DESC Careers Information, Advice and Guidance Service

What to do when life is throwing you a curve ball

Knowledge and preparation are key to coping with change. The more you know about a situation including how long it will last and what to expect the easier it is to cope. The current circumstances have not necessarily allowed us to know what to expect. In these circumstances thinking about the big picture can feel overwhelming, being kind to yourself and focusing on the smaller picture can be helpful in boosting your motivation.

Little picture thinking includes the daily tasks that you will often do every day without a second thought. Looking after your body; eating, drinking water, bathing, dressing and exercise. Taking care and connecting with loved ones; caring for, listening to, assisting, advising and comforting. Educating yourself; complete a task set by your teacher, organise yourself, manage your time, study and revise in chunks. Breaking these daily habits into smaller bite size chunks and creating a new routine for yourself can help with motivation, resilience, anxiety and stress. Little steps lead to having more energy, an optimistic approach and positive mind-set.

Knowing yourself will help you to cope with change, often called self-awareness meaning understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, motivations and emotions. This knowledge allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your response in that moment including your ability to deal with your emotions. If you don’t recognise when you are feeling sad, angry, or troubled you’re more likely to become stressed and agitated when adjusting to change.

Building resilience is the most effective way to cope with and manage change within ourselves. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from the stresses of life when things aren't as you expected them to be. It’s not about avoiding it but learning to thrive when it happens. One way to build resilience is by finding purpose in the change and recognise your achievements. Build on your strengths to help you to focus and face the change positively. Purpose helps to shape the mind-set and attitude we have towards others and the events we experience. Finding your purpose is about understanding what matters to you most, knowing what makes you happy and recognising that you are part of a bigger picture.

Self-care is essential when going through a potentially stressful situation. Self-care is personal to each individual. Self-care is about knowing what helps you to relax and stay calm so that you can face life’s many challenges with energy, vitality and confidence. It could be making sure you get enough sleep, staying active and stepping outdoors, watching a box set or reading a book, learning something new for fun, talking to a friend, using your imagination to create something, pampering yourself or listening to music.

Self-care is about taking time to focus on what makes you happy, requires active engagement and finding a balance so that you can take good care of your own emotional, mental and physical well-being.

Recently we have had to face different challenges and uncertainties, take some time to reflect how you have managed and faced this uncertainty and recognise your own resilience.

Did you become accustomed to online learning or learn a new skill, created something, worked a new routine out, organised yourself differently, helped your family or taken the time to connect and support your friends.

The changes you have experienced have helped you find solutions and make things happen when adapting to something new. This means that you have developed a skill for life which will enable you to thrive in future transitions.

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