Change can sometimes be difficult. Change can also be vital, exhilarating and liberating.
But what about the transition period – that tricky time between when you decide to make a change (or have the need for change thrust upon you) and when your new plan comes together.
I’m talking about that time you feel a bit in limbo, when it feels like your life is on hold.
Transitions can sometimes feel like we are stuck, though it may not actually be the case.
Here are my tips on the best ways to successfully maneuver through times of transition.
I know you didn’t want to hear that. I’m not a big fan of the be patient mantra myself.
However the advice still stands.
Regardless of your frustration levels (and you are bound to have some, so you need to devise a healthy way to deal with those feelings), sometimes the only thing we can do is be patient.
Do the work
Naturally if there is work or a task that needs to be done to help the transition along, by all means you should be doing it.
The patience I mention above doesn’t have anything to do with sitting around doing nothing, simply hoping good things randomly come your way.
You are responsible for making things happen.
A transition may also involve work in the form of emotional soul-searching.
Often transitions involve an element of letting go. Moving forward means leaving certain attachments behind so you can grow and evolve. It means not living in the past and holding onto old feelings of hurt and bitterness.
If you move through a transition yet carry all of your old baggage into the next phase of your life, you are bound to face the same demons further down the track.
Letting go isn’t easy. Some people find it particularly hard.
Do your best to let go of whatever it is that’s holding you back. (Letting go is a topic I will cover in more depth in future posts).
Move forward in other areas
Often it can be tempting to just put everything on hold until your new state of play comes into being.
I have been guilty of this myself lately with my job search. Transitions can tend to be all-consuming and our other plans end up on the back burner. We neglect people and other issues.
I think on some level this is often normal when a project takes a lot of our time and energy, just don’t let your life get too one-dimensional. Try to maintain an element of balance.
Control your stress levels
Transitions can be particularly stressful – naturally some more than others depending on your situation.
Times of transition might require us to be a bit more inventive about how we deal with stress. To be honest, your normal forms of stress release might not cut it during a particularly difficult time.
You may need more relaxation or time out than usual or you may need to find other ways to feel calm and relaxed. Try out different methods to see what works for you.
It’s probably important to point out here that controlling your stress levels doesn’t mean always being in control. It doesn’t mean putting on a brave face and pretending you are fine. It doesn’t mean bottling up your feelings when you are struggling. It means being open and honest about the emotions you are experiencing.
Don’t forget to enjoy the moment
Waiting can often mean we don’t fully appreciate the here and now.
Being in a transitional period often means projecting forward, working towards something we want in the future. You will know you are in a transitional period when you find yourself using the word when a lot
- when I get a new job
- when the house is finished
- when the divorce is finalized
- when I recover from the operation.
The problem with all of this forward thinking is that we fail to enjoy or completely miss present moments. All of that projecting forward has us overlooking the joy of now.
There is no doubt transitions can be difficult. Waiting can be unpleasant. Most of the time we are impatient to get on with things.
When you find yourself in a transitional period; hang in there, be kind to yourself and those around you and hopefully you will be moving onto your next exciting adventure before you know it.