Change is inevitable. We see changes in ourselves each year as we grow older. We see changes in our children as they move from one developmental stage to the next. We can experience change in our careers, relationships, housing, finances.
Change may be inevitable, but this fact doesn’t make it any easier.
Like many others, I initially struggled to transition into the college environment but then felt deep grief after graduation when it all ended those years later. I’ve felt pain when friendships dissolve as life gets more complicated. I’ve experienced the rush of anxiety that comes with a new job opportunity.
But adjusting to the change of becoming a new mom was one of the hardest experiences I have ever dealt with. Just when you think you have everything under control, your baby hits a developmental milestone and you’re back to playing catch up. These past two and a half years of motherhood have taught me that change is always a moment away. Even though this is good change as your child grows into the person they will ultimately become, it still doesn’t make change any easier.
Becoming a mother highlighted how hard it is for me to accept change. During previous stages of life, it had been easier for me to ignore the warning signs that I was struggling to adapt to change. But during my postpartum period, those signs were amplified to a level I couldn’t deny or ignore.
So how can I learn to better manage the ever-changing landscape of motherhood and life in general?
I’ve searched for answers by turning my focus inward — to self-reflection and self-care. As I’m learning more about myself and how to provide self-care that delves deeper than just the occasional bubble bath, I’ve come across some tools that have helped me embrace change more effectively, both physically and mentally.
1. Daily meditation
Do you have a million thoughts floating around in your head? Yeah, me too! While I’m meditating, I’ve thought about the grocery list I need to make, an incident that happened 10 years ago, and even the latest episode of “This Is Us.” However, in the moments when I can get quiet, I feel this sense of peace, calm, and hope that it will all work out in the end. My practice isn’t perfect, but those moments I experience in between the chatter are worth the 5-10 minutes I dedicate to meditating each morning.
2. Breath work
In moments when worry consumes my thoughts or when I make up stories about the future, I take a moment to close my eyes and take deep breaths. I breathe in for four seconds. Hold for four seconds. Breathe out for four seconds and then hold for four seconds. I repeat this as many times as I need until the feelings of anxiety and worry dissipate and I can think clearly again. This also works great in the moments when you need a little mama break from the long days inside with your littles while in the middle of a pandemic.
3. Talking about it
In full transparency, this is an area of growth for me. Yet, what I’ve learned so far is that it’s helpful to let go of some of the burden you carry and be vulnerable. Sometimes you just have to let it go by speaking your truth out loud to another person so you can finally release it.
4. Social support
Whether it’s other moms, your partner, friends, or family, surrounding yourself with positive people who express love, care, and concern for you makes any change seem manageable because you have your people to fall back on in those hard moments.
Adapting to change is not easy for me, but now it’s more manageable — and it’s a work in progress.
Change is inevitable as we move through different seasons of life. Motherhood will present new challenges as our children grow. With the right tools, support, and deep self-reflection, we can handle whatever comes our way.
As mothers, we seem to always put ourselves last on the list. If you’re struggling to bump yourself to the top, read this Boston Moms post for a friendly reminder: “It’s Self-Care, Not Selfish”.