I arrived in Paris at the end of April 2018 with the intention of staying a few months to improve my French and enjoy the city that I had come to love after many visits over the years. What had initially started as a short-term stay has turned into something a bit longer.
Moving to a new city isn’t a new experience for me but moving to a city where the language isn’t your mother tongue certainly is. There are lots of things that you have to adjust to in order to attempt to integrate yourself into the culture. I say attempt because I’m not sure I can say that I’m successful at it quite yet. That’s another topic in itself!
In addition, I have had many questions come up as to whether I can stay in the country due to various things like Brexit rearing its head. With all the changes that I have made in the last year ie settling into a new city combined with the uncertainty of the future has felt rather stressful at times (in between all the wonderful moments of being in this amazing place).
However along with the stress I have been reminded of some reassuring insights into how I can manage my life despite everything that is happening outside of me. No, I can’t control the government, the law and plenty of other things but I can influence how I feel, my perspective and ultimately how I approach my life.
So my three tops tips for dealing with change and uncertainty are:
I found that when I was in the present moment and not worrying about the future, I felt at ease and at peace with myself. One of the amazingly quick ways to do this is to breathe. It may sound a bit strange but when we’re stressed, we don’t actually breathe properly, and this is such a helpful thing to do to stop racing thoughts. Stop whatever you’re doing and focus on your breath. Consciously breathe slowly in and out until you can feel yourself calming down. Perhaps give meditation or mindfulness a try or a physical activity such as walking, running or yoga. The key thing is to enjoy it otherwise it’ll be hard for you to maintain a routine.
I had a great teacher tell me once that our feelings just want to be heard and once we give them the time of day, they move on. When I first heard about this method, I found it a bit scary to do it, afraid of what I might discover. However, it has turned into a wonderful practice that I enjoy doing daily. Our feelings are neither good or bad, but we have learnt to judge them that way. If we were to simply accept them as just feelings that sometimes feel good and sometimes not so good perhaps, we could let ourselves ‘be’ instead of often avoiding them.
Sometimes our greatest fear is that we won’t be able to handle whatever comes our way. Susan Jeffers writes a great deal on this in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (I would truly recommend it). This is the reason some people cling to unhealthy relationships or situations because they don’t want to be alone. They’d rather deal with the known of a horrible situation than try to take responsibility for themselves and really take steps to live the life that they actually want. My suggestion is to affirm to yourself that you can handle whatever comes your way and really trust in this statement. You can do this through regular repetitions like a mantra in your mind or having it written visibly at your desk.
If you are experiencing change and uncertainty at the moment, know that you are not alone. Life is constantly changing and evolving and as long as we’re learning and growing then we can be assured we’re heading in the right direction. Wishing you a wonderful start to the year!