Not everyone loves the lazy days of summer.
Early July is a time for change: School is over, holidays are upon us, routines are disrupted. Some people have difficulty dealing with the loss of structured time that keeps them feeling safe throughout the year.
Learning how to deal with change is all about having a strong self-image, says Dr. Albert de Goias, a Toronto-based counselor on mood and behavioural disorders. He has recently launched a website dedicated to understanding and dealing with change (go to understandingchange.org).
“Build a powerful and stable sense of self so that you can approach stress, disruption, or even stagnancy with a sense of creativity, purpose, and self-respect,” he says.
If you define yourself by your money, possessions, clothes, appearance or status, chances are, you won’t be strong when any of these things are taken away, he believes.
When change occurs or boredom sets in, some people deal with it by dwelling on problems, feeling victimized, becoming overwhelmed and turning to alcohol and drugs.
“Emotional angst is part of life,” says de Goias. “It does not have to proceed to depression and addiction if we realize that it comes whenever we have a situation we feel is beyond us or when we feel lost. It can be ‘blocked at the pass’ simply by knowing how to see our stresses as stimulants to personal growth.”
His advice? “Be a tourist in your own town,” he says. “Do cultural things, explore life with the curiosity of a child. Understand change as the energy that drives life, and realize there is no such thing as stability.”