Life transitions is a meaningful change in your life. Some positive transitions are buying your first car, graduating from school, starting a new job, having your first baby, starting a new relationship and so forth. Adults are constantly facing life transitions as they are figuring out to be "settled" and some transitions are stressful. Stressful life transitions include a passing of a loved one, getting laid off, a break up, or a change of management at work. Whether your life transitions are positive or negative, they can be stressful nonetheless. Here are some ways to cope with your life changes:
Symbolize the life change
People who find meaning behind their life struggles develop more resilience to life transitions. During the Holocaust, the Jews coped better when they symbolize their experience with meaning. Symbolizing your life transition can help you become at peace with it. They key here not to narrow your focus on the life transition, but rather look at the bigger picture of your life. Here are some thoughtful questions:
What does this change serve for you?
What are you willing to struggle for?
How did this life transition better you as a person?
What are the takeaway life lessons?
Talk to someone who has been through it
Find someone (that you look up to) who has been through the same or similar experience as you have and see what they have learned from it. You can learn some wisdom that is relatable to you. The important thing here is to take their advice to heart (don't be an askhole who ask for advice but immediately rejects it with a "but...") and see how it may benefit you.
Leverage your strengths
Despite all the stress and life transitions, you have still managed to get this far! So think back to yourself "what skills and traits that has helped me in the past that has gotten me to the present day?"Make a list of your strengths, assets, and coping strategies. Sometimes, a simple reminder of your strengths is all you need to realize that you are more capable than you've realized. Once you have made your list, maximize it in your daily life! Your strengths can include:
Your personality traits (e.g. grit, hardworking, empathic etc.)
Your achievements (e.g. graduating, got a new job, bought first car)
Your life goals
Your resources (e.g. social network, relationship, finances)
Look forward to the future
Despite the stressful life transition, make the most of it for your future. It's common to get stuck on the negativity behind the life transition but this is a gentle reminder that whatever has happened to you...it's okay, remember that you can control your actions and behaviours to make tomorrow a better day for you. Some questions to help you focus on the future:
What do I have control over?
How will this life transition help me or others in the future?
What does this life transition mean to me in the next 5 years?
This is a personal example from me: I have made a dumb financial decision when I bought an expensive car as my first car! I kept lamenting about this life transition, but then I kept reminding myself about the future: I can pay back the car loan and I am still doing well daily!
Whatever life throws at you, keep pressing forward and eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel!
About The Author
Jasmine Tsang is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) under the College of Registered Psychotherapist Ontario (CRPO) and the founder of Reflections Therapy. She specializes in providing counselling services for people facing challenges in their adulthood such as relationships, self-esteem issues, school & career stressors, anxiety, and depression. For more information about Jasmine, click here to read her bio.