As I write this, the last few weeks have been pretty stressful with a move to not only a new home but city and country. Although I have traveled to the US extensively in my career, there are a lot of differences in what needs to get done with this move versus moving to another place in Canada.
It has been a lot.
A lot a lot.
I knew this stress would be a part of it, and as I write this, I thought about how the feelings that this move is evoking are similar to the feeling that I have had in the past with switching jobs either from one district to another, or entirely different career paths.
As I shared in Because of a Teacher Volume II, “Looking back is the key to moving forward.”
With that being said, I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned in the past from those changes that helped me through the times I started to question if I made the right decision.
1. Ask for help early rather than too late.
I don’t know my way around this place, and I was pretty proud that I found my way to the gym today after a week without using Google maps! Those little victories mean a lot 🙂
But as I get settled, I don’t hesitate to ask people for help and to tell me things I don’t know. A friend of mine told me that when he moved to a new place, he “made it his business to get to know people,” which made it so much easier for him to get acclimated to a new location.
The same is true in a new school.
I made it my business to get to know the custodians, office staff, EAs, veteran staff, and community members, to not only understand the ABCs of the place but also to get to know the culture of the place I was entering.
It is easier to ask before you start something than to ask for help after and try to backtrack from a mistake.
People often remember having a “first day” (or week, month, year, etc.) and are usually pretty helpful.
2. Stick with routines that help you find success outside of your job.
Certain routines in my life had helped me with work, new beginnings, and change that is thrust upon me (even when it was by my own doing).
These things help me keep my mental and physical health, whether it is practicing gratitude in the morning, ensuring I meet my “step count” each day, and focusing on a healthy eating regimen. Change is much harder to deal with if you do not care for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
3. See yourself and where you plan to be six months down the road.
New beginnings can be challenging.
They often can make you long for the “old life” and what you knew before.
It is often why we get scared in new relationships and can be tempted to venture back to the old ways, whether they were dysfunctional or not. They might not have worked, but we at least knew what to expect.
But now EVERYTHING is new and uncomfortable.
Six months from now, though, you will know your way around, and things can be WAY better than before.
And do you know how I know that?
Because you have been through this before, and so have I.
I love the thought that if you are reading this, you have made it through 100% of your most challenging days, whether we like to admit it or not.
There is a reason we are taking advantage of this new opportunity. Don’t lose sight of that in the beginning “ickiness” that we face as we deal with change.
4. Take advantage of the fresh start.
The beautiful thing about new beginnings is that you not only get a fresh start but so does everyone around you with whom you interact.
I remember struggling to find a different job in the early 2000s, and when I finally got a new position, I promised myself that I would recreate myself in a way that I would not struggle like that ever again. I took advantage of a blank slate and was very conscious of not falling back into past routines that led me to struggle in the first place.
You are new to everyone, and everyone is new to you. That can be intimidating or empowering, depending on how you want to look at it. I believe the best change we can deal with is the one we initiate (in) ourselves.
As a final reminder for myself, I haven’t been feeling well, and so this kid came up to me, snuggled beside me, and wanted to watch a movie. You will always be fine if you keep the people closest to you near (no matter how far away they are.)