August 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm · admin · Comments Off on Coping With Life Transitions
I decided to make this topic my first blog since I am in a transition at the moment. A few months ago I handed in my resignation from a really comfortable, job with great security. The hours were great and parking was free! But I yearned for something new. I was thrilled about my new adventure, new prospects, and greater independence. But I forgot about the unknown. Well, needless to say, all has not been as smooth as I anticipated.
Eventually, we all will transverse through life transitions. How do we manage them? It might be leaving high school to attend college, starting employment, changing jobs, getting engaged, losing a partner, having a baby, getting a license, losing a parent, developing an illness. Transitions might be imposed on us, such as redundancy or can be by choice or opportunity, like a job overseas. Whatever the circumstances, the transition is likely to stimulate anxiety, worry, and insecurities as we are forced to break out of our patterns.
A person dealing with a major change might develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbance, appetite changes, or misuse drugs and alcohol. Stressful events can impede our normal coping style and make it difficult or impossible to deal with new circumstances.
To reduce the development of stress reactive symptoms one might investigate the upcoming change. This can alleviate stress of the unknown as you become well-informed of the situation. Maintaining a balanced mind and body through proper diet, sleep and exercise can assist in mediating life changes. Allowing the mind to rejuvenate by relaxing, leisure and fun can help buffer stressful periods. Don’t make multiple transitions at once. This will allow adequate adjustment and lessen stress during the honeymoon phase. Reach out to friends and family for support. Persistent symptoms of stress due to major transitions can benefit from therapeutic intervention.
Discussing your concerns, fears and uncertainty with a therapist around issues of marriage, illness, job loss or approaching middle age can offer relief and clarity. This is done in a supportive, nonjudgmental and impartial environment. When life changes prove overwhelming and lead to symptoms of stress, anxiety, or depression, a therapist can help provide coping strategies developed to improve ones’ general well-being.
In time, that new life transition won’t feel as daunting; instead it will bring new opportunities, new ways of being with new patterns to embrace. Perhaps there will be opportunities to experiment with being more assertive, autonomous and creative.
Transitions can be viewed as tossing off the old while not yet conquering the new. Remember to be patient. There will be periods of doubt and rethinking if it was a good decision to resign, move or change directions. The second guessing is a natural process. When we are out of our comfort zone; our imaginations may get the best of us. Don’t let it trap you from moving away from your past and into your future. Remain calm, explore your options, and seek assistance if warranted. Keep in mind, you have made transitions before. This is no different. You have the skills to move forward toward new beginnings.
By Dr. Kauliss P. Simmons-Lanthier