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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

How To Cope With Life Transitions

We all naturally pass through different stages of life, and most of the time we take events in our stride, and even look forward to and enjoy them. However, every now and then, something huge or unexpected can knock us off our feet.

Of course, the events of the past 16 months have meant that life has changed for all of us to some extent. As the world begins to open up again even as the pandemic barely seems to be under control, many people will be apprehensive about what the future might hold.

Employees who have been on furlough during the pandemic may be anxious about returning to work, or may even be unsure if their employer can afford to keep them on as the Job Retention Scheme winds down. Transitioning to sixth form college or university may be a daunting prospect for young people, after so much missed classroom time.

While any change can be stressful, there are some steps you can take to ease the difficulties. If the change is sudden and unexpected, it can help to pause and let your natural reactions and emotions take effect, before you act on them. This is because sometimes we can react in a negative way, especially if we have had some bad or shocking news.

Whatever you feel; anger, grief, fear, or even just shock, try and centre yourself with some deep breaths, to give yourself the opportunity to make a calm assessment of the situation. Of course, you may still have your negative emotions, but now your response can be more measured and constructive.

Sometimes, after a sudden shock like redundancy or an abrupt relationship break up, we can even realise that there are reasons to be hopeful; new doors in life will open up sooner or later. Dealing with the death of a loved one is a much more complex process, and everyone is different. Some people turn to family or friends, others may prefer counselling.

If the life transition is expected, that may not make it any less stressful, but you can ease your path with some thoughtful preparation. Plan some practical steps, so you are not carrying around a mental burden which can lead to unhelpful negative self-talk. If you are facing redundancy for example, update your CV and sign up with a recruitment agency.

Think over situations that you have successfully dealt with in the past to boost your confidence. There’s no need to set huge unrealistic goals for yourself; it can be much easier to break everything down into small steps. Plan a small action every day, and try and stick to a regular routine that includes eating well, and getting plenty of rest and exercise.

Try and be compassionate with yourself if you have a bad day; everybody has them no matter how successful they may seem! If the stress of the transition is starting to impact on your mental health and you are struggling with symptoms such as poor concentration and low mood, you may need to seek some professional help.

If you would like to talk to a mindful therapist online, please get in touch today.

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