A few years ago, just the thought of a lifetime of transitions would have made me curl up in bed with the covers over my head. I couldn’t make sense of the transition I was in at the time, let alone grasp the concept of a lifetime of them.
If you don’t know my transition story, here’s a short version.
I had just retired from a corporate career that had spanned over 30 years, graduated from Penn State a month prior, survived being on mandatory evacuation orders for 5 weeks as a wildfire raged to within 2 miles of my home, sold that home a few months later when it wasn’t even on the market (or my idea to sell), lived out of boxes for 10 months, and lost both of my beloved Bouviers. And all that happened in a short 24 months.
I lost my identity; and honestly came close to losing my sanity. So, yes, thinking about a lifetime of transitions was way more than I could (or wanted to) comprehend. Change wasn’t my friend. I would much rather have everything stay the same, thank you very much.
Most everyone goes through some sort of transition (or multiple ones) in this journey called life. You may have lost a loved one, changed careers, divorced, got married, lost a job, moved across town or to a different state, or watched the last of your babies head off for college leaving you with an “empty nest.”
I would add that the start of a new year is also a transition. It’s time to reflect on everything that happened in the year that just ended, let go of the disappointments or what no longer serves you, and find the joy and good that you can take with you into the new year. As the poet Rumi said, “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” The start of a new year is the perfect time to assess and readjust that balance.
Said another way, it’s the perfect time to turn the page, pick up the pen, and start writing the next chapter so you can step into it with grace and confidence.
Think about it this way. Transitions are simply ways in which your life unfolds. Every end is a new beginning and the ebb and flow represents the way a person changes, grows, and moves forward on the journey. I know it’s hard to think about it like this when you’re in the thick of a transition (especially if it’s messy), but facing the mess helps you understand not only what is happening, but how you can spot the new opportunities being presented and the new doors that are opening for you.
It’s how you think about change and transitions that will either cause you to curl up in bed or navigate and embrace the curve balls—the change—life is throwing your way.
What are some ways you can manage transitions so you don’t end up losing your sanity? The easiest way is to take care of your health—physical, mental and emotional.
Physical health is easy. You can gauge how you’re doing when you look in the mirror, get on the scales, button your favorite pair of jeans, or have a conversation with your healthcare provider.
The mental and emotional parts of your overall health are a little trickier. Mental health professionals often lump emotional, psychological and social skills together and define mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and has healthy relationships.
So, It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. And, if you’re making the connection that mental health must also affect physical health, you’re absolutely correct.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your overall well-being. What can you do?
✓ Stay positive. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be sad or angry. You need to feel these emotions in order to deal with your difficult situations and move forward. Just don’t let them consume you. You may find that you have to take a break from watching or reading the news or scrolling social media.
✓ Practice gratitude. There’s nothing that will put you in a positive space more than focusing on all the great things that have come your way and are all around you in the present.
✓ Take care of your physical health by being physically active (exercise reduces feelings of stress and depression and improves your mood), get enough quality sleep, eat healthy foods, and get enough essential vitamins and minerals.
✓ Connect with and maintain strong, healthy relationships, because let’s face it, humans are social creatures.
✓ Practice meditation and relaxation. These will help you focus your attention and awareness, slow down breathing, lower blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension and stress.
✓ Essential oils. Reach for Wild Orange to bring out your creativity, Peppermint to help you gain the strength to face emotional pain, balancing blends to help you stay grounded and give you inner strength, and cheerful blends to help give you a boost of happiness and positivity.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help, even if you start by having a conversation with your primary care provider.
Transitions can be messy and hard, even if you’re looking forward to it. But if you can manage your mental and physical well-being, you’ll be well on your way to navigating the changes brought about by a lifetime of transitions. You might even create some awesome new beginnings!
For more, check out my blog and Amazon best selling book at christinestallard.com.