Spring is changing to summer here. The school year is ending. I have a few weeks before my children are out of school and my schedule and routine will change.
Life is full of changes, big and small. People move. Their family size changes. They go on trips. They try something new, and stop doing things that aren’t working for them.
From my comic diaries on 8-25-18, as we left for Yellowstone National Park.
Even good changes can be stressful. However, there are ways to cope with change and make the transition easier. This will cut down on the stress and help with recovery time.
First, look ahead. Unexpected change is especially difficult. Like a driver scanning the road ahead for potential problems, look at the future and possible changes that may occur. Using my upcoming change as an example, the school year ending, how will that impact my schedule? What would my daily routine look like after the change? What things will need to be different?
Second, make a plan. This works even for surprise changes. As soon as you know there is going to be a change, you can plan for it. What are my goals? How can I achieve them now? What steps will I need to take? How is it different than before?
Watercolor painting of the Mississippi River as we saw it on a summer-long vacation to Wisconsin.
Third, follow up on your plan. If you know your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them, then it’s time to follow through. I want to continue to practice art. I know that with the kids home, I will have less time to myself during the day. So, I need to get my practice in earlier before I get caught up in projects and such.
Looking ahead, and knowing this is my plan, I can brainstorm different ways to make sure it happens. I might want to try out different times and see what works best. I might want to set alarms on my phone. I could plan incentives like a walk to the park or a cup of peppermint tea for if I get my work done by a specific time.
Other changes may require dropping art for a time and planning on when you can pick it back up. Or it may mean dropping some things and not others. Or changing what you are doing. Or combining things.
When you don’t think about how to handle the change, it is all to easy to let everything go. Months later, you look around and realize how long it’s been since you last painted or sketched or wrote anything. At that point, momentum is against you, and it becomes increasingly difficult to pick anything up. Your life has filled itself up with other things and you’ve become comfortable with the way things are. To pick things back up would require another change.
Watercolor painting of Mount Rushmore as we saw it on a summer-long vacation to Wisconsin.
As difficult as it is, any planning you can do will help. Remember what is important to you. Remember your goals and dreams. Think about what it will take to achieve them, and then work with the change. Perhaps, once you’re on the other side and the stress is over, you’ll be glad for the chance it gave you to reaffirm your goals and think about how to best reach them.
Watercolor painting of Little Big Horn as we saw it on a summer-long vacation to Wisconsin.
What changes are you coping with? What are your plans to achieve your goals despite the change? How will you follow through with those plans?