Written by Samantha Wall, LCSW
Edited by Joe DeNoon
Transitions. They are hard no matter what the purpose of the transition is for you, especially when they spring up out of nowhere. August always seems like a time of transition to me. Transitioning from summer to school, to the end of the summer, even though the calendar doesn’t agree. August is a month for transitions! Even when we are not in school, or don’t have kids going back to school, seeing the back-to-school ads while transitioning from the summer to fall reminds us that there is a transition coming. Transitions are always tough, no matter why the transition is occurring, whether it is transitioning from season to season during the year, transitioning jobs, or even transitioning patients, transitions take preparation and flexibility.
Times of transition are periods when our lives are full of change, and our routines are uprooted and changed. This could be a transition to a new job, a new job title, a move, or a change of seasons. Anything that creates a shift in routines is a transition. These types of changes can increase levels of stress, whether it is conscious or unconscious. Change simply increases our stress! Even when we transition from work to home, it is important to be intentional about our transition because that act can help decrease our daily stress and help us cope throughout the process.
Some other great ways to cope with transitions include:
- Prepare/Plan: Whenever possible, try to create an outline for the logistics of the transition or create a plan for the mindset you will have during the transition.
- Setting Our Expectations: Be realistic with yourself. When your expectations are not met, it can create increased stress, frustration, and conflict. Setting your expectations of the transition, and knowing that it may bring difficult feelings, normalizes and prepares you for the possible stressors that may come! You can also try to plan on how you will respond to overwhelming feelings, as well as normalize stress as a part of your transitions.
- Develop a Routine: Establishing a routine that you can keep through the transition can help you have consistency during a time when some routines are changing. This can include establishing a morning routine, regular sleep and wake-up times, a daily walk, daily meditation, or setting intentions to start the day. All can be helpful tools to implement to establish a routine!
- Set Small Goals: Setting small goals during a transition can make the day or a big task feel more manageable. When you go through change, it can be hard to manage big goals or tasks. This can help you feel accomplished and less overwhelmed!
- Stay Connected to Support Networks: No surprise here! Staying connected can help you feel less alone, and can be a space where you vent or even feel a sense of normalcy during a time of change!
- Practice Self Compassion: Transitions and change are hard! It is important you give yourself space to have all types of feelings about transitions. You can only do your best and when you practice self-compassion, it can make the stressful moments a chance to connect versus shame!
No matter the type of transition, it can bring feelings of stress and uneasiness. Make sure to go through these times of transition with compassion for yourself. Remember, when we were in elementary school, they intentionally transitioned us from each activity for a reason! Transitions are stressful, and we all can give ourselves and each other space to transition, whether it is from summer to a school year, summer to fall, or any other type of transition!
“Those times of transitions are great opportunities to look for recurring patterns in your life and make adjustments to build on the good and reduce the bad.” – Dan Miller