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Dealing with change

Almost everybody has had to go through change recently due to Covid-19, and it can be unnerving knowing that what was once normal is now completely out of bounds. Not being able to hug your grandparents, meet with friends, or go shopping is what we know and love.

The constant unknown of “will I go back to university?” and “what about my student accommodation I’ve paid for?” can take a toll on your wellbeing, and it’s important to know how to control your emotions and progress through these changes.

How we respond to change as humans is significant in how we progress and adapt.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has captured human response in what she calls a “Transition Curve” which covers the core emotions experienced.

  1. Shock

  2. Denial

  3. Frustration

  4. Depression

  5. Experiment - Initial engagement with the new

  6. Decision

  7. Integration

Although not all individuals easily transition through these periods, many get ‘stuck’ in one period. Change can be overwhelming but it’s paramount to remember that we cannot control what is happening and we should focus on how to adapt to the new. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” and I think that this quote is really important.

How we then change and adapt to new situations is key in moving forward. Change can be tricky and test resilience, but it’s important to remember that life goes on.

Dr W Edward Deming created a model which you may find useful when you’re unsure about how to go about moving forward or adapting to the new.

  • Plan - Identify problems and set a goal

  • Do - Test your different options

  • Check - Study the results and adjust

  • Act - Implement the best solution

This process relies on a continuous adaptation and progress until you seek improvement in how you’re adapting.

Change will always be in our lives sometimes it will be challenging. Our feelings and behaviours towards change will impact how we move on. Trying out new things in attempting to adapt may not always turn out in our favour, but we learn and become more resilient from these failed attempts.

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