by Therese Merry Heeg, ACC

When I work with people who are facing change in their life or work, the one thing they all have in common is that they experience fear and anxiety. Any time we experience something new, even if we choose it, we have at least a low level anxiety. This is our normal fight or flight reaction to outside threats. How can we deal with this and move on?

The first step is to recognize it and to admit it. So many times we don’t look at what is going on with ourselves. We get short tempered, or pick up a cold, or feel exhausted and we think this is just normal. Yes, it is normal, but what is the source? If we deal with the source, we can move on more quickly.

A few months ago, I was looking for the source of my exhaustion. I went to the doctor and told him I was taking naps regularly and still feeling very tired. I also told him I was in transition for the past year building my coaching and training business. He said “I would be worried if you weren’t exhausted.” Once I knew it was normal, I just focused on taking extremely good care of myself – I rested when I needed it; took my vitamins; walked the dog; connected with friends and fed myself good thoughts throughout the day.

Now, I am feeling more grounded and centered. I have moved through the emotional cycle of transition which includes anxiety, uncertainty, and tiredness. Of course, that doesn’t mean I am free of it forever. I continue to take good care of myself and that helps me move through my day and serve my clients with more energy and enthusiasm.

I encourage you to look at your daily routine and come up with habits that feed your mind, body and soul. This is especially important when you are experiencing change in your life. What could you do to take better care of you? Whatever it is, make it your own. Do it because you deserve it and you enjoy it, not because I tell you to. Build your own routine. Some suggestions might be:

  • Stretch your body throughout the day. If you are at the computer, get up at least once an hour and move around.
  • Breathe. Become more aware of your breathing. Don’t hold your breath. Practice breathing deeply.
  • Eat less sugar and avoid caffeine.
  • Drink lots of water and take vitamins.
  • Seek out positive people who take care of themselves and avoid negative people.
  • Write out your fear, anxieties, hopes and dreams. Medical studies have proven this can keep you mentally and physically healthy.
  • Build joy into your life – whether that is meeting a friend for lunch, watching the sunset, or going to a park to walk or watch young children play and laugh. Scientific studies prove that you can have immediate results from positive experiences that actually strengthen your immune system and reduce blood pressure.
  • Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Our minds are very powerful. Try saying several times a day “I let go of the old and welcome the new. I am moving through this transition easily and effortlessly. I am at peace with the process of life.”

 Again, do these things because you want to, not because I told you to. I heard Dr. Bernie Siegel say that we should be careful about doing things so we  won’t die, because we will. And we will “end up in heaven in group therapy” resenting the fact that we gave up our favorite foods, etc. and still died.

Take good care of yourself because you want to, because you deserve the best and because it will bring many more good things into your life, including success at work and in life. You deserve the best, are you ready to accept it now? If so, send that message to your body, mind and soul and see what happens.

LifeWorks stands with all of those working toward racial justice and equity.

We vow to listen and learn in order to be agents of change both through the work we do and how we live.

We stand in solidarity with the BIPOC communities in Milwaukee and across the country.