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The switch from summer to fall reminds us that change is hard

Changes take us out of our comfort zone: mind, body, and emotions
Change can be difficult for people, for a wide range of reasons. (Photo credit:

By Elvenia Gray-Sandiford

Regrettably, the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer are ending, and it’s time to get ready for fall. Summer flew by swiftly, and now the mornings are getting darker and the evenings are cooler. This is the call for us to switch out our flexible schedules and return to more organized and rigid routines.

Fall is transitioning season. The abundance of summer’s plenty gives way to autumn’s harvest before bareness. This reminds us that nothing lasts forever, and for spring’s new growth to arrive, the stripping-away process of fall has to happen. Just as those going back to school may falter between the feeling of excitement and the feeling of trepidation and uncertainty regarding more academic rigour, we waited anxiously for the day to come and, as the reality set in, we became nervous and scared.

Changes in life are hard. Neuroscience tells us that our human brain is not wired to adjust to change or inspire new behaviours and break habits. When we feel tired or pressured, we arouse fight or flight responses and desire to go back into the familiar old habits and behaviours. Familiarity makes us feel content, and when routines or habits are interrupted, we can feel threatened.

Changes take us out of our comfort zone: mind, body, and emotions. Our experiences throughout life make us more likely to seek out familiarity and repeat past behaviours and patterns.

How we respond to the process of change can affect how we cope. If we feel contented, that feeling can cause us to repeat the behaviours until they become habitual, whereas if we feel fearful, we are more likely to resist change.

An important part of preparing for change at any stage of life is dealing with the fear of the unfamiliar. How can we navigate the unfamiliar? How can we become intentional in setting ourselves up for success? The good news is that with preparation and forethought, we can change the scripts we rehearse and deliver repeatedly. We may need to apply some of the critical thinking mindset skills we teach to our children to empower them to accomplish things that they never thought possible.

Fear plays a key part in resisting change. Fear starts in our mind and can manifest in our bodies physically, mentally, and emotionally. Where our mind leads, the rest of our body follows. The first thing is to figure out and place the fear — what is going on in our mind — and be aware of our thoughts around that. Once we identify, acknowledge, and mindfully sit in the discomfort for a bit, we can start to reframe our thinking about it.

Life’s changes can be complex and seem overwhelming, but each day presents us with new mysteries. And even when we do not really have a language to validate how we feel, once we accept those unknowns, we have more capacity to live life to the fullest. So, let’s transition from summer to fall with optimism. Just know that we are resilient and strong.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “The only constant is change.” Autumn illustrates the beauty of balancing light and dark; the letting go, and letting change happen. Let’s accept the impermanence of things by applying this concept to our lives. Here are some tips and possibilities:

- Plan ahead by doing the prep work

- Practise compassion and curiosity for whatever arises within our process by keeping note of our questions for future exploration

- Take care of ourselves, wherever we may be in the process

- Recognise areas of discomfort in ongoing growth

- Acknowledge that it is just the beginning point for some of us

- Develop new routines if needed

Happy fall, everyone!

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