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How Can We Stay Balanced During Life Transitions?

Andromeda Peters, LICSW Washington, DC

Life transitions occur for us in many ways. Some examples include starting a new job, graduating from or starting school, ending relationships, grief, starting new relationships, parenthood, aging, moving, even starting therapy, and more! These experiences are often filled with stress, uncertainty, anxiety, fear-based response, and even trauma responses for some of us. So how can we navigate this and try to find as much balance as we can in the process? Here are some tips that can help you!

Naming Your Emotions

Although many emotions come to surface during life transitions, it is important to name our emotions, rather than putting our time only on the logistics of planning during transitions. I encourage my clients to partake in this via self-scanning. applying the questions “what am I feeling physically?”, “what am I feeling emotionally?”, and “is there anything that I need right now?” This helps us to not only obtain awareness, but to also do our best to meet our emotional and physical needs while working through the logistics that often accompanies transitional periods.

Self-Care Is Key

Prioritize self-care: make time to do the things that bring us joy or just find a moment for rest and relaxation, which is just as beneficial. Even if we cannot take a self-care day, I remind clients about the positive impacts of “self-care moments” such as taking a relaxing bath, eating lunch outdoors on a nice day, watching an enjoyable movie, giving ourselves a day to sleep in, spending time in nature, or eating a delicious dessert, to name a few. I also remind clients that during self-care moments, it’s important to do our best to be as present as we can, by gently redirecting our thoughts back to our self-care activities in those moments if our minds wander back into problem-solve mode.

Interrupt Rumination

I like to educate clients on how the brain works. Our brains are natural problem solvers. When our brains are under stress, they often think there is a problem to solve which can contribute to our experiences with rumination. However, it is of value for us to get back into the “driver’s seat” and redirect our brains. We can do this with thought reframes and healthy distractions such as watching something funny, playing video games, going for a walk, listening to music, or talking to a friend.

What’s In Your Power?

Acknowledge what is in our power and control and what is not. It is recommended that we review the specifics of our situation and look at what is in our control through self-talk stating “this is mine” and “this not.” In addition, I suggest engaging in self-talk asking, “Can I do anything about this now?” “Should I bubble this for later?” This also helps us give some direction to our brains in deciding to take action or deciding to pause. In addition, this offers us insight into whether we are taking on a responsibility that is not ours. Researchers say that we may not be able to control everything that occurs in our life, but we can do our best to take action in our response to our life experiences. 

Speak With a Therapist or Counselor

Work with a mental health professional. Many people commence therapy services during life transitions or process their transitional experiences with a current therapist. Therapists can offer balanced perspectives, and healthy coping mechanisms. Therapists provide us with a safe space to process triggers, our vulnerabilities, and challenging emotions such as fear, pensiveness, and anxiety while developing treatment plan goals to assist us in our ability to navigate emotions and our responses to life events. We may find it helpful to receive validation, permission to hold space ourselves, increased resilience, assistance in applying coping skills and accountability, and a broader understanding of ourselves in the process. For assistance, please contact us at www.symmetrycounseling.com for mental health support. We are proud to offer virtual counseling and online counseling services, ensuring that no matter your situation, you are able to get the help you need. Schedule a visit today.

Reference:

9 Tools to Stay Resilient During Your Life’s Transitions. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stonewall-strong/202105/9-tools-stay-resilient-during-your-life-s-transitions   on May 13, 2021.

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