We are all creatures of habit. As human beings, we tend to gravitate towards the path of least resistance. Think about your morning routine each day – how many times have you had the same exact breakfast this week (…coffee anyone)? While most of the time our habits save us energy, they can also be extremely difficult to break.
Which is the exact reason why change can be so stressful.
Whether you’re in control of the changes happening in your life, like moving to a new city – or it happens unexpectedly, like losing your job, the feeling of deviating from your normal routine is tough. It’s like you’re walking around your bedroom in the dark – you know where everything is supposed to be, but you can’t seem find it.
Recently, I moved from New York City to San Francisco, and felt like change slapped me across the face. I had got comfortable in my work-gym-sleep routine back at home. I knew where to find the best strawberries (McCarren Park Greenmarket), or succulents (Sprout Home) without question. Now, I couldn’t even walk down the street without knowing which way I was headed.
The first few days in my new environment, I felt myself getting frustrated. I hadn’t had to learn something new in a while. I found myself getting lost in my own neighborhood, or spending $9 on a carton of eggs (seriously) – rookie mistakes – and then getting upset about it afterwards. After a couple of days, I resolved that couldn’t live like this forever. I knew I had to change my mindset.
So, I began to embrace change instead of push it away.
I used an important mindset shift that helped me feel excited about the changes in my life, instead of scared or stressed out: Think of change like the ocean. There are 3 ocean-like mantras that I’ve kept in mind, which have helped me so far.
Dive through the wave
It seems counterintuitive, but when you see a huge wave forming in front of you, you must dive under it instead of letting fear take over and backing away. When you’re faced with big life changes, you must do the same thing: Power through the tough moments, and keep on going. It’s easy to sit in your apartment and binge on the latest Netflix series (and sometimes, it’s important to do that, too!) – but when change gets difficult, remember that avoiding it will lead to a crash later on.
Expect the tides to change
The ocean tides change from high to low each day – just like your mood as you go through big life changes. That’s normal. Sometimes, you’ll feel like you’ve got everything figured out (made it to the supermarket without getting lost – yes!). Sometimes you’ll question everything (why did I do this to myself?!). You should feel confident in the fact that those good feelings will come back around, and aware that sometimes the not-so-good ones will, too. Sometimes, being comfortable with the process allows us to embrace the weirdness that comes along with it.
Go with the flow
If you’ve ever swam in the ocean, you know that you can’t fight against the sheer force of the water. You have to go with the flow. This has been the most helpful mindset shift for me during these big changes in my life. Whenever something really frustrating has happened, I actually repeat this mantra in my head. It helps me release unnecessary stress – because sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it. Go with the flow.
At times, it can feel like changing up your routine sucks. But actually, change brings about a period of much needed growth. It puts everything in perspective, and helps you shed old (maybe even bad) habits. So, let’s get excited about doing things differently – it can only get better from here.
How have you learned to embrace change?
Any tips for this new San Fran girl?
Photography by Kendall McLeod.