If there’s anything 2020 has handed us, it’s been opportunities to adjust to changes!
These adjustments have looked different for everyone over the past nine months. Our latest one involves our younger daughter. She’d been attending in-person classes at her high school for most of the first nine weeks of the school year. However, due to several students and teachers testing positive for COVID recently, she’s now in the midst of two weeks of Zoom classes before hopefully returning to school on Monday. We’d settled into the school year routine fairly well, and then…change.
Change takes many forms. It can be the literal seasons, a season of life (I’m looking at you, empty nest years!), a new job, a move, adding a family member, or a lot of other scenarios.
Over the years, the seven tips listed below have been helpful as I navigated uncertain periods of life.
1. Have a basic routine.
A routine can be as simple as waking up and getting dressed at the same time each morning. Planning the first hour of the day by scheduling Bible time or exercise or a particular household chore can be helpful. I remember one mom saying that the first activity of her day was emptying the dishwasher of clean dishes so it was ready to be filled with dirty ones as the day progressed.
I find that anchoring my morning with just two or three essential activities gives me a sense of control for the day. You can find guidance on building simple morning routines at Kat Lee’s site Hello Mornings. Once life gets back to a more predictable pattern, you can add other details back into your schedule. But in the meantime, set yourself up for success by establishing a basic routine.
2. Put relationships first.
Since I’m task-oriented, following a routine is fairly easy for me. And while that’s important because it gives a rhythm to my days, I can skip connecting with the people around me. If we’re talking about family members, they’re likely experiencing change in some form right along with us. Are we taking the time to acknowledge their needs?
We may have to be purposeful about sitting down to a meal together or going out for coffee. Often, in a season of change, we can be distracted or feel like there’s not enough time to get everything done. That’s why we have to focus on our relationships and make maintaining them a priority.
3. Keep to-do-lists short.
Figure out what actually has to get done each day. We can easily get overwhelmed in an unsettled situation. Having a manageable list of tasks to accomplish can keep us from getting discouraged. It can also give us focus when we don’t know what to do next.
The Lazy Genius has an interesting podcast episode called What Is Your List-Making Personality? (You can also read it as a PDF here.) Most of us feel a sense of accomplishment when we can check a piece of paper (or our phones) at the end of the day and see what we actually completed.
4. Be flexible.
Remember up there when I said routines are my friend? Flexibility is not. 🙂 Change is all about situations that are in flux, so be willing to adjust plans as needed. Again, 2020 has allowed us to practice this over and over again.
Be patient with yourselves and others when plans or situations change. Know that there’s a time and a season for everything…but we can’t always do all the things right now.
Make simple meals, wear clothes that don’t require ironing, do only essential cleaning. Keep your schedule as free as possible so you can deal with unexpected situations that arise.
I often enjoy Emily P. Freeman’s podcast The Next Right Thing. She helps listeners tackle just the very next decision that needs to be made rather than looking ahead to what’s farther down the road.
In seasons of change, this should actually top the list! Ask for God’s wisdom and help with your current circumstances. When I’m overwhelmed, I find comfort in basing my prayers on the Psalms.
We’re all familiar with Philippians 4:6-7. When life’s uncertain, let’s really grab hold of God’s promise of peace as we bypass worry and take our requests to Him.
7. Give yourself grace.
Many days don’t go as planned. That’s okay!
Stop. Let go of the frustration. Take a minute to count your blessings. Realize that eventually, life will return to some sort of normal. Until then, don’t expect everything to function just like before.
Seasons of change help us grow. We often get a new perspective and are able to re-evaluate what’s most important in our lives. Change can be scary, but hopefully these tips can help us handle it a bit more calmly!
- In the Midst of Change, Here’s Who God Is to Me Today
- 5 Ways That Daily Quiet Time with God Changes Me
- 10 Things God Might Use to Change Us This Year