There are so many experiences in our lives that can be life-changing. Especially as women go through our mid-life years, big life transitions take place that can be really difficult to manage. We took a class during our trip to Miraval about life transitions and thriving during change. We learned some great coping strategies that we feel are important to share with you. Learning to manage life changes and transitions with ease can give you a sense of empowerment that’s SO important. Below, we’re sharing more about life transitions, why they are so important, and some coping mechanisms for handling life transitions. Grab your coffee and get comfy because this is a long one!
How to Manage BIG Life Transitions With Empowerment And Ease
What Are Life Transitions?
Simply put, life transitions are any period in your life that involves a lot of change. They can come in many different forms and everyone’s experiences are different. But they can really impact your life in a significant way. You might not even realize that a life transition is affecting you, how you feel, your relationships, your style, etc. One of the most important things you can do to handle life transitions is to acknowledge and accept them first.
Examples Of Life Transitions
Here are just a few types of life transitions you may have experienced or are experiencing now…
- Becoming a parent
- Moving to a new place
- Moving to a new house
- Career change
- Death of a family member or loss of a loved one
- Reaching a specific age or issues with aging
- Getting married, starting or ending a new relationship
- Becoming ill or disabled
- Kids going to college
- Becoming an empty nester
- Financial gain or loss
- Questioning faith or spirituality
- Questioning sexual or gender identity
Why Life Transitions Are Difficult
Life transitions are difficult for a few reasons…
- Change – Life transitions include lots of change…and change is hard!
- Stress – The uncertainty and fear of change can lead to a lot of physical and emotional stress.
- Expectation – Whether a change is expected or unexpected, they have a profound impact. And often, people are expected to feel a certain way during certain life transitions. For example, has a friend ever told you they were pregnant, and you said “Oh my gosh! Congrats, that’s so exciting!”? At that moment, you’re not asking them how they feel about it, you’re portraying an expectation of feelings you think they should have during this life change.
- Emotions – Change can lead to a whirlwind of emotions that are constantly changing.
- Loss of Self – This one is SO important, especially for women. Sometimes life changes can leave you feeling like you don’t know who you are or who you’ll be post-transition.
Why Are Transitions Important In Life?
Life transitions are so important because they teach you lessons and show you that you can get through hard situations. Learning how to manage major life transitions well or somewhat easily can help you face challenges and changes in the future, and you come out stronger and wiser. But it’s not easy…so we’re sharing how to handle them below…
How To Handle Life Transitions
There are a few tools you can use to thrive, or at least cope, with life transitions. We’ve included some mindset tools, mindfulness tools, and behavioral tools for mastering life transitions below…
Understanding that change is a normal and unavoidable part of life is the first step in thriving through change. Change happens to everyone, and you will probably have more than one life transition in your lifetime.
It’s important to recognize or acknowledge that a change is happening. Many people prefer to bury themselves in work, raising their kids, taking care of a loved one, etc. instead of recognizing that they have something (a life transition) they need to work on and process.
This one is hard. With many life transitions, sometimes you won’t get that “closure” you’re seeking. Sometimes there’s no ”fix” and that can be really hard to accept.
Remember that dealing with transitions is something you’ve done before. You’ve made it through and you’re better for it…remember that!
Shifting your perspective might be the best mindset tool to cope with life changes. Reframing your thoughts around a situation so that they are either realistic, positive, or neutral is a game-changer!
Practicing mindfulness during these transitions is SO important in helping you gain clarity, insight, and self-compassion. These mindfulness tools are great to use every day as well.
Whether you free-write for 10 minutes a day or 10 minutes a week, journaling can be a very powerful tool when processing life changes. If free writing isn’t really your style, try starting with a prompt that resonates with you. Google “journaling prompt for dealing with ____” and type whatever life transition you’re dealing with.
If you’ve never meditated before, it can seem a little scary to get started. But even mediating for 1 minute a day can help with that mind-body connection.
Focusing on your breath or using different breathing exercises can help calm the nervous system and lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. We have shared some very helpful breathing exercises in this post in case you’re interested!
Affirmations or Mantras
Saying affirmations or mantras every day can help you feel more empowered as you’re going through these life changes. It seems simple, but it’s powerful. You can create your own affirmations by starting with “I am” or “I can”. If you need some ideas, here are a few examples:
I am free
I am strong and confident.
I let go of my fear.
I choose to focus on me.
I am free from worry.
Ask yourself what the best version of yourself or your future self looks like post-transition. Visualizing your best self can give you hope for the future and something to strive for or work towards. If it helps, write it down in a journal and revisit it when you need to.
This is one that might seem silly but having lucky charms actually helps some people feel more confident or optimistic. Think about when you wear your favorite top on a date…you feel your best, right?! Well, lucky charms are similar. Maybe you have that lucky coin in your pocket when you go into an interview. Lucky charms come in all shapes and sizes and should be very personal to you. Some examples include coins, four-leaf clovers, horseshoes, dreamcatchers, evil eyes, and rabbit feet.
Next, we’ll share a few behavioral or physical things you can do to help yourself cope with life changes.
Prepare When You Can
Changes can be unexpected or expected. If there’s a life change that is expected and that you can see coming, feeling prepared can help in that transition. For example, if you know your child is leaving for college soon and you’re worried, ask yourself what you need to know or what would make you feel better through this transition. Do you need to know exactly what they’ll need for their dorm for a smooth move-in? Start Googling to find the perfect college packing list and make your checklist! Are you worried they won’t know how to cook themselves meals on their own? Write some easy recipe cards and have them start cooking with you at home before they leave. There are small things you can do to make yourself feel more prepared…like your mini version of finding control in a situation you don’t actually have control in.
Allow For Feelings & Emotions
Now, finding your mini version of control is important. But it’s equally as important to actually feel the emotions rather than burying them and focusing on your to-dos/preparing. Identifying your feelings and allowing yourself to have them without shame or guilt is very important. Then…you should express your feelings clearly and effectively so that you and your loved ones can understand and process where you’re coming from.
Ask For Help
Which leads us to the next tool…Ask for help!! It can be easy to think you need to handle it alone, but this is when you should be leaning on your support system the most. Confide in your friends and family, allow yourself to take in that social support, and don’t be afraid to say exactly what you need. Sometimes the people who need the most support are the ones that seem like they need it the least…so make sure you check in on your friends too!
Develop & Keep a Routine
It can be easy when a major life change happens to retreat from daily life. But keeping up with your daily routines is crucial. It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect all the time. But in general, consistency is key. Keep up your social connections, workout routine, prayer, connecting with nature, hobbies, career, etc.
This is similar to the visualization tool I mentioned above. Reflect on who you are now, where you’ve been, and where you want to be.
Create a Ritual or Symbolic Act
We did say that you probably won’t get “closure” but it is possible to get “release.” This is especially powerful if you’re mourning, moving on from something, and/or closing a chapter of your life. Creating a ritual or symbolic act helps you acknowledge that change/loss/next step and “release” it. This can include walking a labyrinth, burning things, smudging rituals, cord-cutting rituals, water rituals, cleaning rituals, crystals, etc. But really, it’s up to you!
Do Not Compromise Self-Care
This is the most important! DO NOT compromise self-care! Taking care of your body and mental health will help you thrive through life transitions with way more ease. Drink enough water, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise (even if it’s just 10 minutes a day), practice mindfulness, and most importantly…treat yourself with love and kindness.
Do you have any questions? Have you used any of these tools while dealing with a life transition? Let us know in the comments below!
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