For most of us in North America, back to school season signals change. The end of summer, the start of something new and the struggle to get back into routines.
Some people thrive in this environment. They enjoy meeting new people and having fresh experiences. However, most people have a twinge of apprehension whenever a change or new start looms. Even if it’s a good change, we don’t know how it will turn out. What if it’s not as great as the last thing?
Maybe you’re not starting a new school year, but perhaps your church is starting up small groups or you’re considering joining a Bible study. It could be you’re moving to a new city, or looking for a different job. Whatever the change, it threatens to bring a roller coaster of emotions that leave you exhausted and drained.
So how do you face the inevitable change and come to a place where you maybe even embrace it? Here are a few tips for finding that silver lining.
Three tips for starting the school year off right
First, let’s get practical. Change and new experiences are always more difficult when you lack exercise, sleep and nutritious food. If you sense yourself reacting more than responding, check in with yourself and make sure you’re taking care of your body.
Decide to get involved
Joining a community where you don’t know anyone can be intimidating and a little bit scary. One of the best ways to make connections is by getting involved. Volunteer to help, say hello, participate in the conversation.
It’s hard putting yourself out there, but if everyone waits for someone else to introduce themselves and speak first, then no one benefits.
Commit to ask for help
I think most of us would agree that being asked for help is easier than asking for help. And yet, we all need it from time to time, so ask! You may feel shy to approach someone you don’t know well and possibly impose on them. That’s OK. Start small. Pray about it. When you need help but you don’t know who to ask, then ask God who you should approach. The important part here is to listen and then obey when you notice the prompt.
In school, there is no shame in hiring a tutor or requesting extra help with an assignment. These people want you to succeed and will help you however they can. The same is true, most of the time, in other aspects of life. For example, asking for help when you’re unsure if you’re going the right direction is not a big deal, if you can get over your own pride and embarrassment.
Determine to have fun!
Starting anything comes with challenges, but it can also be enjoyable as long as you’re open to the ups and downs of the experience. If you begin with an open mind and watch for ways to have fun, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.
Many times, new opportunities arise because you put yourself in a new situation where you were stretched outside your comfort zone. Maybe you become exposed to a new way of looking at something, or introduced to someone who is connected in an industry you’d like to learn more about. Whatever it is, when you’re open to whatever comes, you’ll find new experiences much more enjoyable and hopefully the good outweighs the hard.
Whether you’re going back to school or you’re starting an entirely new career, at the end of the day, change is difficult and it throws us all for a loop. But by learning to manage your stress and finding healthy ways to cope, you will find ways to achieve balance and harmony through the transition.