Life adjustments and traditions are a normal part of the human experience. Life is full of changes, and as we grow and evolve, so do our circumstances.
Some changes may be anticipated, such as graduation from school, starting a new job, or getting married. Others may come unexpectedly, such as the loss of a loved one, a divorce, pandemics, or illness. No matter the type of change, adjusting to it can be challenging. It can be both exciting and overwhelming, filled with many unknowns.
Why are life adjustments or transitions challenging?
Life adjustments and transitions can be challenging because they require us to adapt to new circumstances.
- Change: Life adjustments and transitions involve change, which can be difficult to adapt to. Even if it is an exciting or welcome change, the process of establishing your new routine can be time-consuming and stressful.
- Increased stress: This is especially true as we are creatures of habit, and the process of adjusting to a new lifestyle, with its own unique and novel set of rituals and traditions, can be particularly daunting. For example, changes that require a person to move to a new location, learn a new language, or get used to different cultural norms can be stressful.
- Unexpected transitions: Unexpected transitions that directly impact our lives can be difficult to deal with. For instance, sudden loss, divorce, pandemics, job loss, or accidents; when a transition in our lives happens unexpectedly, it can be difficult to handle because we didn’t have time to plan and because it often requires us to re-evaluate our sense of self and purpose.
Different people have different levels of innate resistance to change. Even slight adjustments to daily routines can be overwhelming for some people. Some people can find it difficult to adjust to change and transition in their lives because they have not learned skills to cope, or because too much change has occurred without time to adjust, or because the intensity of the change felt overwhelming. This can result in feelings of anxiety, depression, or loneliness, to name a few.
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.Maria Robinson
How to cope with life adjustments and transitions.
Self-awareness and the readiness to ask for assistance when needed are both helpful for coping with changes and transitions in one’s life. Here are some tactics that could be useful:
- Practise self-care: Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and partake in enjoyable activities to look after your physical and emotional well-being.
- Reach out to friends and family: Connect with people you can rely on for emotional support during times of transition.
- Seek professional help: Consider working with a therapist or counsellor who can assist you in developing coping strategies and providing a safe space to express your emotions.
- Be patient with yourself: Understand that adjusting to change takes time and that it is normal to feel uneasy or hesitant at first.
- Set realistic expectations: Don’t expect yourself to bounce back immediately from a major life change. Instead, concentrate on small steps forwards and celebrate each small victory.
When to seek help
If you are having difficulty coping with a life adjustment or transition, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Here are some indicators that you may need to seek help:
- You’re displaying signs of anxiety or depression, such as restlessness, appetite loss, insomnia, or a sense of helplessness.
- You’re finding it difficult to go about your everyday activities, such as getting out of bed or managing responsibilities at work.
- You’re engaging in self-destructive behaviours, such as substance abuse or self-harm.
- You’re having issues in your relationships or conflict with others.
It’s crucial to put your emotional and mental health first when going through significant life changes and transitions. Life changes and transitions are unavoidable. However, although they can be difficult, they also offer opportunities for development and self-discovery.
All situations teach you and often it’s the tough ones that teach you the best.Pema Chodron