By Pete Marlow
Change is a constant, and while it doesn’t always have to be due to a painful experience, it often provides a challenge. Life transitions can be exciting, e.g., marriage or having a baby. They can be devastating, e.g., the loss of a loved one or job, or, they can be a mix of the two, like moving, graduating, or retiring.
Any transition will impact your life in some way and can be a challenge to your ability to be resilient. This post is meant to provide ways to cope as you go through inevitable life transitions. These are not interchangeable for any life transition.
It’s not always possible, but in situations where someone is able to prepare before a life transition, it can provide them with increased confidence. This may look like creating a concrete plan for navigating the transition or adopting a helpful state of mind about the transition.
It may look like creating reasonable expectations for oneself as they go through the transition. Expecting it to be too simple or setting the bar too high for themselves will end in frustration and disappointment. Some reasonable expectations are that you will make mistakes and you will feel stressed.
This comes with time and should not be forced on someone going through a difficult life transition. Being able to shift their mindset over time to the belief that a transition is not something to be avoided will greatly increase their resiliency. They will find that navigating the transition becomes more productive.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to block out emotions when going through a major life transition. The belief might be that these feelings aren’t “productive.”
We know that suppressing feelings only leads to more distress down the road as they don’t go anywhere. Being able to identify your emotions, acknowledging you feel that way, and understanding why you’re experiencing them is key to processing them.
This point goes along with the previous one in order to properly process feelings. It takes time, which isn’t something many people are okay with. Whether grieving a divorce or starting a new job, there is no one way of working through it. It will take some time to get acquainted with your new reality, so show yourself grace and take your time to transition.
Reflect On Life
When life transitions occur, a person loses things. It’s important to reflect on anything that may have been lost. Take time to sit with and process certain things that you once had simple access to that you no longer have, such as being able to spend quality time with a loved one.
At the same time, in the case of a graduation, it’s also a good opportunity to reminisce about pleasant memories from high school or to look ahead to the future, i.e., the new friends you will make in college.
This one is vital in any type of transition. Being able to talk with others who have been through or are going through something similar, or even just someone you trust, can make a big difference. It helps to remove feelings of isolation and lets you know you aren’t going through this transition alone.
It also helps to see that other people have been where you are. A support network provides not only emotional support but also practical tips.
Speaking of a helpful support system, a counselor at Optimum Joy can be a big part of that. If you’re going through a life transition and would like to talk it over with someone, please reach out to Optimum Joy to set up an appointment! A counselor can help you process the situation and the emotions you’re experiencing.
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