Some Basic Tips For Handling Life’s Big Transitions

May is known for being graduation season, when students of all ages and stages look forward to ending one school year and beginning the next (after a nice, long summer break of course.) But for the seniors, it means even more: an exciting leap forward into the next stage of life! Or maybe it’s a scary inevitability that they aren’t quite sure they’re ready for. Most likely, the feelings are a mixed bag of anticipation, fear, and everything in between.

And while graduation – from both high school and college – is a very important event, it is by no means the only one we’ll face. Entering a committed relationship, breaking up, moving, starting a new job, and having a baby are only a few of the transitions that many of us will likely make. Each transitional period comes with its own challenges, joys, and frustrations. But with a little preparation and a good support system, we have the power to handle the life events that will come our way.

For all you seniors – and newlyweds, newly divorced, new job havers, new parents, house builders, and anyone else who is currently or will soon be going through a change – here are some tips for handling transitions that we hope will help you as you boldly move forward.

Celebrate Your Past Successes

You’ve Done It Before, And You’ll Do It Again!

We’ve all met and handled transitions in our lives before this, and we’ll all do it again! Look back at some of the changes you’ve been through and the hurdles you’ve overcome in the past. You were probably nervous to start middle school and get a locker for the first time (what if I forget the combination?!), head off to college (what if I picked the wrong major?!), and start your first job (even if it was flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant). 

But you did it. And was it really all that bad? It’s completely normal to feel jittery before a big life change; in fact, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t! But please don’t take those jitters as a sign that things are going to go badly. While transitional times can be awkward and confusing, often there are better things on the other side.

Make time for reflection

Amid The Busyness And Excitement, Make Time For Reflection

Imagine if professional basketball players charged from one game to the next without a chance to let their bodies and minds rest. How long do you think they would be able to keep up that pace before seeing a severe drop in performance – or worse, an injury? Athletes need to rest in between games, matches, and meets, and getting enough rest is just as important in all of our lives as it is for them.

This is especially true before, during, and after a season of transition. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take a moment to step back and do something calming. You may meditate, pray, read, exercise, enjoy a walk, take a bike ride, or whatever else will help settle your thoughts and emotions. While doing these things might not immediately solve the problems that come with a time of change, they will help you have the emotional and physical resources to deal with them and make better decisions than you otherwise would without rest. 

Family and friends

Keep Trusted Friends And Family Close

During times of transition, it’s important to have people that you can fall back on, vent to, and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to parents, siblings, friends, and mentors that you can trust and that you know have your best interests at heart. 

We often say that nobody is meant to navigate life alone, and we mean it! If part of your transition involves moving away from family and friends, take the plunge to find new ones. Get active and involved in your new community, whether that be a campus, job, or physical place. Attend activities and find classes where you can meet new people who share your interests. 

Transitions can be both wonderful and difficult, and sometimes you need the help of a trusted therapist to talk issues through with. There’s nothing wrong with getting professional help when you need it, and at Capitol Counseling, we are here to assist you as you move forward into the newest chapter of your life. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to reach out to us at 307-631-5574.