Sanctuary Counseling, LLC.
610.385.3155 610.850.8009

Change is Coming: How to Cope with the New

“Change is good”
“Change is inevitable”
“Change is necessary”
“Change of heart” “Change of pace” “Change of scene”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

I could list dozens of idioms in our lexicon that tell us how important change is. “We should expect it, we should like it, and we should roll with it,” is what they seem to boil down to.
As someone who loves a schedule, a list, and some structure, change is something that gets a side-eye from me. Nine times out of ten, the changes that pass through my life end up working out for the better, I just haven’t been able to get through my head that I don’t have to panic every time it comes. (I love the comfort that comes with knowing what is down the road and what to expect).

However, change doesn’t always need to be tied to panic and discomfort; change can sometimes bring unexpected happiness. It might be just what we’re needing without even knowing it.

The transition from grade school to high school; the transition from high school to college; the transition from college to “real life,” starting a new job. These changes are inevitable and necessary. And I survived them all. Who knew? I certainly didn’t at the time.
I was nervous each time I had to adapt, adjust, and grow comfortable with my new reality. Often when something new and different came along, I would brace myself for disaster (because I am wired that way!). Sometimes I would go in with low expectations so that I wouldn’t be disappointed or overwhelmed. And that is not great either.

The thing is, it didn’t matter whether I was prepared or disappointed, excited or scared.
Change was a’comin anyway.
What mattered was how I responded and reacted to these changes.

If I was nervous or scared, did I react as the situation deserved, or did I panic and shut down? If I was excited or prepared, did I get my hopes up too high? There is a balance to be found in all of this, and it seems that it’s something that will always be in flux.
Some helpful ways to cope with change are to engage in some mindfulness practices.
One specific tool is to utilize a deep breathing exercise when we find the panic and anxiety too much to manage. Simply find a comfortable space, take a few deep breaths, and follow a simple breathing pattern focused around breathing for 4 second intervals. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold the breath for 4 seconds. Repeat these four times through, and your brain and body will thank you!
Another helpful tool is to engage in some imagery, picturing what things in your life will remain constant. When change is on the horizon, it can be easy to get caught up in all the things that will be new and different, but many cornerstones and important aspects of life remain the same. Feeling grounded in what is and will continue to be can help us feel that the changes are less overwhelming.
So, don’t fear change; try to prepare for it.
Do what you can to be ready, and let life happen as it must.

Change is making its way to Sanctuary. We are constantly growing, and with that must come change. Sanctuary went from a small office in Douglassville to the house we are in now, many years ago. Then we added a second site in Collegeville. Our Collegeville location will soon make that same transition from a small office to a new house in Audubon.
And while this is a big change, it is one we are so ready for. We are expanding our hours as well as our space. We are taking on new clients and clinicians. We must rise to the challenge and face these changes with open arms, because they are necessary, and they are good. Good for us and good for you, as we welcome a new chapter in the Sanctuary story.

Book Review Series: Why reading should still be important to you

So you’ve just finished reading the last chapter of your scary huge textbook, you have to collect and read a pile of research articles, and you have to find time to proof read your 15 page research paper before tomorrow. Academic reading has consumed your life? As a graduate student with year-round school, please trust me when I say ME TOO. When I get home from class at night the LAST thing on my mind is reading a nice book for my mental and emotional health. To be completely frank, I’m so sick of reading that I’ve completely lost touch with how much books used to take care of me. I always feel so conflicted when I pick up a book, thinking “if I have time to read this, that means I have time to catch up on readings for school.” I get in such a weird headspace that I end up putting the book down and doing something else, whether it’s productive or not. I feel like I’m cheating my grades if I start reading for “fun.” This continual pressure is taking away my time to care for myself and I need to make a change. Recently I’ve made a deal with myself that I am going to let books start to take care of me again.

I want to see myself in their characters, I want their stories to make me think about the world, and I want their messages to comfort and ease my soul.

Books are such a magical way to find connection with people and stories without having to leave the comfort of your own thoughts. I love books. I’ve lost touch with what they used to mean to me, and that troubles me beyond words. They are the ultimate daydream. When I want to find a little solitude and enter a new reality where my stresses don’t exist, I read a book. Books have become the enemy and I am not okay with that. I want to renew my relationships with books and let them ease my stresses and soothe my soul.

I will be reading a new book every month and writing a short review about what the book has meant to me, how the book has impacted me, and how it might impact you in some way. Books are for learning. Books are also a form of rejuvenation for your mind and soul. I will be reading the soul hugging kind and recommending some of my favorites to the folks out there like me who have taken an accidental leave of absence from books and want to find enjoyment and fulfillment in them once again. I want to let books take care of me in the way that they used to. If you find yourself making these same remarks or these same excuses, please let me validate for you that you are not the only one. If you’ve recognized your relationships with books needs some attention, I invite you to join me in this new promise of self-care.

If you find some connection between my thoughts and your own experience, let’s meet back here and start a dialogue on the books I have chosen. The first book I am going to read (actually revisit) is a classic comfort read of mine that I just recently re-read as I renewed my commitment to reading: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I love this book. Meet me here and let me tell you why you would too.

Digital Scribeworks