Strategies that can help you adjust to life changes
6 minute read
In this episode of the Age Co podcast, we talk to Sue Brown, a life and personal performance coach. Together we discuss how big changes can impact later life and what strategies she recommends for successfully navigating these challenges.
Change happens to us all and at every stage in our lives. Family dynamics, retirement, health issues, downsizing or relationship breakdowns – events such as these can sometimes feel harder to navigate as we grow older.
That’s why we had a chat with Sue Brown about how we can better manage change and feel confident doing so. Sue is a life and personal performance coach, who helps people make changes and adapt to challenging circumstances in their lives, no matter their age.
What is a life coach and how can they help?
Unlike counselling, a coach doesn't offer advice or delve into someone's past. Rather their role is to support clients in identifying, setting and achieving their goals. For some that might mean embarking on a new career, finding a new purpose post-retirement, or learning a new skill while for others it could be about adjusting to a new way of life following a change in health or the loss of a long-term partner.
A life coach will give people the time and space to be heard, and to say things out loud that they might not say to other people. It also allows them to ask questions that help them to form, in their own minds, what they need and how to get it.
Coaches will also offer practical tips such as writing things down in a notebook to tackle negative ways of thinking.
Finding the right coach and understanding how they can help is essential to achieve your goals.
Staying open-minded and embracing change
Many of us in later life think it’s too late to alter our circumstances, especially if an unexpected event or challenge, such as an illness, has been thrust upon us.
However, as Sue explains, that is not necessarily the case as it’s our attitude that impacts our ability to adapt to change.
She suggests we should learn to spot old beliefs that could be holding us back.
For example, you may have experienced something similar in the past, so you think you can deal with the situation in exactly the same way. A new change with old thoughts and processes may no longer work for you.
People may see this as a failure when actually it's an opportunity to learn and to grow.
She says if we can learn to accept change, if not embrace it, it will help us to move on to new things.
Tips to help you adjust to big life events and changes
Big life changes could include losing your mobility, going back to work, losing your driving licence or becoming a widow.
Sue understands that not everyone will be able to call on a coach after a life-changing event. She says there are steps you can take independently of a life coach to approach change or a goal with a proactive attitude:
- Set a goal and write it down so you can refer to it every day.
- Break down your goal into smaller achievable tasks so you aren’t overwhelmed.
- Find ways to keep on track and motivated, such as treating yourself every time you complete something.
- If you hit a bump in the road, do not be hard on yourself or overthink it. Learn from it and move on. Think of a different way of doing things and call on different people for support and a new perspective.
- Avoid perfection since it often leads to procrastination. Envision what you’d like your life to look like and all the things you could do to make that happen one action at a time.
- Call on support from friends, family and organisations to keep you motivated, on track and accountable.
Sue reminds us of the importance of self-care as we navigate change. She understands that carving out time for ourselves can be tough if we have people who are dependent on our time, but says we can’t help others if we’re exhausted or unfulfilled – and certainly not ourselves.
She encourages us to schedule at least 30 minutes each day to do something that brings us joy or helps us focus on our goal. This could include:
- Taking a bath and read a book
- Tinker in the shed or greenhouse
- Take a walk
- Listen to a podcast while you enjoy your morning tea or coffee
- Complete a craft or project
Whatever changes you may be facing or want to make, listen to our podcast to pick up more of Sue’s tips on how to approach change with a new sense of purpose. Sue welcomes you to reach out to her via her website The Cross Roads Coaching to discuss how she may help you or a loved one.