My family has experienced a lot of change lately. Kids moving home, kids moving away, new relationships, new jobs, new roles. Life in transition.
Transitions occur between what was, and what’s going to be. It’s a natural part of change, but it feels weird, restless, and uncomfortable.
Transitions are hard as you grieve the past and anticipate the future.
How can you live with peace in the midst of unsettling seasons of life? Here are 4 tips for handling life transitions:
A. Give yourself grace. Grace is undeserved kindness, and most of us don’t extend grace to ourselves. Transitions are difficult because most of us expect to adjust without problems or to simply move on from what we’re leaving behind. Whether you’re transitioning through grief, a relationship, a job change, family dynamics, or location changes, periods of adjustment are normal. During the transitional time, give yourself grace. Don’t expect to have everything figured out or to be instantly happy with your different life. If you’ve experiences loss through divorce, death, or tragedy, give yourself extra grace during your season of change.
B. Expect a range of emotions. Life transitions are similar to seasonal transitions. From winter to spring and fall to winter, you expect unseasonably warm days, along with unusually cold days. A lot of extreme weather within short period of time. Your emotions are similar during life transitions. One moment, you might feel happy, confident, and secure in your new situation. The next day you might feel sad, uncertain, and frustrated. Varying emotions are a normal part of change and loss, so give yourself grace as you experience them.
C. Live while you’re waiting for the new situation to feel normal. During transitions, you feel like you’re in an extended period of waiting; waiting for a new routine, waiting to feel settled, waiting to hear news, or waiting to feel happy. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop until these things happen. While you’re in the period of waiting, embrace each day for what it offers, because you don’t know what the next day will bring. Instead of letting angst and frustration weigh you down, set short and long term goals where you are. Dwell on positive things about your current situation, and invest in the important relationships. Concentrating on these things will keep your mind focused on what’s current and help you appreciate what’s meaningful in your present life.
D. Keep moving forward. Transitions also make you feel stuck, stagnant, or trapped. You often feel out of control. While you may not have control of the big picture or the timeline of what you’re waiting on, you do have control over daily decisions, attitudes, and your present situation. You alone determine whether you stay stuck or whether you move forward. Set goals while you’re waiting for change. Then, each day, put one foot in front of the other, taking one step at time towards one of those goals.
Transitions are hard, but don’t have to cripple you. Give grace, embrace, and take one step and a time moving forward.