May 12, 2023

Finding Balance During Life Transitions

By Shalayne McMillian
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Life transitions can happen at any age, big or small and with or without your permission. Some examples of life transitions include starting a new job, graduating from or starting school, starting or ending relationships, grief, parenthood, aging and even starting therapy. These experiences are often filled with happiness, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, discomfort and even fear. How will you find the proper balance in the process? Here are some tips that can help you!

Put a name to your emotions

Many emotions rise to the surface during life transitions, and as this occurs, it is important to name our emotions. I encourage everyone to partake in this by doing a check in with yourself. Start by applying the questions, “what is my body doing physically?”, “what am I feeling emotionally?”, and, “do I need anything right now?” This brings an awareness to help meet our mental, emotional and physical needs while working through the events taking place during this transitional time.

Thought reframing

When our bodies are under stress, we usually think there is a problem we must solve which can contribute to our thoughts spiraling. However, it is of value for us to get back into the “driver’s seat” and redirect our brain, body and emotions. You can do this by asking yourself: What are the facts? What are my emotions telling me? And, what is my wise mind trying to say? Healthy distractions like watching something funny, working out, listening to music, going for a walk or talking to a friend are all positive ways you can reframe your thoughts.

Engage in Self-care

While not everyone can take a self-care day, making time to prioritize self-care can include engaging in activities that bring you peace and joy, or even seeking a brief moment for rest and relaxation. I remind clients about the great benefits of self-care moments like taking a relaxing bath, eating lunch outdoors, giving ourselves a day to sleep in or eating a delicious dessert, to name a few. Remember that during self-care moments, it’s important to be as present as we can. Be sure to gently redirect your thoughts back when you notice they may have gone astray.

Identify what is in your control

It is recommended to review the specifics of our situation and look at what is in our control through self-talk. Additionally, I suggest engaging in self-talk by asking yourself, “Can I do anything about this now, or is it best to save this for later?” This helps us give direction to our brains in deciding to take action or deciding to pause. Identifying what’s in your control offers the ability to take accountability for our role and relinquish responsibility for the things that are out of our control.

Speak to a therapist

Lastly, consider working with a mental health professional. Therapists can offer balanced perspectives and healthy coping skills, all while providing us with a safe space to laugh, cry, process and problem solve through our challenging emotions and our responses to life events. Having a space to receive validation, assistance with coping skills and push to take accountability can help us understand these life transitions, while finding balance along the way. If you’re having a tough time finding balance during periods of transition, don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support!

Written By

Shalayne McMillian

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