Significant transitions and changes are incredibly stressful for almost everyone. There are those few who thrive on big change but most of us find transitions difficult and taxing. There are some things you can do when going through a transition – whether a job change, a reorganization at your office, a move to a new city, a divorce, or the death of a parent – to take the lead in caring for yourself and increasing your ability to succeed and thrive.
- Be sure that you are taking good care of your health. As trite as that sounds, if you don’t have your energy, health and resilience, any transition can take it’s toll. Check in with your primary care provider and let them know what’s going on. If you have health conditions you need to attend to, attend to them! Get good sleep – and if you can’t, ask your health care provider what you can safely do to help you. Sleep is critical to your resilience and your ability to think clearly and effectively. Move your body – walk with friends, take the stairs, ride an exercise bike while you watch TV . . . but move. Listen to the flight attendant – “in the event of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first . . .”
- Take care of your mental health. If you have a coach or therapist, engage them now. They can dramatically increase your ability to weather significant changes. Make sure friends and family are aware of what you are going through and regularly see those people who nourish your soul (and limit your contact with those who don’t).
- Watch what you are telling yourself. Transition management requires positive self talk. Your self talk can help you handle stress or greatly increase your stress. When you catch yourself thinking thoughts that create a downward spiral, do something that interrupts the spiral – move, talk to someone, listen to music, take a drive . . . and revise what you are saying to yourself. During a time when you are feeling steady and upbeat, write down some phrases that you want to be thinking. Some possible phrases include: “I am doing a great job through this process. It’s stressful and hard and I’m taking good care of myself”, “Even though this is hard, I have people in my life who care for me and support me and I can call them if I need them”, “It’s hard to remember my skills with all that is going on but I can remember what others have told me over the years and I am . . . . good with people, an expert in this or that area, a powerful contributor here or there”. Make some notes about what you would like to be saying to yourself so that you can pull them out at those times when you are spiraling downward.
- Do activities or work that remind you of your gifts and talents. Do those things that you are good at, love to do, and get recognized for. Managing transitions can consume your thoughts, emotions, energy – you are more than any particular transition, put yourself into situations that help your remember yourself more broadly.
- And, hang in there. Life unfolds in ways that we don’t understand and can’t control. Transitions that can feel like nightmares as you go through them are often doors that open you to a new and more satisfying opportunity.
Transition Management Strategies: Take action on your own behalf . . . “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” so you have the energy and resilience to succeed!