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Transition Stress

Over the past 18+ months, we have all experienced more transitions than we’re probably comfortable with. Between shutdowns, online school, a rapidly changing job landscape, and all the other normal life transitions that we have gone through together, it would be easy to feel like we are in a constant state of flux. Let me be (hopefully not) the first to tell you: It is okay if this feels really, really hard.

Transitions can be stressful for many reasons, even if they are good.

  1. Juggling all the logistics can present a huge challenge. No matter how prepared we are for the change, there will always be things that pop up that are either unexpected or out of our control. The unexpected will happen in life, but even more so when you stepping out into something new and unknown.

  2. You have to be a beginner again. One of my favorite authors, Emily P. Freeman, says in her book The Next Right Thing, “Everyone likes to start something new but no one likes to be a beginner.” Beginning at something, whether that is getting married, being a new parent, or starting a new job, is going to involve some sort of learning curve. Learning something new almost always involves messing up a few times and having to navigate some amount of failure.

  3. The change usually impacts multiple areas of life. Most changes do not occur in a vacuum. It's sometimes easier to mentally prepare for changes in one specific area of life, but rarely does one change not spill over. Suddenly, one shift in your life is resulting in changes in areas you were not able to anticipate.

Given all these hurdles to overcome while transitioning, it can be easy to feel like you’re failing, struggling, or simply overwhelmed. If this feels like you, take a deep breath and know you’re not alone. Remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect and you’ll eventually feel settled again. Take a few more deep breaths and remind yourself that you don’t have to go through the change alone. Trusted friends, family, or therapist can help carry some of the load you’re carrying. Now take one more deep breath for good measure.

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