Coping with Change One Day at a Time
Quit my job – done! Sold my home – done! Start a business – done! Explain my move to loved ones – still working on that one! Plan a cross-country move – done! And I’m getting ready to fly West in another week. Talk about a lot of change all at once!
As you can probably tell, I’m a Type A person. When I’ve got the candle burning at both ends, I light up the middle too. I didn’t make the decision to turn my life upside down and inside out lightly. I’ve been thinking about it for more than a year. And once I pulled the trigger, it all had to happen at the same time. I was counselled to wait and take each major change slowly and mindfully. Sure, that makes sense but I knew that I would have abandoned some of my plans as time passed – and that would be deeply disappointing. I’m at a point where life is passing fast. I don’t want to be stuck in neutral and then wake up thinking “where did the last year go?” Time is way too precious and nothing scares me more than wasting it.
The plans that looked very logical on paper are now a tangled ball of deadlines and paperwork. The sale of my condo and planning the move careened right off the stress charts. My usual way of coping – shove aside emotion and just power through – helps when there are so many balls up in the air. But it also keeps me awake at 3am freaking out that all of those balls might just land on my head.
One of the most important qualities of an Editor-in-Chief is the ability to make decisions quickly without second guessing. I was always pretty good at that when it came to publishing a magazine monthly, but the same approach in real life can be messy.
The most important tip I’ve adopted to handle the stress is to take one day at a time. I’ve made a list detailing the major tasks and all the little related decisions, and then work through it carefully, one priority at a time. There have been moments when I’ve been totally overwhelmed by everything that I’ve taken on. When I find myself short of breath and in a wildly irritable mood (I’m ashamed to say that I hung up on my realtor one day) I know that I need to repeat my mantra – one day at a time (over and over).
I’m resisting the urge to add more to my plate. I’ve been offered a couple of intriguing projects that I’d love to do but I know the extra work (and just thinking about it) will stress me out when I’m packing my life up. I tell myself that opportunities like those will come up again. Saying NO is more important to me today, instead of disappointing a new client (and myself) by doing a half-ass job. I’m forcing myself to slow down and live in the moment. It’s when I’m overwhelmed that the little voice of doubt starts hissing in my ear.
So as I’m taping closed the last few boxes this coming week, I take a deep breath and focus on that one simple mission – one day at a time – and get ready for exciting times to come.
Photography, Tara West. Makeup, Lace Maralit.