major obstacle when navigating life changes. Make sure to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night to keep your mind and body functioning at their best.
• Connect with others
Social connection is important for staying mentally healthy while adapting to change. Reach out to supportive family members and friends, or join online support groups to share your experiences and gain encouragement from others.
• Take breaks
During periods of transition, it’s important to take breaks and give yourself time to process the changes. Find activities that bring you joy and give yourself permission to enjoy them.
By taking the time to prioritize self-care, you can better prepare for and adjust to the changes that come with life transitions. With these tips, you can remain healthy and balanced as you adapt to new situations.
No matter what change you’re facing at this time—and no matter how hard or complex your personal situation—there are two things for certain: first, it won’t be the last time you face change in your life and second, you are equipped with everything you need to make it through. Take that to heart, and embrace the suck while you embrace the change.