It seems that life is filled with constant changes. Are your kiddos returning to school soon or headed off to college for the first time? Did you just get married, build a house, have a baby, or start a new job? All of these things are common occurrences but can have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives.

Some changes occur in our lives by choice, and we are given time to prepare, while some are imposed on us with minimal warning or control over the process. Regardless of the type of change that occurs, we will go through a transition period between “the way it was” and “the way it will be.” This transition process mimics the stages of grief, researched by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, as we work to find a sense of peace and acceptance with our new reality. It can be an emotional time that affects each individual differently.

Poor management of these transitions can, unfortunately, lead to damaged relationships and reputations. Luckily there are a few things we can do to help ourselves and others move through this transition process as smoothly as possible.

  1. Manage our thoughts.  Our thoughts determine our actions, so we must fully explore the thoughts we are having about the change event. Ask yourself if those thoughts are rational, and challenge yourself to look at the situation through a positive lens. Put your feelings and emotions into perspective. Likely, what is happening is not as tragic as it originally seemed.
  2. Focus on self-care practices.  Change is stressful, and the best way to manage stress is by initiating or sticking to self-care practices. Pay attention to your diet, and be sure to make time for activities that bring you joy.  
  3. Utilize supports and resources.  During challenging times, we may have to ask for help with activities we would normally take care of ourselves. This will allow us more time and energy to spend on the new situation.
  4. Communicate.  Share your challenges with friends and family and let them know how they can best support you during the transition. Don’t be afraid to offer up suggestions on how to make the transition go more smoothly. 

We will leave you with this quote by Jimmy Dean:  “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Good luck as you approach another season of change. If you need help managing changes, ask about our employee assistance programs today.

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mother saying goodbye to daughter