This time of year lends itself to thinking about change. Falling leaves and cooler temps (in most northern hemisphere places) presage that seasonal change that some of us have been looking forward to for months and some of us have been dreading.
There have been a lot of changes in my life lately, and particularly in my space. It’s been interesting to watch my cats deal with the changes even as I am.
You may have noticed, cats don’t like change. Sure, they like new things to play with—my kitten will search out new things regularly. But that’s as far as their liking for change goes.
I think that’s a lot of us. We generally like changes we instigate, and we hate changes we aren’t in control of.
In watching my cats, I wonder if their approach to change might be helpful. (My apologies to dog people – I haven’t got one to observe at the moment.)
Lessons on dealing with change with a cat’s eye view:
Give yourself time to adjust and evaluate. Do it from as safe a place as you can, whether mentally/emotionally or physically or both. Yes, you might have to figure things out pretty quickly in some circumstances, but you almost always have a little time at least to sit back and take stock. Watch and wait, gather information, try not to make big decisions in highly stressful moments.
Be grounded. Usually the first thing my cats will check out is the food bowl, and second the litter box. Both very important details for life. Know what you need in the changes and where to find the things you need, whether practical, physical stuff or supportive people.
Then investigate a little closer. Be curious. Take a chance. Bat things around, maybe have a little fun with it, and see what happens. Taking thoughtful risks is necessary to healing and growth. And the more you can approach challenges with at least some positive feelings the more you are able to think outside the box and see possibilities instead of just problems.
Feel free to use your safe space. If it makes loud noises and startles you when you explore, it’s okay to retreat and regroup for a bit. Do some self-soothing, be mindful of your thoughts and don’t let them get into that negative spiral.
If it doesn’t work out, shake it off and move on. Turn your back on the negative experience, do a little self-care, and look for the next opportunity. If the way things went down was embarrassing, you can even add your equivalent to that little shoulder lick cats do, a mix of both pulling themselves together and dissing the embarrassment.
Take a nap.
Okay, maybe not literally. However, rest and relaxation is an important part of self-care.
Change is hard. There are a lot of things we can do to help ourselves, and set ourselves up for success in handling whatever comes our way.
If you’re going through some hard changes and need support, we can offer you that. You can reach us through this website or our Facebook page @wholeandholypa.
(PC: Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash)