And just like that, here we are at the beginning of a new year — again. The older I get, the faster it seems a new year rolls around. Sometimes I feel nostalgic when I have to say goodbye to a particular year, but not this past year. Nope, I was more than ready to drop kick 2021 to the curb. For indeed, the past year dropped some stressful life transitions on my doorstep, and I have a hunch that I am not alone. Is anybody with me?
Life is full of changes. And stressful life transitions usually mean a shift or an adjustment that impacts your lifestyle. Now you only have to glance back at the last two years to see how much our lifestyles have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And believe me, I don’t particularly appreciate giving it any more press than it already gets. But this is where we are. And like they say, “We’re all in this together.” UGH! Nevertheless, the pandemic and the lifestyle changes have brought about much anxiety.
Life transitions are nothing new
Truthfully, we as humans have dealt with stressful life transitions before the pandemic. And we will certainly walk through them again long after this pandemic dies down.
So putting aside the changes the pandemic has brought, let’s look at other transitions. They can be as simple as leaving work and driving home or preparing your kiddos for bed at night. Or, they can be exciting, such as getting married or starting a new career.
Others, of course, can be more challenging such as moving to another state, dealing with a severe illness, or trying to figure out how to live with the loss of a loved one.
Whether joyful or sad, planned or unplanned, transitions can be stressful and stir up mixed emotions. This then gives rise to the question of how can we cope with stressful life transitions successfully?
Tips for dealing with life’s transitions
1. Accept that change is inevitable
However, keep in mind it’s a normal part of life. Transitions also have positive aspects that allow us to grow and learn, leaving us stronger, more confident, and better prepared for the next curveball in life.
2. Whenever possible, prepare for your transition
Sometimes you know ahead of time there is going to be a transition. In that case, planning ahead can help make the experience a little smoother. Set some goals of what you want this new phase of life to look like. Then decide how you can achieve those goals.
3. Expect to feel uncomfortable
Changes from stressful life transitions can be be confusing, and perplexing. So don’t be surprised if you feel vulnerable and anxious. But not to worry, these feelings are all a part of the process and eventually will pass.
4. Rely on your support system.
Don’t go it alone. This is the time when you really need the support of friends and family members. They know you the best and will be able to encourage you without judging and allow you to express your true feelings.
5. Take it one step at a time
It can be overwhelming to feel like your life is in disarray. To regain a sense of control, find one small thing you can manage right away. Then, working out from there, break everything down into small, clear steps. Write them down, and one by one, cross off each step as you complete it.
6. Keep some consistency
Significant life transitions can make life feel topsy-turvy. Whenever you can, try to keep as much of your daily routine consistent as you can. Even as you walk through a transition, it helps establish a routine to help you adjust and provide a sense of consistency.
7. Give yourself time, care, and grace
As I’ve said before, transitions can be stressful, even in happy times. Sometimes you might not feel up to participating in your everyday activities. It’s okay. That’s why I say, give yourself some time. It takes time to adjust to your new situation. However, don’t neglect yourself in the meantime. Make an effort to take care of yourself every day by getting plenty of rest, eating well, and exercising. And it won’t hurt if you treat yourself to a fun or pampering activity occasionally while you manage this transition, either.
“Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next.” – Anonymous
Everyone experiences stressful life transitions. And most assuredly, some will be harder to navigate than others. But I believe using the above tips can help make the whole process easier. However, if you want to learn additional coping skills, working with a coach is a great way to do it. They can help you develop the skills and abilities you need to deal positively with whatever life puts in your path.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you want more personalized support, I invite to contact me or schedule your phone call today. Together, we can work on strategies to help you move forward through any transitions you may be going through right now as well as ones you may encounter in the future.
This article originally appeared at My Anxiety Link