February 26, 2021

Learning to be Adaptable

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Over this past year, we have all had to work on our skills of being adaptable. COVID has forced our society to become more flexible. Parents have had to learn to be flexible with working from home and help their kids with online learning, all the while letting their own self care go to the back burner. Some people might say they are good at being flexible or adaptable, while others would say they are not good at being adaptable because they like structure or are more rigid. It is important for us all to realize that, as humans, we have the ability to be structured and adaptable at the same time. It might be hard to tap into one more than the other, but it is possible!

Ever-changing Systems

Everyday I wake up, take care of my son, eat breakfast, and then get ready for work. That is my everyday morning system.Everyday while at work each day, I meet with people, write notes, and sit in meetings. Now, these are two different systems that are apart from my everyday personal life, but if I take a step back and look at my life from a wide angle lense, I would see how adaptable I am even within my own rigid everyday systems.

At least a few times a week, I have meetings change at the last minute, clients needing to reschedule, and other last minute things that pop up which make me change and be adaptable. If you take a step back and analyze your day and week from that wide angle lense, you would also notice how your ridged, set in stone, daily systems are always changing and showing your ability to be adaptable.

Showing Yourself Compassion

I am personally the type of person who likes to plan out their day as best I can at the beginning. This works great and allows me to stay on top of tasks that need to be done in my personal life and in my work life. But, changes happen all of the time and you can either try to roll with the punches of change, or allow it to derail your day by causing anxiety and anger.

To help manage the changes and be adaptable, it can be helpful to specifically plan in extra time in advance for the unexpected thing to come up. Now this still might not work all the time, and in those moments it is important to show yourself the compassion you deserve. It might be hard, but don’t allow the late changes or additions to your day cause you to be angry at yourself or others. If you feel yourself getting anxious or angry because of things popping up in your day that you did not plan for, then take a step back, pause, identify and validate the emotion you are experiencing and tell yourself, “it is okay.” At the end of the day, you will get everything done, and even if you don’t, there is always tomorrow!

Reach Out

Navigating these changing systems can be difficult and it can be helpful to have someone help you navigate these changes. I work with a lot of clients on being able to recognize these systems and the changes that occur with them.

Sometimes, it just takes having someone else in the room helping you reframe and see these changes in a more positive light. Don’t be afraid of needing to be adaptable, and don’t be upset if you need help with navigating how to be adaptable. Myself, or any other therapist at Optimum Joy would love to work with you on reframing, and see your day in a different light.

Written by therapist Alex Parlette

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