Take Care of Yourself Through Change
One thing I have noticed during my oh-so-short adulthood journey so far is that change likes to bring its friends along for ride. Those friends being more change.
Looking back at how I got here, I can only attest to that. I was sixteen years old, I had one friend, and I had just graduated high school. After my best friend and I got in a massive end-of-friendship fight (or so we thought), I got an acceptance email from my DREAM school. In Canada. In a city I had never been to, let alone heard of. In fact, I had probably only left the New York Metro Area less than a handful of times.
Considering attending this school meant moving out of my home, leaving my family, and moving across the continent to another country. Also, I had to quit my job of three years.
Once I got here, the changes continued. I moved into a studio apartment, got a decent job, and started my first semester of college. I didn’t know anyone in the area and I missed my family. I had never experienced such an extreme amount of change all at once before, but somehow the excitement carried my seventeen-year-old self through it.
Fast forward a year and a half; it’s all happening again. A couple days after interviewing with Nicole from the Om Work Project, I got the call that I was chosen as the recipient of the scholarship! I frantically went to drop all my classes for the following semester before the registration deadline, thus setting off another “change party”.
First came taking time off school to plan a trip to India. This seemed like a no-brainer since I couldn’t just skip many weeks’ worth of classes to go travel. Next, when it came to work, the job that I had been trapped in since I moved here, I had to ask for time off. With the trip in November, I figured it would be okay, but when I got the option for my return flight from India to go to New York, and I was suddenly asking for more time off, it was denied. I got into a position where I either had to quit my job or get fired for not showing up. As I planed when to leave two-week’s notice and scheduling my last two months in Canada before my trip, my spirit was still feeling uneasy. I felt trapped and stressed.
Anxiety lingered in my head and chest about taking two semesters off school in row, continuing to work a job I absolutely despised just for the money, and then learning that I was no longer a full-time student and my Canadian study permit (visa) wouldn’t allow me to work if I wasn’t studying full time, meaning possible deportation. I was in the red zone, not only with the government of Canada, but with my own personal comfort.
I called in sick at work and took a day to meditate, ponder, and plan. It was a difficult decision, but I quit my job, effective immediately, and decided to focus on myself for the month leading up to my trip. Considering I had never been overseas before, it was necessary for me to take that step and I am extremely grateful I chose to put myself first during that time.
This experience has been a crazy journey, and I haven’t even left for India yet! But with all this change and preparation happening, how can I supplement myself [body, mind, and soul] through this transition?
My biggest help has been resorting to yoga. Everyday as I study for my yoga teacher training I learn more about myself and the world that comforts me in a way like no other. It has brought me mindfulness, spirituality, and love beyond compare. My required readings and lessons don’t feel required but feel more like a guilty pleasure, taking up all my time (sorry Netflix). If these changes are like falling down the stairs, then yoga is like the thousand pillows taped onto my body.
In addition to yoga, or should I say because of yoga, bringing in healthier habits to take care of myself through this transition is easier than ever before. Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and visualization has become a daily habit and my goals moving forward are much more exciting and graspable.
Another big help has been starting to journal and keep lists. Planning my day/week ahead of time makes a big impact and reflecting afterwards in my journal only gets more interesting. Spending the time to make things easier for myself has never been something I had thought of, but it makes a great difference.
I have four pieces of advice for people experiencing change.
Take care of yourself before others,
Analyze your support system
Distance yourself from negativity
Practice positive self-talk.
Even though it may feel selfish at first, evaluating yourself as an individual will help set a better foundation for the Future you. Analyze your support system and ask yourself, “are these people supportive or negative?”
Distance yourself from negativity and surround yourself with love. Support yourself by eating the right foods for your body and nourish your spirit by actively continuing to learn. Learn about what works best for you and your goals.
Engage in positive self talk and only do things that YOU believe are good for you, not what someone else tells you is good/bad for you. Letting someone else’s opinion of what is best for you will only hinder your plan of action, leading to less self-esteem.
Lastly, learn to trust yourself. Only you know what feels right.