Summer is a great time to slow down a bit and savor the warmer, longer days. For many, summer is also a time of transition. Transitions are defined as the movement, passage or change from one state or condition to another. Summer is a popular time to move, get married or start a new job. For those in the academic world, schools have ended for the year and prepare to start new in September. Recent graduates start new careers or search for jobs. Some teachers retire and some parents face an empty nest. These are just some of the common transitions that happen at this time of the year. Transitions are a part of life but are not always welcome or easy. Change, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent pulls us out of routine and can cause mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety, sadness and joy. It’s not uncommon to feel a bit unsure when faced with transitions that require action and decisions. There are ways to successfully navigate these times and lessen the sense of unease that may occur.
5 Questions to Answer During a Transition
What has changed?
Sometimes even if we know a change is coming, it’s hard to imagine it until it comes. Other times, the change is unexpected, and we have no time to prepare. By acknowledging what is new and different, we can start to plan for next steps. It’s also important to remember what stays the same. This can reduce the feeling of overwhelm when facing a big transition. This process can be helpful for even small children who may feel anxious about moving to a new house or school.
How do I feel about this change?
It’s not uncommon to feel unsettled even in times of positive change. Take a few minutes each day and think about how you feel. There is no right or wrong emotion. The practice of mindfulness teaches us to allow emotions to come and go without trying to either cling to the positive emotions or push away the harder emotions. Acknowledging feelings in the moment allows us to savor joy and move through sadness. Writing out your thoughts in a journal or notebook can be a helpful way to process what is happening.
When I successfully navigate this change, how will my life be different?
This question gives us perspective as we move through a transition. If times are tough right now, moving through a transition will lead to less stress. If you are unsure, brainstorm some possible outcomes with someone who is positive and will support you.
Who can support me?
Think about who is best to help you celebrate the good times and work through tough times. Look to friends and family for support. Also, seek help from professionals for support through a job search, a move, retirement, grief process.
What is the next step?
At times, a transition requires us to make a plan and take action. If creating a big plan is overwhelming, think about just the next step. Take small steps each day to move you toward your goal. If you feel like you are drifting, find support from someone who you trust to help you create a plan. A journal or notebook is also helpful in planning and keeping track of your progress. Remember self-care like good nutrition, sleep, exercise and spending time with others are an important part of the process.