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Big Changes? Here’s How to Cope with Transitions

Throughout life, there is always going to be change. New relationships, college graduations, and moving are all common life transitions. Even positive changes can be difficult to navigate and cope with. Stress can cause problems if it’s not addressed, whether it’s the result of a thrilling event or an unfortunate accident. Life’s peaks and valleys can never be avoided, so learning to cope with them is a skill you should learn early in your life.  

What is a Life Transition?  

A life transition is essentially a change in your life that has a significant impact on it. Positive or negative, planned or unplanned, it can come in many forms. Marriage, divorce, having children, losing a loved one, and serious illness are all examples of transitions.   

Transitions in life can be challenging because they are associated with something new you haven’t experienced before. When you navigate uncharted waters, you may encounter things you didn’t expect.  

Each of us goes through a number of significant transitions in the course of our lives. It is common for life transitions to be stressful, provoking feelings of grief and loss, and often presenting unanticipated challenges for individuals of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations.

Life transitions can impact everyone differently- but learning coping skills can help ease the transition.  

Prepare & Set Realistic Expectations  

Prepare as much as you can for a life change you know is coming, such as moving, and set realistic expectations. You may need to turn down social invitations so you can pack ahead of time or make a list of things you need for a new place. It is important to remember that things do not always go as planned. You may encounter bumps in the road, and moving can be stressful. Adjust accordingly and plan ahead.  

Practice Self-Compassion 

There can be times when it’s easy to beat ourselves up if we don’t accomplish things as we usually would or experiences emotions that are outside of our usual range. Practice self-compassion during this time. New parents, of course, cannot accomplish as much as they used to. A person’s body undergoes changes that they aren’t used to as they age. Give yourself a break. Imagine how your best friend would feel in the same situation if they were in your shoes. How would you respond? You wouldn’t treat them badly. Give yourself grace along the way when facing challenges, and see them as opportunities for growth.  

Connect to Your Social Support

Never underestimate the power of reaching out to your support network. When you need help, who can you turn to? Is it a friend, family member, or mentor? The ability to cope with change and manage it effectively depends on social support. Your mood can be improved and the situation can be viewed in a different light when you talk with someone. 

Create a support system if you don’t have one. Regardless of what challenge you are facing, you can benefit from talking to a therapist. Individuals in life transitions can feel empowered and supported through therapeutic relationships.

Sometimes it seems as if we’re coasting through life, and other times it seems as if we need some assistance. Please know that you are not alone in whatever life transition you are experiencing. Reach out to a therapist today if you’re having trouble coping with a change, or if you want to plan for a future life transition. You can use their assistance to adjust and implement many more coping strategies.  

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