No matter how much we prepare in advance, chances are very good that plans will have to change along the way. Some people are adept at going with the flow when this happens, but for others, a sudden schedule change can be debilitating.
There’s no magic solution
that makes plans bullet-proof or changes easier to handle, but there are some
things you can do to help your brain cope with the stress of change. And most
of the following tips can be implemented at the moment plans fall through, or
even afterward, so it’s not all about planning ahead for changing plans!
- Have a Plan B. And maybe even C. Unexpected changes are most difficult to handle when we don’t have a backup. Think ahead of time about how you might pivot if you needed to, and you’re more likely to be able to make the shift gracefully.
- Focus on what you can control. It’s upsetting when changes are beyond your control, and it’s also important to remember that worrying about those things won’t help. Instead, look at the elements of a plan that are in your control and do what you can with those.
- Look for learning opportunities. This may come after the fact, but if you can reframe the experience as a chance to learn something it may be easier to let go of anxiety.
- Treat yourself kindly. There is no point in berating yourself about your reaction when plans fall through, or piling shame on top of whatever unhappiness you were already feeling. Give yourself the chance to feel and acknowledge your feelings without judgement and you’re more apt to be able to move on.