How to Deal With Life Transitions
Change is a constant and inevitable part of life. Whether it’s moving to a new city, becoming an empty nester, going through a divorce, getting married, having kids, or starting a new job, major life transitions can be difficult and may take a toll on your mental well-being. The reason it is tough for some people to deal with major change comes down to brain function. When you experience change, conflict sensors in the brain are activated. This causes brain chaos, or cognitive dissonance which can in turn cause you stress. Continue reading as we highlight some tips and tricks for how to deal with life transitions.
It is important to note, not everyone is affected by life transitions and changes the same way. In fact, your personality may determine how change affects your mental health. Some people seek novelty and find change exciting, for those major life transitions may be easier to handle. For those who enjoy sticking with the status quo, life transitions can be more challenging.
Be Present and Accept That Change is Inevitable
While some life transitions are planned, others may happen unexpectedly. For example, no one is prepared for losing a loved one or getting laid off. Furthermore, you may be worried about the uncertainty of how a major life transition may change your life. If you find yourself stressing about things that are out of your control, focus back on things you can control. You cannot necessarily change the world around you, but you can control your reaction to a situation. Try your best to be present and not worry about the future. Just because you are uncertain about what the future holds does not mean that the future is bad. Change will be a part of everyone’s life, whether you like it or not. It will cause you less stress if you accept that change is a fact of life and try to look for the positives in tough situations.
Practice Self-Care and Find Healthy Ways to Cope
A major part of staying present is finding healthy ways to cope with uncertainty and stress. When you are anticipating major change, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. Instead of sitting with your thoughts and stressing yourself out further, channel your energy into something more productive. You could start exercising, journaling, meditating, listening to music, or diving into a hobby. How you deal with life transitions may look different than someone else. The point is to take a minute and rid yourself of negative thoughts and spend time doing something you enjoy.
Also, taking care of your physical health can help improve your mental health! It is extremely important to prioritize self-care during major life transitions. Again, this means exercising regularly to increase endorphins and reduce stress. It also means getting ample sleep, ideally 6-8 hours a night. Eating a balanced diet is important as well. Diets that are high in sugar and fat can weaken your body’s response to stress, thus it is important to eat nutrient rich foods.
Self-care may also mean saying no to friends to protect your well-being. Take some time to focus on your needs and wants, and then abide by those needs and wants. If you need a night of rest, honor your body by saying no to a night on the town. Don’t be afraid to fall back on your support system, whether that be family or friends. It can be overwhelming to try and handle everything on your own. Asking for help when you need it and talking to loved ones can help alleviate some of the pressure during challenging times.
Being proactive about taking care of your mental health during major life transitions may include seeing a therapist. Having someone you can speak candidly to about the changes you are going through can, again, help alleviate some pressure. Therapists will also equip you with specific tools and strategies to better handle change and transitions. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, understands the difficulty of major life transitions and how they can affect your mental well-being. She feels passionate about helping people adapt to change and believes that no one should have to go through inevitable life transitions alone. If you are struggling to cope with a major life transition, Chriselda can help you reframe your way of thinking to start to feel hopeful again. For more information, or to book an appointment, visit her website.