Lifestyle-Change Management

As Sainsbury’s is the latest store to announce staffing cuts in ‘back office’ and HR functions, along with the other large stores, there is a lot of lifestyle change going to happen for people!

Their income will change – cuts, redundancies, job hunting in a still difficult market – and that impacts families, homes, schooling and holidays to name a few.

What do you do when change comes along unexpectedly?

For the average person – not the leadership teams who see this coming, actually plan it and for it in the business but also no doubt in their lifestyle – “What now?” creates stress, anxiety, upheaval and can often lead to depression.

How to plan for change now you know it’s coming

1. Sit down, take a deep breath, get a cup of tea or coffee, juice and think. Quietly. The mind creates solutions to your problems if you give it time and space.  Don’t worry about the housework, or the children’s homework, or work demands right now.  This is YOUR time and you NEED it!

2. Acknowledge the stress response physically

o   faster heart beat to pump blood to the arms and legs (fight or fight)

o   shallow breathing to take in more oxygen for energy to manage the threat

o   nausea or butterflies as your stomach closes down hunger and digestion

o   tension in the back and neck from preparing to stand and fight or run and fly from the threat

o   tightening muscles in the legs for running or standing firm against the perceived threat

The threat here is social and financial (less so but still present, social status – job role, employed, power levels) but the same reaction happened to human beings with sabre tooth tigers or other practical threats to the tribe years ago

Why does this help?  Working through and recognising the symptoms in your body distract your unconscious mind from sending out the stress chemical reaction that prepares you body like this and lessens it.  This in turn reduces the anxiety and upset you probably feel, lessens the panic at breathing less deeply that can feel like suffocation when it gets so bad!   Panic attacks can leave you frozen and unable to act, lack motivation or direction (the flight/flight or freeze effect).

3. Write down a list of things you can do in the future – new roles, things you’ve been putting off due to lack of time, things you would love to do/have done before! Some of these things you might now get the chance to do. Don’t yet think of the practicalities – just enjoy the moment and the fun aspect – let your mind believe the pressure is off and the fun is on!   This again reduces the panic and stress.  And fun needs to stay part of your life!

4. Make a list of things you could do instead if you do lose your job, or you do have more to do if you’re staying as tasks are likely to be redistributed to some extent, somehow.

o   new challenges

o   learning new skills

o   meeting new people

o   in new departments

o   less hours at work to do more outside perhaps!

5. Make time every day for yourself to discuss things with loved and trusted people around you – share the burden even just a little. Don’t dwell too much on the negatives – try to find the positives – make the positives!

Make time out for yourself every day – to sit, ponder but not stress, just let your mind and body rest a little to make you stronger for the future challenges.

Life is full of challenge and when you prepare for it like this, you learn to better manage it, yourself and your lifestyle and loved ones.

How to plan for change even when you don’t know it’s coming

1. Expect change in your life all the time! It is inevitable. Be comfortable with this discomfort – never really settling but being prepared to move on and to learn new things.   We are naturally nomadic so physiologically – mind and body – we are prepared to keep moving, to keep growing and learning and therefore to keep changing!

2. Change is internal – mind and spirit, body and soul – and external – moving home, changing jobs, promotions, children growing up and schools, our relationships with friends and family, our partners.

3. Accept change. Embrace change! It’s part of who you are – we all are.  As we have new experiences – good and bad – we keep learning, growing, changing our knowledge and mind-set, our outlook and greater insights

4. Prepare for changes by planning new scenarios when you look to the future – watching for potential or imminent changes to the social landscape, financial situations worldwide, political changes. Read the articles, watch the news, follow on social media – keep an eye on your own and the world environment and consider your options

5. Adapt and be flexible all the time. Change happens with new experiences, with changes in our outlook and insights, with new jobs and meeting new people with different ideas and perspectives to our own.  Relationships change when people change – children grow up and leave home, partners drift apart unless they flex with the changes, our colleagues move on and new ones take their place, our ideas change, cultures change, society changes – all the time!  And we naturally adapt, somehow, in some way.  Just be aware and mange those changes for relief and comfort, for better lifestyle management.

Don’t wait for change, manage it!  Don’t wait for happiness, create it! 

You can do it!