Understanding and Managing Major Life Transitions

September 9, 2019

 

Life is ever changing.  It requires us to be able to shift from one situation, relationship, or career, to another. These shifts, or transitions, can be uncomfortable, disconcerting and challenging.

 

But what if we were aware of upcoming transitions? That would allow us to be in a better position to prepare for them, right?  Are there are strategies that will help us to manage the transitions or shifts more effectively?  Yes, there are!  Let’s talk about what some of the major transitions are and then how to navigate them.

 

Major Life Transitions

 

Understanding the major transitions are allow us to be proactive so we can more effectively navigate these situations. Here some of the major life transitions:

 

  • Moving house. Leaving a home we’ve lived in for years can trigger feelings of sadness, loss, and even grief.
     

  • Getting married. Deciding to permanently share our life and home with another person, is a huge shift in lifestyle. It brings about change and sometimes turmoil.  This is true despite the fact that we might be happy with our decision to get married.
     

  • Having a baby (especially the first baby). Becoming responsible for another life is one of the most awesome, life-changing, but sometimes frightening events we will ever experience.
     

  • Getting divorced. Terminating a relationship we thought would last forever, inevitably leads to a period of change and turbulence.  Even when we know it is the best decision, it can still invoke anxiety and stress.
     

  • Getting a new job. Leaving co-workers, supervisors, and surroundings that we’ve grown accustomed to can bring enormous changes to our life. Being the “new” person can be challenging.
     

  • Switching careers. Changing from one type of work to another is a life-changing event for most people.  Every time we start something new or have a new beginning, we can feel quite vulnerable.
     

  • Losing a parent to death. Losing one of the people we’ve been closest to all our life will trigger many feelings. We might even look at our own existence differently when a parent passes.
     

  • Coping with your best friend moving away. If we’ve been close to a person for many years, and weathered other transitions with their help, it can be challenging to know they won’t be close by anymore.

 

Managing Life Transitions

 

Some transitions occur spontaneously, without warning and we may have no control of some of these situations.  But some transitions are orchestrated by us. We have control over these transitions and by learning to manage them we will be more effective. 

 

Some techniques:

  • Plan ahead. Whenever possible try to plan transitions for a time when you expect other areas of your life to be calm. There are often times when you will have the ability to “schedule” some of your life transitions – take advantage of these opportunities.  

 

  • Space your transitions, if possible. For example, if you’ve accepted a new job, it may not be the right time to move home. Give yourself a year to adjust to your new position before you start looking for a new house. It’s a good idea to allow some time to get used to a new situation, before beginning another. The transition process takes time for adjustment.

 

  • Continue with regular routines. Throughout the period of transition, stick to as many of your routines as possible. Routines bring structure and comfort to your life, especially during turbulent times.

 

  • Take “down time.” Transitions bring feelings of stress, so it’s important to make time for rest and relaxation. It will help you recharge and deal with the transition.

 

  • Get support. Everyone lives through transitions. Reach out, ask for help, listen to the stories of how those people got through their challenges.

 

You can successfully manage life's major transitions!

 

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