Let’s face it, transitions are tough! Whether it’s moving to a new location, losing or starting a new job, changing relationships, going to college, you name it. It can be a daunting, overwhelming, stressful, and even scary experience. The stress typically comes from the laundry list of things that you have to do, fear of the unknown, fear of been alone, sense of loss (leaving family, friends and community behind), financial implications, and for those of you with kids, anxiety over how well they’ll deal with the change, and much more.
Though it might be unrealistic to avoid these worries, there are steps that you can take to mitigate the stress that comes with any transition. I don’t pretend to know all the answers but I can certainly share what has worked for me, especially now that I happen to be in the middle of a major transition.
Here are the 7 simple things that will help you get through transitions in your life:
1. Have a Plan
My friends always make fun of my spreadsheets. They say I plan too much! My response, because it works! When going through a transition, especially a major one, create a to do list of all the things you have to accomplish to allow your change to go more smoothly and organize it in a spreadsheet. It makes it easy to see everything in a snap shot and to track your progress.
Every transition comes with some financial implication so why not be prepared for it. Anticipating how much any change is going to cost you reduces the amount of stress and gives you some level of security and comfort. There are many free resources online that will give you tips on how to easily create and stick to a budget, such as Mint.com and money.cnn.com just to name a few.
3. 30 Minute Rule
I know you’re probably wondering, who has the time to do all this stuff with the hectic lives that we live and the never ending to do list? Our answer, try the 30 minute rule. It’s a tried and true strategy that has worked for me and I promise will work for you too. Basically, all it asks of you is to dedicate 30 minutes from each day to doing something that is really important to you.
4. Divide & Conquer
No one can do it alone. Don’t be afraid to delegate some of your tasks and to ask for help. Whether it’s family or friends, you will be surprised to find out how many people are willing and able to help. Involve your children. Whether it’s asking them to sort through their stuff or packing before a move, allowing them to participate makes them feel like they’re part of the process and prepares them for what lies ahead.
Don’t forget to tap into the vast resources available online. Find online communities or groups that include people going through a transition similar to yours. It’ll not only be comforting to know that you’re not alone but a great way to discover solutions and things that may impact your transition that you may not have thought of.
5. Pursue Your Passions
What’s your favorite thing to do? That thing that makes you feel the most happy or that you’re really passionate about? It might even be one or more things. Whatever it is, do it through your transition! It’ll give you a moment to pause, reinvigorate yourself, keep you grounded, and remind you that there’s more to your life than what you’re currently going through.
For me, those three things are dance, yoga, and empowering women through this blog. You’re thinking, but where do I find the time? Our philosophy, if it’s important enough to you, you find the time. Sometimes you might have to make adjustments to the length of time or frequency you dedicate to your passion. Being flexible and getting just a dose of what you love to do is much better than nothing at all. It’ll not only keep you sane but make your transition less stressful.
6. Prep Your Loved Ones
Your loved ones, especially children need to prepare for change just as much as you do. Alleviate anxiety by sharing the transition as early as possible. Set expectations by openly discussing how the transition is going to impact their lives. Whenever possible, be specific and share some of the things that you’re doing to ease the transition.
For instance, if you’re moving and you have kids who may be concerned that they will not be able to do some of the activities they love, communicate that they’ll still be able to do them. Give them as much information about the new location as you can and where possible take a tour of their new community (school, parks, recreational centers or any other place where they’ll continue to do what they love.). Also, ask questions to find out what they’re most anxious about so you can help them through it.
7. Take It All In Stride
It’s easy to worry during a transitional period. But even though we’re well aware how counterproductive and crippling it can be, I must confess that I fall into the the trap quite often. Thankfully, I’ve discovered a simple but effective way to deal with it. Now, whenever you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, remind yourself (sometimes out loud) that your situation is only temporary and take it all in stride. Check in on your plan (sometimes physically or through a mental note) to see how much progress you’ve made and how much more you need to do. Think of the 30 minute rule and remember that you’ll have time to dedicate to whatever is bothering you at some point in the day.
We all go through multiple if not more transitions through the course of our lives. Our attitude and approach towards how to manage these changes determines how well we pull through. Hopefully, applying these 7 things to your next transitional period in your life will be as helpful to you as it has been to me and open up opportunities for discovery!
Your turn! What are some of the things you do to manage your transitions? Please comment and share below and inspire our readers to do better. We’d love to hear from you.