Most of us have dealt with unforeseen challenges and transition these past few months. It hasn’t been easy! However, with many transitions, there are things we can do to boost our chances of success, and support ourselves during times of change.
1. Find your community
Community is no longer woven into the fabric of our society like it once was. We don’t require community in the same way to survive, so we have to make a conscious effort to cultivate it if we wish to experience its myriad benefits.
For those looking to join a community, but with flexibility, Facebook is a great place to start, since membership has no physical borders and “meetings” are often informal, if at all.
Lauren Elizabeth Roberts is a mindset and empowerment coach. In addition to one-on-one coaching, she uses a combination of Facebook groups, Facebook Live, and other online tools to cultivate a supportive online community.
Although online communities are standalone support networks in their own right, there is no replacement for face-to-face connection. Keep in mind that many communities that typically meet in person are opting for virtual, or physically distanced, replacements these days. Always exercise caution and follow your local health recommendations.
Breaking into a community can be intimidating. Roberts has a few helpful tips.
Be open. Tell people why the community is important to you. Being vulnerable invites others to be open with you.
Be a resource. By offering your own skills, time, and resources, you help to secure your spot within the community.
Be you. If you’re interacting from a place of sincerity, you can be sure the connections you make are “based on an authentic expression of yourself.”
2. Find yourself
Emotional intelligence might just be the key to navigating a significant life change with grace. In a 2010 study, researchers found that, of the 320 first-time university students they surveyed, those who came from “more expressive family environments” found it easier to adjust.
Psychotherapist and registered clinical counsellor Tatiana Santini points to gentleness in the form of “plenty of self-compassion and self-care” as a means of cultivating emotional intelligence. Be intentionally kind to yourself, speak to yourself the way you’d speak to a good friend, and, of course, take care of your body with sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise.
3. Take the leap
Making big changes in our lives can be downright terrifying and, at the same time, extraordinarily empowering. By taking stock of the internal and external support systems we have and taking action to establish new ones, we set ourselves up for success. And if we fail, we learn that we’re resilient and, thanks to our communities and helpers, in good hands.