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Time to try something new?

a paper that says "try something new"

Reruns were part of my childhood. From Gilligan’s Island and I Love Lucy to Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, I kept up with them all. In the 1970’s and 80’s, many people in American culture grew up with sitcom theme songs running through the soundtrack of their lives. Can you finish the lyrics of this theme song? “Here’s a story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls…”

Yes, I was a Brady Bunch fan. One of the many memorable episodes of the family’s adventures was the time when the half-dozen kids became a singing group and the middle son’s voice began to crack. In a truly epic scene, Peter finally embraced these changes and boldly stepped forward to belt out his part of “When it’s time to change, then it’s time to change.”

While I may be thinking a little too deeply about this Brady Bunch episode and disregarding the references to the changes of puberty, it did get me thinking about these words – When it’s time to change, then it’s time to change.

Change can be hard.
Change can be hard. I mean really hard. Sometimes being stuck in a rut can mean feeling frozen, anxious, depressed or in distress. But the world and our lives are ever changing and evolving, and identifying when it is really time to make a change can take help from others. This might mean friends, family, or seeking out the help of a professional.

It’s kind of like a caterpillar.
Picture a little caterpillar friend. It can’t stay a caterpillar forever. It has to grow, and even outgrow its exoskeleton. Several times. For those of us who geek out about butterflies, the monarch caterpillar (a.k.a. larva) sheds its exoskeleton 5 times, and each time is called an instar. (Monarch Watch) Don’t worry, there isn’t a quiz at the end.

And all of that work and change comes before it even moves on to the chrysalis stage and goes through metamorphosis to transform into the butterfly. All of those changes take a lot out of our caterpillar friend.

Have you ever felt like you needed to do some growing, too? Maybe your family is outgrowing your home and you need to take steps to find a new place. Maybe it’s a job where you are feeling stagnant and ready to take on more challenges. It can even be a relationship with your partner or family members. We all experience change. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so good. And sometimes we can feel stuck and know it’s time to do some growing and changing, but it seems overwhelming.

Getting out of a rut can feel difficult and scary. There can be many aspects of making life changes that I can’t fully address in this post. However, one first step to making a change is actually taking a first step. It can be as small as going outside for a walk, decluttering one shelf, or learning something new.

Ideas for getting started
These are some ideas for first steps that, when done consistently, can make a big difference in your life.

  • Get out into nature and notice the world around you. Extension Educators Cheri Burcham and Brittnay Haag presented an impactful webinar on Wellness and Nature. According to the educators, “Many studies over the years have shown a positive correlation between spending time in nature and improved mental and physical health outcomes – like decreased incidence of anxiety and depression, diabetes, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), infectious diseases, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal complaints, migraines, respiratory disease - of course stress - and other conditions. It has even been tied to increased life expectancy and longevity.”
  • Add movement to your daily routine – go for a walk, park further away from the store entrance, take the stairs rather than the elevator. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week, but recognize that jumping into that level of exercise may not be for everyone. Setting reachable goals and then increasing over time is a great way to improve health. For example, I may not be able to run a marathon or complete an hour-long exercise class, I can walk around the block or have a 20-minute dance party in my living room.
  • Practice self-care – this can be in the form of going to bed a little earlier, doing something you enjoy every day, visiting with a friend, or even relishing a warm cup of coffee.
  • Practice a mindfulness technique like box breathing, meditation, or making a calming jar. According to Mayo Clinic,  meditation has been shown to be effective in helping stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure.
  • Strengthen the relationship with your partner and enroll in Strong Couples. It’s led by researchers and educators with University of Illinois Extension. It’s designed to provide proven online help for relationships. It’s FREE!
  • Want to change how you impact your kids’ learning of life lessons and behavior throughout their growth from pre-K through high school? Check out the Terrific Teachable Moments App. Go to your favorite app store and search for Terrific Teachable Moments and download for FREE.
  • Learn something new – Listen to a podcast, watch a video, or even signup for a workshop or webinar. Extension has many resources to help your exploration and provide resources to improve your life and family. 

For those of you who have memories of the Brady Bunch, reach back, far into the depths of the 70’s and recall their “Time to Change” song. Go ahead ponder the chorus and decide if you are ready to take a first step in becoming more of who you are:

When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange
Who you are into what you’re gonna be.
Sha na na na na na na na na
Sha na na na na  

So who are you gonna be?


American Heart Association

“Dough Re Mi.” The Brady Bunch, created by Sherwood Schwartz, season 3, episode 16, Redwood Productions, Paramount Television, 14 Jan. 1972.

Kuo, Ming. (2015). How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising mechanisms and a possible central pathway. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from:

Mayo Clinic

Monarch Watch

University of Illinois Extension Wellness in Nature Webinar