Making the most of life transitions

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bench-560435_1280Autumn is coming and that’s one noticeable change we will all face. Changes happen all the time and, as long as we’re alive, we can’t escape it. Some people don’t even try to because a little challenge can be stimulating and refreshing. Others hate it deeply and, even it’s all about a happy transition, they would be better off without it… Why is change a bit or a lot of a struggle to most of us and what can be done? Here’s a few ideas that can help you understand and cope better…

Change and the comfort zone

We all have a comfort zone where we feel content and safe. However, most of us won’t be in their comfort zones all their lives. Having a family and/or other types of relationships, a workplace, an aim in life are, usually, a great predictor of the fact that sooner or later we will be facing change. For example, children might leave for college and the comfort zone we had as a family will undergo reconfiguration; two people decide to break up despite being together for more than 15 comfortable years, so the idea of their relationship and the idea of self will need readjustments; getting a new job or losing an old one comes with plenty of changes and, amongst others, with learning/reactivating some skills that haven’t been used in a long time; realising that one has been diagnosed with a chronic health condition can trigger a huge turmoil of emotions as well as a rearranging of their life priorities and aims. The idea is that whatever change we are going through – pleasant or not, expected or not, positive or not – it will never be 100% easy. Sometimes it will be amazingly difficult and we will freak out, cry or yell or (want to) run away. It is perfectly normal – change means adapting to new conditions, hence all the stress…

How can we make it easier?

First of all, it might be helpful to try accepting that things don’t always have to be easy. Life is a struggle, even way before we are born and the fact that challenges are thrown at you means that you are alive and still able to swim your way around them. Of course, there are situations when you feel like you can’t do it anymore and there are situations when you really can’t. In these cases, talking to other people can prove helpful. A good friend, family members, therapy groups or individual counseling can help you cope. You will get a more objective perspective on what is going on, you will be listened to, you will be heard and understood and you will be cared for and helped. A counselor is not there to make the change for you, but it will be there to make it easier for you. They will help you to understand why it is difficult for you, how to cope with it outside the meetings and even how to make the most of it.

By the way, did you know that change is, sometimes, a golden ticket? By facing the transition in your life, you learn more about who you are, what you can do, how far you can go. Change doesn’t just change your life – it also changes you.

Navigating transitional times in the right way can trigger one’s life and personality changes as well… For example, have you considered why so many parents get depressed when their children leave the family house and go to college? It is more than the fear of knowing their children are alone away from home, not eating their lunch and hanging out with the wrong crowds. It can also be the fear of looking for other aims in life (other than providing for their children now that they went their own way), as well as the fear of getting old and facing their own mortality. So, a relatively happy change like having smart kids who started ‘making it’ might be a mask for other symptoms and/or might trigger other worries. Most of these worries can be successfully addressed in therapy, promising an ease of the transition and, sometimes, a huge personal growth.

Finally, remember there is no such thing as taking a pill and making things better, but there are many ways to make things easier and you can find them. If you are facing a transitional period and need support, we have an open door. Looking for help will make change easier and won’t make you weaker – on the contrary! It is a proof of responsibility and maturity to give yourself the support you need in order to make the most of this transition phase, so don’t hesitate to contact us.