Transitions happen. Life changes. Some changes are planned and some are surprises. Some are joyful and some are stressful. Graduating, starting a new job, and moving are just a few of life's major transitions.
Every transition is full of emotions. Take moving houses. Your emotional response may span from excitement (you found the perfect new house) to grief (your child took her first step in your old house). It is hard to make all decisions needed when moving while you are swaying between excitement and grief.
I have been there. In the last 11 years, I moved in and out of Lipscomb's dorm rooms, apartments, and houses on an average of once a year. Each move was full of joy, sadness, and worry. No matter how many times I moved I was still stressed about finding a new home, packing, and unpacking. (Life Hack: sometimes it is okay to move your clothes in trash bags.) Transitions need a lot of flexibility to navigate through the changes.
Currently, I am navigating my own transition in moving my office to another space. Moving my practice is a professional change, but affected my personal life. Finding a new space, packing, and unpacking requires a lot of emotional energy, flexibility, and hard decisions. What a relief it was to find a great space close to my office in Nashville.
HERE ARE SOME CONCEPTS TO REMEMBER WHEN MAKING A LIFE TRANSITION.
Be aware of your emotions.
How do you feel about this transition? Are you feeling excited, afraid, sad, grief, disappointment, anger, or joyful? After naming the emotion, be curious about how that emotion is impacting your thoughts or your behavior. For example, “Is my disappointment about not getting my dream job affecting my behavior in my marriage?”
Determine what matters the most to you and make those nonnegotiable.Next, question how would you feel being flexible with your other ideas. For example, “I need to have adequate parking for my new office space, but how would I feel in an office with no window?" Try it out and see what feels right to you.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Transitions are hard enough without being hard on yourself. In the moments when you are feeling overwhelmed take four deep breaths and practice self-compassion. Kristin Neff’s self-compassion break is a helpful tool. Here is an example to say to yourself, “This is stress. Other people feel this way during a transition. May I be kind to myself.”
Those are just a few ways to navigate life's transition. Check out more information about my new Nashville counseling office, here. If you are in the middle of a transition and need help processing the change, call to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.