by Kelly Jo Fassbinder, Marketing Specialist

One of my favorite things about the Midwest is the change of the seasons, and fall by far is my favorite. Fall is synonymous with change. Summer break ends and school starts; temperatures shift from warm to cool; and days get shorter and darker earlier.

Change can be exciting and something we’ve been looking forward to, but can also make us feel fearful and anxious or uneasy. We can find ourselves looking forward to some changes, yet resistant to others. And as we’ve probably all experienced, some changes we can see coming and prepare ourselves for, and others come along and steamroll our comfortable daily lives.

I am the first to admit that I strive on schedules. I love making and crossing off tasks on a list and find comfort in planning. So it came as a surprise to me, when I was fully aware of all the changes that would be coming my way this past fall that I was feeling uneasy and a bit anxious. I quickly learned that all the planning and focus was on the details, and I had overlooked how the changes were going to make me feel.

These changes you ask… bear with me, I promise it all sounded logical at the time of planning. We moved our youngest daughter, a 2020 high school graduate, off to college. We also moved our upcoming 2021 college graduate from college to her final student teaching assignment. Looking ahead to it just being the two of us, my husband and I put our house on the market, sold it, found a new home to downsize to, and yep, you guessed it, we also moved.

True to form, I had boxes packed, movers lined up, trucks reserved, closing dates set, everything labeled, utilities changed, and change of address cards mailed in. Lists were being crossed off, and with three moves in three months, I was proud and pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it all went. It was when things started to settle that I realized how quiet things got, how different it felt, how everything felt unfamiliar. There were little things that I didn’t know I was going to miss, and being so excited for what was to come, surprised at the overall feeling of melancholy.

As I was feeling like emotions were starting to stack up like layers on a cake, growing a little taller each day, I knew I needed to take a step back and be proactive. I “Googled” how I could cope better and found a few things helpful.

I started first with acknowledging how I was feeling and that it was okay. I tried to stick to my daily routine, and made sure to take the time to eat and make healthy choices. I made a conscious choice the next time a friend asked me how I was doing to share that I was struggling. Being someone I trusted and who had been through the same type of life changes, I accepted her support and help. And finally, I gave myself a break. I hadn’t realized how much pressure and stress I was putting on myself.

Like many things in our lives, change is a process and a journey. We learn things about ourselves, join the community of the experienced, and one day may get the opportunity to pay it forward and be there for someone else just when they need it.

Oh, and those changes, well there was one more that came along that this time wasn’t exactly expected. After working from home the past 20 years while raising our girls, I thought I’d keep an eye open for an opportunity to take my experience into the work force once again. I knew with very specific marketing and design experience in education and healthcare, it might take a while to find something – and it needed to be just the right fit. Little did I know… not only did an opportunity present itself, but an exceptional opportunity, in a very special place. I am proud to be joining the marketing team here at Southwest Health as the new Marketing Specialist. I am excited to be here and join such an amazing group.

I want to end with a quote I saw once that stuck with me. It summarizes my love of fall, and exemplifies the process of change – anticipated or unexpected.  “The trees are about to show us just how beautiful change can be.”  I encourage you when change quietly knocks, or unexpectedly kicks down your door, to acknowledge how you are feeling, to not be afraid to ask or accept support, try to stick to routines that feel familiar, and give yourself a little break too.

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