Coping with change

24 August, 2020 / management
 Susie Anderson Sharkey  

Take one day at a time and you’ll get there

I’ve observed over many years that there are people who absolutely love change (I put myself in this category). They love the feeling of something new and aren’t at all daunted by a change in circumstances. If things stay the same for any length of time, they get bored and begin to look for something new. These are the ‘make things happen people’. They are not life observers, they are life participants and are up there with the new ideas (crazy or otherwise), not content to stop the evolution process when man walked upright. No, these people make things happen, get things done, upset the status quo and for better or for worse do cause change to happen around them.

But I am well aware there is another personality type, and these folks do not like change one little bit. They want everything to stay the same forever. They don’t want any upsets in life, and they don’t want any surprises. They want to keep the status quo, and change is something that makes them feel very stressed and upset.

Two different types of people, neither of which is right nor wrong. Being in the first category, I find I am embracing the changes of these past few months and actually find myself looking forward to seeing what life will be like in the long term, as I can’t see us ever fully returning to life as we knew it before Covid-19. I’m interested to see the long-term changes that Covid-19 will bring upon our society as a whole, as well as in individual circumstances. Hopefully a lot of the change will be positive, and we can move forward into a new world, taking the lessons we’ve learned over these last few months to come out at the other end stronger than when we went in.

But I do have a huge amount of sympathy for those in the second category who over the past few months have had an absolutely seismic change thrust upon them and they have had no say in the matter whatever. Covid-19 is no respecter of persons and no matter who you are, where you are, how you feel about it, you will have experienced a huge upheaval over recent months. Phrases such as ‘strange times’, ‘I’ve never known a time like this’ and ‘stay safe’ have become the norm in our vocabulary and we know fine well that life events are going to be pinpointed as ‘pre-Covid’ and ‘post-Covid’.

We’re not in the post-Covid era yet, and we don’t expect to be for many months. In reality, until a suitable vaccine is found and has been administered to the world population (7.67 billion give or take a few hundred million) we will be in a situation which will be labelled merely as the ‘new normal’. We are already seeing this in daily life, and also in working life, in particular in our own practices. As practice owners, you will be so familiar with all you had to do to get your practice back open… and that was even before a patient was allowed to walk through the door. And once they did walk through the door, well that’s another topic for another time.

Coping with change can be incredibly difficult for some individuals and not everyone embraces change the way I do. I’ve met those who have found these recent changes so terribly difficult and it has in fact left their mental state in tatters I’m sad to say. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges we’ve had to face during lockdown is the challenge to our mental health. For many people, routine is particularly important in keeping a healthy mind, and they have found themselves floundering as the daily routine was taken away from them overnight.

In such a case, it’s important to establish a new routine. Get up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time each night, make regular exercise part of your new routine, keep in contact with friends and family and it’s also been a great time to start a new hobby.

When coping with change around you, take one day at a time, one situation at a time. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant at once… one bite at a time is the way you’ll get through this. Look upon this time as an opportunity rather than a threat. Write down the good things that are happening around you. No matter how negative you may feel, there are always positives to be found.

So, for all of you who have found the last few months extremely challenging as you struggle to deal with change, let me put the above in bullet points and encourage you as we move into our ‘new normal’.

Establish a routine

  • Take time to exercise every day whether this be inside or outside
  • Keep in contact with friends and family
  • Start a new hobby
  • Take one day at a time
  • Write down how you are feeling
  • Look at your situation as an opportunity rather than a threat
  • Look for the positives.

Let me encourage you and reassure you that you are by no means alone. This has come upon all of us at the same time, but our reactions are different. That is normal. That is life… this is what it is to be human. Take one day at a time and you’ll get there.


About the author

If you wish to contact Susie about this article or other practice management issues she can be reached at susie@dentalfx.co.uk

Tags: Change / Management / Susie Anderson-Sharkey

Categories: Magazine / Management

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