Graduating from college, getting married (or divorced), having a baby, beginning a new job, entering a new relationship, etc. all create stress.
Since transitions and change are a constant part of life, they are impossible to avoid.
Therefore, the better equipped you are to handle and navigate life’s transitions, the happier and more successful you’ll be!
Following are four easy ways to navigate life’s transitions (so they don’t overwhelm you and stress you out).
1. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates said: “Know Thyself”. Different people can tolerate different levels of stress.
Understand your own limitations. Know how much stress you can tolerate – and respect it. This will help you avoid (or minimize) feeling overwhelmed and unduly stressed out during times of change. Naturally, it will be helpful for you to control what you can realistically control.
We cannot control everything that happens to us in life- but we are able to control some things.
If you are uncomfortable with a lot of major changes happening all at once, do your best to keep these changes to a minimum (when possible).
For example, if you are moving to a new apartment, perhaps you shouldn’t be looking for a new job at the same time.
If you are one of the fortunate few who can emotionally tolerate a lot of changes going on at once – you still need to recognize that transitions are stressful. Don’t be caught off guard and pile on the changes unnecessarily – just because you think you “can”.
2. Reach Out to Your Support System. Whether you are transitioning into a new job, a new intimate relationship or moving to a new city, etc., access your support system.
Reach out to the people who can emotionally support you during times of change. We all know who these people are in our lives.
It is very difficult to handle transitions by yourself – so don’t!
If you begin to feel overwhelmed by a personal or professional change, seek emotional support from others.
Whether it’s your friends and/or family that comes through for you in the clutch, reach out to them. Let them know what change(s) you are going through so they can ease the bumpy emotional roller coaster ride that comes with the territory.
This support can go a long way in helping you move ahead to see light at the end of what might begin to feel like a very long dark tunnel.
3. Be Realistic. Give yourself a realistic timeframe to get used to the change.
Your identity is changing – and it will take time to adjust to the “new” you. So give yourself the time it takes to feel comfortable in your new skin.
It might take a full year to feel comfortable or confident in your new job or relationship. Expecting to adjust sooner than is realistically possible will only add more stress to an already stressful situation.
Therefore, give yourself the gift of knowing it takes time to adjust and feel comfortable when transitioning throughout your life.
4. Expect to feel uncomfortable feelings. Even if you finally got that promotion you so desperately wanted, or you are a blushing bride or groom, don’t be surprised if you begin to feel somewhat overwhelmed and/or sad.
Transitioning implies closing one chapter in your life and opening another.
Even if the change you are experiencing is desirable, it may still take you out of your comfort zone – creating many unexpected and uncomfortable feelings.
Transitions, whether they are warmly welcomed or are suddenly imposed upon us, they present us with new challenges that create stress.
Knowing how much stress you can tolerate, reaching out to your support system, giving yourself a realistic timeframe to adjust to the changes while understanding that you might feel some sadness, are keys that will help you navigate life’s transitions as smoothly as possible.
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