Major transitions are a part of life. And–although change is often exciting–it’s also stressful, disruptive, and very emotional. Some major transitions are planned, like retirement, marriage, and career changes, while others can happen without notice and deeply affect our sense of security and identity. No matter how major life transitions happen, taking the time for self-reflection is one of the best ways to tackle it.
Life’s path is rarely a smooth one. Below are a few strategies to help you to embrace change and make the most of your life’s transitions.
Remind yourself that it’s normal for our sense of security and identity to be shaken-up during transitions
Any time our surroundings, schedule, or daily rhythm is disrupted it’s normal to feel disoriented. Thankfully, our emotional equilibrium will return after we have settled into our new role. Remember to be patient with yourself. It will take time to re-establish your life and to build a new identity.
Remember why you decided to make a change in the first place
It’s normal to feel mixed emotions while going through a major transition like getting married, having a child, changing careers, leaving a long-term relationship, or retiring. Doubting our decision to make a change in the first place is common. When this happens, remind yourself of the reasons why you needed a change. Gaining understanding helps with moving on from feeling overwhelmed to feeling empowered. It’s important to also remind yourself that it’s normal to feel some degree of uncertainty, fear, doubt, and discomfort while going through any transition.
Focus on your strengths
We all have things we’re good at. Recall what helped you in the past to get through difficult times. Focusing on our strengths while going through a transition boosts our self-esteem and confidence.
Stay connected to trusted friends and family
Sharing your fears, concerns, and doubts with people you feel close to and trust can be a tremendous source of strength and comfort while going through a transition.
Dr. Paula Durlofsky is a psychologist in private practice in Bryn Mawr, whose practice focuses on psychological issues affecting individuals, couples, and families. She is affiliated with Bryn Mawr Hospital and Lankenau Medical Center.