Life Transitions: 7 Ways to Navigate Them with Grace and Creativity

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By David Wachsman, MC

Life transitions can be daunting, no matter what point of life you’re in.

Whether you’re preparing for a big move, going off to college, getting married, changing jobs, or becoming an empty nester—these transitions are certainly a big life adjustment. However, it is possible to approach them, along with the accompanying emotions, with grace and creativity.

Whatever life transition you might be preparing for, consider these 7 tips to get through it as easily and stress-free as possible.

1. Prepare and Plan Ahead

This may seem like a no-brainer but being prepared for a big life event can help ease stress.

If you’re about to move, packing early and organizing your belongings will make the move so much easier. This will help you in both the packing and unpacking stages.

Maintaining organization will undoubtedly help you out in the long run in nearly every situation.

2. Try to Focus on the Positives

Life transitions, even in the best and happiest of situations, can be stressful, as well. Going away to college, moving away from your family, or becoming an empty nester are all events that can be quite bittersweet.

In these events, it is important to focus on the exciting aspects of the transition and keep in mind all of the positives that can come of a move to college or to a new town or city.

3. Spend Extra Time with Loved Ones

In a transitional period, it is easy to feel caught up in your concerns and lose touch with those important to you. Make the extra effort to grab coffee with a friend, to visit your parents, or talk on the phone with your brother.

These simple activities can help relieve your stress and make you feel less isolated during a potentially stressful time.

4. Keep a Checklist

A helpful and visual way to stay organized is to keep a checklist. This enables you to keep tabs on what tasks you still need to complete, and you can ease your stress as you slowly and surely check them off the list.

You can even go the extra mile and put your artistic skills to good use by creating a fun bulletin board or calendar that keeps track of all the tasks you need to accomplish. This is a simple but fun way to stay organized.

5. Create a Schedule for Visiting Friends and Family

A common life transition is moving away from home, which is often difficult and emotional. Simply knowing when you will see your loved ones next will greatly ease the sadness involved with leaving them.

If you’re going away to college, you can plan to talk to your parents on the phone twice a week. Conversely, your parents can plan to visit you one Saturday a month. Technology and social media provide an abundance of ways to stay connected, but don’t substitute it for phone conversations and face-to-face connection.

Simple plans like these offers something to look forward to and eases the sadness of leaving loved ones.

6. Consider Adopting a Pet

Animals can be a very comforting and welcome companion during a stressful period. Perhaps you’re moving to a new city and don’t know anyone there, in which case a pet might be a welcomed friend. Or, maybe you’re stressed about starting a new job—having a loving critter to come home to at the end of the day makes the transition much easier.

If you feel you don’t have the time or money to commit to a pet of your own, consider fostering cats and dogs or volunteering at a local shelter.

7. Take a Moment to Breath and Focus on Yourself

In periods of transition, it can be easy to let your physical and mental health slip. Simply take some time just to focus on your well-being. Put on your favorite song, splurge on a new outfit, stay active and exercise, or just take a moment to sit down and relax.

Allowing yourself focused moments for your self-care will only benefit your overall well-being in the long run.

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David Wachsman, MC, LPC Intern, works with individuals at the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin. who may be experiencing challenges brought on by life transitions. If you are feeling stressed as these changes approach, consider therapy as a healthy way to cope. For help navigating these waters, schedule a session with David by calling (512) 270-4883, ext. 119, or request an appointment online through the RCC Austin Scheduling page.