It’s been almost 6 months since Change From the Inside Out was published. And it feels very different than 6 months post-publication for my other books. For one thing, I’m still getting asked to write articles and do podcasts about it (here’s a podcast I did recently where I thought the hosts asked great questions); I’m being interviewed on two more podcasts later this week.
Why the interest, and why now?
I believe it’s because change is on everyone’s mind now in a way it never has been before. The pandemic ripped the lid off our expectations about change. During the first couple of months of the pandemic, in the spring of 2020, we all experienced so many changes that we would have believed, pre-pandemic, could never happen. All schools closed. Millions of people working remotely. No live sporting events or concerts. Tens of thousands of people suddenly ill or dying.
And then, as 2020 and 2021 rolled on with no end in sight for the pandemic, it seemed to create an environment that allowed other changes to happen. For example, there were the huge waves of demand for racial justice first catalyzed by the George Floyd murder but carried forward by the wider recognition of crimes against people of color overall. In response, many organizations have increased their focus on creating a more diverse workforce and figuring out how to establish more equitable and inclusive policies. Big changes (perhaps not big enough, but a step in the right direction…)
And now, as the pandemic seems to be shifting into a long-term “endemic” phase, most organizations are struggling with how, and whether, to ask their employees to come back to the office for work.
No wonder we’re all tired…
One thing I learned, when writing about change, is that most of us are wired to see change — especially change imposed on us from outside — as a threat and a danger. Given that, it’s safe to assume that most of us feel like we’ve been under constant threat on some level for the past two years. So, here are three things you can do take care of yourself during this time of unrelenting change:
- Lean into some things that feel the same
When everything around you seems to be changing at lightning speed, the most relaxing and rejuvenating thing, sometimes, is simply to focus on something that feels familiar. This can be as simple as a cozy dish that you’ve always liked to eat, or spending time with an old friend who knows and loves you just as you are. When I feel overwhelmed by change, I love to hang out and cuddle with my husband (so solid), or walk in the huge old forest surrounding our house.
- Ask yourself, when a change comes: “How can I make this easier and more rewarding?”
When we’re tired of things changing, our self-talk about the next new thing that comes along tends to be along the lines of, “Oh my god, this is going to be awful — it’s going to be hard, and strange, and I won’t be able to do X anymore.” In other words, we focus on all the ways this new thing is going to be difficult, costly, and weird. Unfortunately, thinking about it this way just makes it harder to do. So, shift your thinking about the change: start getting curious about what you could do to make it easier, and how it might actually benefit you.
- Cut yourself some slack.
Most of us aren’t wired for change — and almost no one is wired for this quantity and speed of change. We do need to re-wire ourselves, because I honestly believe this level of change is now normal. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be nice to ourselves in the process of coming to terms with this new reality. Rather than beating yourself up for feeling exhausted and confused, acknowledge that it’s a legitimate response to the past couple of years. It is tough. AND you can learn to be change-capable.
We’re all in this together…and human beings are remarkably resilient.