Transitions are a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. You find comfort in routine, and a change in the status quo can put you on edge or make you feel lost. The things you’ve once taken for granted are no longer a part of your day-to-day life, and with that, comes adjustments to a new normal.
Some life transitions are expected and planned out in advance. For example, you might have prepared for a long time for a career change or a move to a new state. Other changes come as a surprise, though. A death in the family, medical diagnosis, job loss, or other unexpected or unwanted transitions can completely turn your life upside down.
It’s normal to feel confused, overwhelmed, or angry during major life transitions. Even exciting transitions that you look forward to can cause stress and anxiety. You may have lost the usual parts of your routine that brought you comfort, and you may worry about an unknown future. Although struggling with transitions is completely valid, it’s also possible to ease the burden and find healthy ways to cope with transitional periods in life.
In many cases, the transition itself isn’t the main cause of hardship. Instead, your thoughts and emotions during the transition are the major contributors to the stress. By taking care of your mental health and changing your perspective, you can make it through life transitions with minimal challenges.
Here Are Six Tips for Managing Transitions in Life
1. Practice Mindfulness
One of the main causes of stress during transitions is worry about the future. You might find yourself constantly thinking about how these changes will affect your life in one month, one year, or 10 years. Changing your life now does change your future, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed with anxiety about what’s ahead.
Practicing mindfulness is easier said than done, but you can take small steps to encourage yourself to focus on the present moment. When you find yourself worrying about the future, try to consciously redirect your mind to your current situation. Think about what you’re feeling and experiencing right now, not about what you may experience in the future. Try to ground yourself in the present moment by looking around your environment and pointing out things you see, hear, smell, or feel.
Mindfulness meditation can be valuable, too. Set aside five to 10 minutes per day to sit quietly, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Whenever your mind wanders, gently refocus on your breath. As you get more comfortable with the practice, you’ll find it easier and easier to focus on the present.
2. Think of Stress as a Challenge
You may not be able to control stressful circumstances, but you can control how you view them. Re-framing your perspective on a situation is one of the best ways to make it feel more manageable.
Instead of thinking about all the ways your stress overwhelms you, think of how it can challenge you. Identify the lessons you can learn from this experience and the ways you can learn and grow. By accepting the transition as a challenge, you’ll feel motivated to rise to the occasion and let the experience make you stronger, wiser, and more resilient.
3. Remember Your Previous Transitions
If you feel like you’ll never make it through this life transition, remember all the other times you’ve successfully managed change. Recall your previous moves, job changes, the ends or beginnings of relationships, and every other major life change you’ve been through. Those transitions probably weren’t easy, but you survived. You were strong then, and you will also be strong during this change.
4. Prepare as Much as Possible
There are some practical steps you can take to ease the stress of life transitions. Some transitions happen suddenly, and you can’t do much to prepare. However, if you’re expecting a life change, do everything in your power to prepare in advance. Being logistically ready for a transition will greatly reduce your stress, which will make the emotional aspects of the event much easier to manage.
If you’re moving, start packing and organizing as soon as possible. Allow yourself more time than you think you’ll need so that you don’t have to scramble to arrange things at the last minute. If you’re starting a new job, learn as much as you can about the company or about your job responsibilities before your first day. Financial preparation is key before transitions, too. Budget your money and save as much as possible in case you face unexpected costs, unpaid time off work, or other monetary issues.
5. Remember Your Self-care Routine
When your life is dramatically changing, it’s easy to forget self-care. However, self-care is even more important during transitions than it is when your life feels stable. By taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health, you’ll feel ready to take on whatever changes life throws your way.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. During a life transition, you can add some simple activities to your daily routine to stay healthy. One of the best self-care habits is getting enough sleep. It can be easy to lose sleep when going through a life transition, but feeling rested will help you manage stress and think clearly. Exercise can be great for self-care, too. Physical activity reduces stress, improves your mood, and alleviates body aches and pains.
Most importantly, find the daily habits that help you feel good. Even if you’re busy managing the transition, take a few minutes every day for yourself. Engage in your hobbies, listen to your favorite songs, do something artistic, or discover other activities that relieve stress and soothe your mind.
6. Reach out to Your Support System
You don’t have to manage life transitions on your own. You can reach out to friends, family, or your community for practical or emotional support as you navigate changes in life. If you don’t have a strong support network in your personal life, you could look for support groups for people who are going through a similar transition. Connecting with others who understand your experience can be a meaningful way to manage the stress.
Therapy can also be a helpful resource during a major life transition. A counseling session is completely private and confidential, so you can express your feelings regarding the transition without fear of judgment. Your counselor can help you look at the situation with a more positive outlook, and they can recommend strategies for coping with the stress and anxiety of the transition.
Everyone experiences transitions in life, but coping with change can be tough. If you’re going through a life transition, you don’t have to manage the situation by yourself. The counselors at The Beverly Hills Therapy Group understand how challenging transitions can be, and they’re here to help. To learn more about our services or to connect with a life transition therapist in Beverly Hills, contact us today.