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Flexibility & Adaptability: Channeling New Strengths     

Written by: Megan Barfield, M.S.
Flexibility & Adaptability: Channeling New Strengths     

It is no surprise that the year 2020 has brought each of us a multitude of emotions: fear, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, and confusion to name a few. Change has been an ever-present concept this year, placing us in situations where we must adapt. These changes look and feel different for each individual, family, and organization and can be both positive and negative. As we continue to adjust to how our daily routines maybe still don’t feel “routine,” it is important to channel adaptability as either a new strength for ourselves or a quality we have had that has been sharpened in a trying time.

The losses experienced this year are innumerable: celebrations, jobs, loved ones, opportunities, in-person social interactions, education, and so many more. With each of these experiences, we have adapted our lives, our homes, our relationships to best fit our “new normal.” Adaptability has become a valued quality and a greatly needed one at that. This may come naturally to some and be a challenge for others, so here are a few ways to strengthen your adaptability.

  1. Refrain from planning everything and focus on planning your next step. Staying as present-focused as possible allows more room for both flexibility and a decreased possibility of a fully developed plan discouraging you further.
  2. Differentiate what is in your control and what is outside of it. This can be done in individual situations or with your overall perspective. For example, “I can’t control a state mandate to quarantine. I can control how often I call, text, or FaceTime my friends for support.”
  3. Focus on your strengths! There are many gifts and talents that we each possess that can contribute to adaptability and success in uncertain times, including patience, compassion, and problem-solving skills. If adaptability doesn’t feel like one of your greatest strengths, you have many others!
  4. Add things you enjoy into your days to reduce stress. Productivity may decrease with a changed or lessened structure, regardless of the “time” we feel that we have. Get outside and take a walk if the weather is enjoyable, watch the movie you’ve been waiting to see and haven’t had time for, and say “no” to a phone call that may drain you more than you can manage today. Pay attention to what you need and what feels good.