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?