Life changes can happen at any age.
Sometimes they’re dramatic and life-altering, sometimes change can be positive, uplifting and inspiring, and sometimes, sadly, change can be traumatic – perhaps even devastating. The difference between a change that happens when we are a young adult vs. that which happens as a mature one often differs only in terms of our resiliency. Resiliency has everything to do with our ability to cope and for some 50+ adults – learning how to navigate the “new normal” after any kind of change has taken place – might take some time. That’s why today we’re offering “Tips for Navigating Change With Ease” whether that change, like the title of a famous Clint Eastwood movie, is “The Good, The Bad and (or) The Ugly!”
Navigating Change with Ease!
A resilient person, according to various dictionary sources is one who has “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” We would argue, who better to be a shining example of resiliency than those who are already older adults? The 50+ crowds have experienced a thing or two in life and have a better ability to absorb and “bounce back” from change. Except – is that always true? The reality is, while we may have more experience with change, as we age some of us might actually have less ability to cope. There are a variety of reasons for this. The cumulative impact of change can take a toll. Change can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly if that change was not by choice – say, moving from the family home due to a death or divorce. If we aren’t paying enough attention to our own personal wellness during times of change, this too can impact our ability to cope. Consider wellness as one of the key components of resiliency. Are you:
Getting enough sleep?
Ask anyone who experiences a few sleepless nights and they will all share the same litany of complaints. Fatigue, fogginess, an inability to concentrate, lethargy and forgetfulness are just some of the symptoms. Getting a restful nights sleep will help clear your mind and re-energize the body.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet?
During change, it’s so very important to manage your diet and eat well. Some have a tendency to rely on quick, easy meals that might be loaded with carbs, sugars and fats. Others might not eat all, losing weight and starving the body (and therefore the mind as well!) of the nutrition it needs to help make sound decisions.
Are you incorporating daily exercise into your routine?
The simple act of going for a 30-minute walk will get your blood flowing and allow your mind some time to think. It doesn’t have to be high intensity, any kind of exercise routine is beneficial.
Make sure you take time out every day, just for you, even if it’s only 15 – 30 minutes. You might engage in some deep breathing exercises, yoga, indulge in a quiet cup of tea or even meditate. The idea is that by tuning “out” the every day and “in” to your mind, body and spirit, you will regain a sense of calm and some perspective, helping to alleviate any stress you might be feeling. Even positive change can sometimes cause stress, and mindfulness is beneficial for anyone at any age!
Speaking of “at any age,” in the opening paragraph we mentioned that change – whether for children, young adults or older adults – requires resiliency in order to cope. For some insight on how to develop resiliency we turned to Dr. Ken Ginsburg who put together a list of the “7 C’s Model of Resilience.” The list was actually first created for children and adolescents but we think it’s ideal for shining a spotlight on how anyone, at any age, copes (or doesn’t cope) with change. According to Dr. Ginsburg, the 7 C’s Model consists of the following: Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping and Control. Let’s talk about just a few of these skills and how the mature adult might experience them.
In terms of similarities between children and adults, our competence is often questioned regardless of age. Children may not yet have learned certain skill sets or developed a set of core competencies. However, even if adults have, emotional regulation, grief, shock or even anger may impact our level of competency – even if only briefly. Older adults have the competence to manage change but perhaps might suffer from a temporary lack of capacity to do so.
While children learn confidence as they mature, seniors already have plenty of lived experiences to draw from and may be quite confident in how they handle change.
What might impact our confidence however is a lack of connection. Seniors often consider a change of address, downsizing to a new neighbourhood or retirement community. This means leaving old friends behind and some might find making new friends challenging. (Hint: Amintro can help!) Staying connected to family and community will help to increase your resiliency and ability to cope during times of change.
Review our list of Navigating Change with Ease again as a reminder of how to boost your coping skills! They’re applicable at any age, from kids to young adults to the young at heart!
Children often experience frustration at their inability to control the environment around them. While typically, adults have more control over their own lives, change can occasionally suspend that sense of directing our own destiny and we might feel “off course.” It’s important to remember during times of stress that you have a lifetime of experiences to draw from. Past mistakes were great learning opportunities so draw on those existing resources you already have. Practice those coping skills we’ve already talked about and take back the control of your life!
Change isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s often necessary and can be positive, uplifting and life-altering in a good way. Even when change starts from a place of negativity, having developed a strong sense of resiliency will give you the core skills you need to help you navigate change with ease.
Written by Sheralyn Roman