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Wednesday
Sep292010

Successful Transitions


On a recent family beach vacation in the Outer Banks, I was lying in the sand looking up at the clouds. They were slowly shifting. The clouds weren’t moving quickly, but rather undulating and reshaping themselves ever so slightly. As I watched them, my thoughts felt connected to their movement. It was the beginning of the vacation. I wasn’t relaxed yet. I too was slowly adjusting. I was attempting to let my motor slow down and just be. Like the clouds, I was in a transition.

Transitions can be easy or difficult. Many factors influence how we process them, such as temperament and attitude.  Transitions can be successful, painful or somewhere in between. While the transition I just described was about shifting from being in the busy mode to a relaxed state, we often find ourselves in other kinds of transitions. They include getting organized, having children, moving, changing jobs, becoming empty nesters, losing loved ones and many other significant times.

Transitions usually make me uncomfortable. With my most recent, launching our youngest off to college, I’ve used many strategies to help me through this time of different. These concepts can be helpful for all types of transitions and I’m happy to share them with you. They include:

  • Floating – Allow yourself time to wander without any pressures. Don’t make any radical decisions while in transition.
  • Thinking – Indulge in your thoughts. Reminisce, future think, go where the mind wants to go. It’s all about processing your thoughts, the positive and the negative.
  • Feeling – Allow yourself to feel. Cry if you need to. Laugh if you want to. Don’t deny or hold back your feelings.
  • Connecting – Communicate with others. Use all possible outlets such as email, telephone, texting, old-fashioned letter writing or face-to-face contact. Extend yourself so that you’re not alone.
  • Writing – I’ve always been a journal writer and now I’m a blogger. If you’re inclined, writing is another helpful way to process and document your thoughts.
  • Being – It’s OK to just be without doing. Get rid of the “shoulds.” If you need a nap, take one. If you need fresh air, go for a walk. If you want quiet, just sit. Remove any pressure. Listen to what feels right for you.
  • Gathering – There’s nothing like spending time with the people you love. So, instead of retreating, get together with friends and family. Be around others whether it’s sharing a meal, listening to music, or going out dancing. Strengthen your relationships.
  • Traveling – Getting away from your familiar environment, even briefly, is valuable on many levels. Travel experiences spark new ideas and remove us from the familiar. When we allow ourselves to enjoy these new environments and sights, we strengthen our confidence and sense of well-being.
  • Thanking – Gratitude for what was and what can be is essential. Acknowledge all that there is to be thankful for – the people, places and things.
  • Opening – Be open to the possibilities. The life you knew has been altered either by choice or by the natural course of things. Life is now different. Keep your mind open to what might be and what you might want to invite into your life.

Are you in transition now? What strategies are you using to help you?

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Reader Comments (11)

Yes! You're reached the right place for the GIVEAWAY!!! Leave a comment on this blog post and you'll be automatically entered to win a Family Facts Family Activity Calendar. Thanks to Pam Socolow. Giveaway ends this Sunday at 9pm! There will be two lucky winners.

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I have Transitioned through the death of several family members recently and I'm so happy to have read a few more coping skills to add to my tool box. Thank you for sharing your process through Transition and wishing you well on the way.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan Limpach

Thank you, Linda, for your insights. Time to slow down and let myself enjoy my surroundings, my family, life.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca R. Eddy

Jan & Rebecca,

So glad to know that these reflections on "Transitions" are helpful. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and the rest of the community.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Congratulations Jan & Rebecca! You are BOTH winners of the giveaway. Will mail out your calendars right away. Many thanks to Pam Socolow at Family Facts for providing them.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hi Linda,

Wonderful blog and you created a change for me with this! I've had a busy year with my business so far, but things are slowing down a bit. At first I felt very uncomfortable about it, I mean, it does have economical and financial consequences. But now I also see it as extra time to redefine my goals, to study, to think about what I really want to accomplish next year. Thanks!

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHilde Verdijk

Hilde- And look at all that you have accomplished. You used the pause to your full advantage. Bravo!

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I've found that getting rid of the “shoulds" can be very helpful. Being in transition is challenging enough without having having to worry about meeting the unimportant expectations placed on us by ourselves and others. When I was newly separated, I declined an invitation to a BBQ at a friend's house and it felt really good to affirm to myself that how I would spend my time was my own decision, and no one else's.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Hi Janet- Bravo for listening to what you needed, rather than what you thought you "should" do or was expected. This is always a good thing to do, but especially when we're in a transition time, listening to our needs becomes paramount in helping us negotiate what comes or what we want to happen next. Transitions are opportunities for growth. Thank you for joining the conversation. It's always wonderful to hear your thoughts.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love how you write -most would write about practical methods for dealing with change, and you do have some in here (journalling, for example). What I loved though is the myriad feelings you talk about, showing people that this IS a complicated stage or change. Acknowledging that piece is the start of opening up to possibilities. Lovely piece, once again. Your voice is so clear.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

Sue, as you specialize in helping others through transitions, I am really touched by your positive words. Thank you. As you identified, we can't ignore the feelings part of our experience as we navigate transitions. We're going to have them...lots of them. Allowing ourselves to notice and honor them is the beginning.

As always, it's wonderful when you stop by to join the conversation. See you again soon.

July 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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