The Vine – Issue 5 – Changes
Curated by John McCallum-Cherry
Welcome to The Vine.
A monthly editorial bringing fresh cultural content from Bloom.
“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment.
Who loves orange soda? K-k-kel loves orange soda.
Who loves change? K-k-kel… isn’t sure?
Change is one of life’s constants, the only one according to Heraclitus. It can be scary; fun; profitable; heart-breaking; purposeful; painful; minor; an opportunity. Reading this, you could be – about to finish a degree, transitioning between jobs, grieving, pondering a relocation, newly single, in a long-term relationship. It could be none of the above, but I’d be willing to wager change is winging its way to you, even in the form of a bus timetable.
Is change good? That’s a tough one. The answer exists in your individual context. Can change be healthy? Yup. Can change be painful? Double yup. One fact about change is that it comes together with loss. That could be the loss of a loved one; a comfort zone; a negative personality trait; a routine; convenience. Change can be a major anxiety stimulus, and it’s important to know that you don’t have to be rocked by it.
Float like a (balanced) butterfly, sting like a (resilient) bee. Change can feel overwhelming. It’s important to accept change and its main pal – uncertainty. Not hiding behind denial, accepting the uncertainty and facing the situation is incredibly brave.
If a big change is on the horizon, plan plan plan. Be prepared to scrap the plan. Be realistic with your mental wellbeing and physical health. What can you handle? If your immediate response is ‘not a lot’, I can promise you that you can handle a lot more than you think.
Know your people. It can be family or friends: a mixture of both. It might only be one or two; it could be a village. But know your people. The ones you vent to, who guide you, who can offer comfort. Be prepared for new people to join or replace these people.
Do something new. If you’re feeling a loss – through bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship, unemployment, a friendship circle, a home town. Fill it with new activities and hobbies. The world is quite literally your oyster. Learn how to cook oysters.
Resilience is an aspect of mental wellbeing that can be learned and practised. It’s a skill that’s not defined by how you’ve previously dealt with change but it requires self-evaluation and honesty. First: recognise the stress that is stemming from change, where is it in your body? Second: what small changes can have a big impact in your life? (Sleep, nutrition, exercise). Third: cultivate the calm – mindfulness, yoga, relaxation techniques. Fourth: What strengths do you have? Fifth: Find the funny in the mundane. Express genuine emotion. Sixth: Engage in meaningful activities – what puts you in ‘the flow’? Seventh: Identify problematic thinking and counter it. Eighth: Connect. Communicate. Care.
Finally, change is exciting. Life would be tedious without it. If you can turn that anxiety stimulus into an excitement stimulus, that’s half the battle won.
“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” – Ovid.