Transition at Work – 7 Tips for Coping with Change

Thanks to Rachel Borsch or this guest blog article

Change and transition are difficult. These come when we may desire them the least and feel unprepared for what they bring. As a human resources consultant, I help organizations make changes. To be effective I must listen, have tools to offer, and model behavior of coping gracefully.

A reality of how most of us manage change is that we often let some of our basic needs go unmet. “[it] is not that we lack coping skills…but, more fundamentally, we’re missing a commitment to ourselves that is rooted in compassion” (Domar). The purpose of this article is to share tips that are useful for you as a business manager leading change, or as an individual experiencing change.

Tip 1. We can control our perception and response to what we are presented with. Acknowledging your feelings can be an important beginning to living with change. “[of the] 24 most common ‘emotion’ words in English…only 6 of them are positive” (Heath). The tendency is to focus on what is not going well, try refocusing your thoughts on what good things the change will bring.

Tip 2. Understand your current tactics. What are some of the ways that you cope? Before we go anywhere we have to understand where we are. Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t is important; sometimes the only way to know for certain is to try things out.

Tip 3. Share fears with those you trust, and talk with someone who can listen objectively. “We should recognize that different needs will be met by different people… This realization is liberating in an era when it’s too much to expect any one person or institution to fulfill every part of our complex selves” (Domar). Having a strong network of support is a great way to reinforce health and well-being.

Tip 4. Avoid bitterness and blame at all costs. There is no going back, only forward. While we don’t necessarily want to take responsibility for everything that happens to us, there is a lot to be said for accepting the reality of the situations we find ourselves in.

Tip 5. Don’t forget about doing what makes you feel good. It may be exercise, spending time with friends/family, outdoor activities, or the pursuit of your other interests/talents. Taking care of ourselves should be a priority and as we meet our own needs we are in a better position to give and be present for others.

Tip 6. Take the time to understand your values and how you define self. The more you are in touch with the person you are and who you want to be, the less this can be harmed by changes in your environment.

Tip 7. Take care of yourself by a eating a nourishing diet and getting adequate sleep. Be aware of what foods give you energy, what is digested with ease, and which contain vital nutrients. The body anticipates meals and they are better assimilated if the food is taken at regular times. Sleeping and waking at the same time is also beneficial to keep the body functioning optimally (Singh).

Change is always happening. “The most important fact is not that there are one or three or four or six identifiable periods of crisis in a lifetime; rather, adulthood unfolds its promise in an alternating rhythm of expansion and contraction, change and stability” (Bridges). Knowing this, we can hold on for the ride. When we have the chance of looking in the rearview mirror we can make note of how we handled ourselves and prepare for the next moment. To adapt and be flexible will help us to be strong, as changes happen at any time.

Rachel Borsch, M.Div. is a Human Resources Consultant and Religious Diversity Advisor who seeks to inspire and enthuse employees to lead more productive, positive lifestyles. Find out more on her website or catch up with her on Twitter @jayaradheshyam.

Bridges, William. Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes.
Domar, Alice D. and Henry Dreher. Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself as Effectively as You Care for Everyone Else.
Heath, Chip and Dan. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.
Singh, Anuradha. Healthy Living with Ayurveda.