Here is some helpful information to remember following a transition:
• Most of us love to feel in control. Make sure there are some things you do have control over even if they are small e.g., when to visit the gym, keeping a stock of healthy food, getting enough sleep.
• Change involves uncertainty and can be uncomfortable. Breathe in to the discomfort and learn to be open to it through mindfulness meditation or a practice that works for you.
• Give yourself permission to feel what is already being felt; don’t fight the feelings you have as they will most likely show up in other areas of your life.
• Change is rarely all positive or all negative. Look for the complexity in the situation.
• Being open to experience and having the ability to adapt to new information is a key skill in resilience, which is related to better wellbeing.
• Make peace with your temperament. Recently a friend and I were discussing the changes in our lives. We had wildly different views on how much change we were comfortable with. She used the analogy of being a homebody with regard to change; she likes things to be steady, calm and in a routine. When there is change in her life she tends to get a craving for the quiet life and likes transitions to be gradual. She suggested I was more of a traveller i.e., I like more stimulation and variety. When there is change in my life, I tend to feel energised and as if I’m making progress. Each of us need to tailor life changes to what suits our particular temperament.
• There may be times when a change or series of changes feel overwhelming and may bring a strong sense of anxiety and/or depression with them. There is a disorder called “adjustment disorder” which psychiatrists and psychologists diagnose for those who are finding it difficult to adapt to the changes in their lives. At these times it is helpful to be aware of your limits and seek help from friends or a health professional.
• If the changes are within your control, it is best not to change too much at once. There is a large body of evidence on willpower as a finite resource – and how depleted it gets with each additional change. This is why people who try and change multiple habits at the same time invariably fail at all of them.
• Seek out support. Most things in life are easier if you know someone is walking beside you.