Transitions are an inevitable part of our lives. Still, no matter how expected some changes like college, marriage, kids, and moving are, for most of people they are always a huge source of stress that hit us somehow off-guard. Not to mention completely unplanned life changes such as a sudden death of a close person or natural disasters.
However, psychologists believe that it’s not a change involved in a life transition that impacts us, but our interpretation of that change.
How to Manage Transitions in Life
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
So, ready for them or not, we constantly go through transitions in life. Some of these are positive changes that enrich and improve our lives while others are overwhelming and devastating.
Some happen by chance, others are resulting from natural ends – the end of school, a move to a college campus or the graduating from college are certainly expected transitions in life. To cope with transitions in life more successfully, we need to accept and acknowledge our sadness, fear, worry, and anxiety.
Even though these are positive changes, they still affect us, because whenever we move forward, we leave something or someone behind. And this usually provokes a feeling of unhappiness, even grief.
Yet, some life changes such as an unwanted breakup/divorce or termination form a job are unwillingly enforced on us and navigating through these life transitions may be particularly difficult. With unexpected and unwanted life transitions, we usually get out of our comfort zone, so, stress, shock, and depression are greater and harder to cope with.
2. Accept the Change
Life transitions open up new chapters in your life. When you, for example, move to a new city, new country, or a new continent, you end the life you knew and you felt comfortable in. After you move, you will most likely feel lost, depressed, unsteady, and anxious for some time. However, the awareness that the end of your previous life is also a chance for a fresh start can give you a sense of opportunity and the new possibilities.
The time of transition in life, when old habits and patterns inevitably change, is the best time to explore and begin new habits, relationships, and behavior patterns. For example, starting your life in a new city is a unique opportunity to build new contacts and to practice becoming more assertive, more empathetic, and more flexible in your social relationships.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
Transitions in life may take you months, even years to adapt and begin to feel confident and composed again. Be patient and accept that it may take you a while to adjust. Also, being proactive and allowing yourself time to reflect on the life change that you’re going through can help you start planning the next steps for the future.
4. Seek Support
Whether it is your family and friends, online life transitions support groups, or professional mental health counseling, when you feel unbalanced, support from others can help you get back on track and move forward.
Transitions in life are those moments when you are caught in the middle between what is not anymore and what has not started yet. To successfully cope with the change that goes hand in hand with life transitions, you need to practice patience, be open-minded, and ready to get out of your comfort zone.