Life Lessons

Coping Mechanisms When You Are Forced into Change

Recognise your worth in this world.

Sam H Arnold
Jul 7, 2020 · 7 min read

Throughout a person’s life, there will be good times and bad times. It is like a ride on a seesaw, there are ups and there are downs. Change can come in all forms, from losing your job, relationship, or a loved one.

Research has been extensive into change and the effect it has on us.

  1. Death of a loved one
  2. Separation / Divorce
  3. Planning an event — such as marriage
  4. Starting a new job / Losing a job
  5. Workplace Stress

Isolation was a strange time for the majority of the general public. There were days when we cried and days when we celebrated. Some people found staying in, harder than they ever thought. Some managed better than they thought they would.

Parents became teachers, teachers became parents.

Throughout this process, I was no different than the majority. There were days when I loved my new life, that I had carved out for myself and there were days when I hated it.

My major low points were missing my family. Especially, my mum and my sister, a nurse on the frontline. The week I found out that she had COVID-19 was one of my low points. There was a silver lining though, her children tested negative. We can also now meet up again, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this Friday, finally, seeing her after so many months.

Even though we were all coping in different ways, as a family we kept in touch. Thankfully we are in a time of technology, could you imagine going through this without video call or the internet. As a family, we have laughed together, cried together, and put the world to rights.

Whenever these life-changing events happen, we have to look for the positive in the situation. Change is hard for all of us, however, there are positives and coping mechanisms you can deploy.

As with any change you need to give yourself time to process. Isolation was good for this because it gave us time. When was the last time, we could sit and think?

In a world where 70 hour weeks are the average to support a family, we have to make time to sit and reflect.

During isolation, I was worried about money, as so many of us were. I had never had the time to sit and reflect. During a bad day, I was moaning to my partner about work and she said something that changed my life.

You have always wanted to write full-time, now you have the opportunity and you moan.

She was completely right. Isolation, not only allowed me to write full-time but time to reflect on it. With any life-changing event, you have to give yourself time to reflect and live with the event.

Use your time to reflect on your own life. Are you happy in the job, do you want a change? Could you even get used to having less money to pursue the career you want? What do you enjoy doing, could that be a career? What would the person you are missing want you to do? How do I move my life forward? All these, are valid questions that you need to explore.

Another casualty of the hectic lives is time with our family and friends. From personal experience, I can tell you, many of those friends and family will be there if you need them.

When a change happens it is these people that know us well, that we can rely on. They can help us reflect and heal. They can help us move forward with our lives.

When I lost my teaching job I was devastated. The one positive that sprung immediately to mind was I could now be home with my family more. Rarely as a family, did we cook and eat together. I now run a tutoring business from my house. As I work through my appointments and paperwork I sit in my study and sat beside me is my two-year-old playing games. This would never have happened before, she would be going to bed, many evenings as I returned home from work.

As with many working parents I got to see what my partner does every day. I developed a new realisation of how difficult it is being the parent at home. I appreciate what my partner does, so much more now. I have spent time walking in her shoes with the children and it is exhausting. I often joked I was going to work for a rest, I now know I was telling the truth.

Losing my job afforded me this opportunity to experience this.

All of us become engrossed in our lives. Whether it is a relationship that has gone bad, an ill relative, or a job loss we forget where we came from. Once the change has occurred we have time to go back to basics.

Again when I lost my job as a Deputy Head, I realised I had gone into teaching because I liked teenagers. As a Deputy, I never saw the teenagers. I was never seeing the pupils, I was too busy in meetings. Move forward six months and I work with students every day.

Lockdown also provided us a time to go back to basics and see what is important. There are only so many times you can look at the pictures of your friends in isolation before you become bored. The thousands of pouting females on my Instagram have dried up, thank god. People who were obsessed about what they looked like, now rarely get out of their pajamas.

Over lockdown, I lost my phone for two days. Can you imagine it, a year ago that would have sent me into panic mode? The new me no longer checks it for work emails or social media. It can all wait. Now I use my phone to ring my mum and as a remote for apple tv that is it. Playing in the garden and learning to cook is the new surfing the internet. The time I have spent with my girls has been a time I will forever cherish.

Over the last months, footballers, celebrities and other famous people have been replaced with a newfound affection for our workers. Nurses, delivery men, and even dustmen are the true heroes of our generation. Any frontline workers who have put their health and that of their families second to supporting us. These are our true heroes.

When any change happens you need to recognise your worth in this world. For ten years, I lived with a man who treated my writing as a joke. He thought it was my little hobby and used to laugh about it. He never read one of my posts, maybe he couldn’t read. I joke, but you get the idea. He held me back from my dream. I thought I was not good enough to compete as a writer.

After this relationship ended, I examined my self-worth. I was a good writer, I knew that. Okay, I had some improvement to do. Don’t we all, show me a writer who says they are perfect and I will show you his ghostwriter. Unhealthy relationships do this to us, they take our confidence. Unhealthy relationships can occur in the home or workplace.

Take your time to establish what you are good at. What beliefs and dreams have you put on hold. Now change has happened, you have the chance to reevaluate this along with everything else. My new partner supports this process completely.

None of these changes can be absorbed overnight. You have to give yourself time for this process to work its way through your life. Time is a great healer, we have all heard the quote. It is true, with any change we have to give ourselves the time to work through the process.

You will become angry, you will shout and cry. This is all part of adapting to change. Embrace every step of the journey.

When my relationship broke up, my husband spent the week after visiting all my friends. He went to every one of them and told them his story. His final torment was to isolate and take my friends away. However, I knew how awful he was at committing to any relationship. Sure enough, in the years that have proceeded he hasn’t visited them once. The ones that sided with him, lost two friends that day.

Millionaires like Richard Branson used to be admired, during lockdown he became despised. A billionaire like him asked the government to furlough his staff. It still makes me shake my head in disgust. We saw the rich for the selfish people they were, rather than elevating them to hero status. Some celebrities show their true spirit. Celebrities such as Karren Brady who took a cut in wages to ensure her workforce was paid. Landlords who told their tenants not to pay rent for a couple of months.

You have to take the time, be patient, and wait. If nothing else time is a great healer.

There is not a person alive, who is not affected by change. Some relish it and look for it everywhere they go. Some like me find it difficult to deal with. Through talking, examining your feelings, and giving it time, you will deal.

To survive change it is best to embrace it. Change your mindset to look at the positive and the negatives will start to fade. If this is the loss of a loved one, slowly look at the life you had. Be grateful for that life and not the life you lost.

Humans by their biology are adaptable. Use these tips to help with any change you might encounter. Move forward, having dealt with the past.

It is hard to turn the page when you know someone won’t be in the next chapter, but the story must go on – Thomas Wilder


How to be your best self.

Sam H Arnold

Written by

Author of True Crime & History with Writing Tips thrown in occasionally. See all my writing and support my work —


Make tomorrow better today.

Sam H Arnold

Written by

Author of True Crime & History with Writing Tips thrown in occasionally. See all my writing and support my work —


Make tomorrow better today.

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