Everyone experiences changes in their lives. As we grow older, graduate, move to new cities, meet new people, change careers, life seems to constantly change. Many people feel conflicting emotions when they find themselves in a new transition. You can be excited for changes to your family (getting married, having a baby, adopting, etc), but know that every new relationship comes with its challenges. You could be excited for a new job, but sad to leave everyone you knew in your previous position. Graduating from high school or college can feel like a huge accomplishment, but the unknown can be terrifying.
The reality is that these conflicting emotions are to be expected in transitions. The challenge comes in finding the balance between feeling excited about your new change and needing time to mourn the things you gave up.
Challenges in Change
When we go through seasons of transition, change becomes difficult. We find ourselves becoming different versions of ourselves as we try to figure out our new “normal”. It might be difficult to set goals for ourselves or keep up with prior routines, especially when we move to a new place. There are also times when too much change becomes a bad thing.
Here are some signs that it might be time to seek support in your life transitions:
Depression Sets In: This goes beyond feeling unmotivated or tired. If you find yourself unable to get out of bed, afraid to reach out to friends, or incapable of taking care of yourself, you might be in the beginning stages of depression.
Uncharacteristic Behaviors Crop Up: Irritability, isolation from friends and family, ignoring hobbies, changes in eating habits, etc might be signs that you need help navigating your new transition
Self-Esteem Lowers or Self-Doubt Increases: When everything is new, it often causes us to re-examine the things we once knew to be true about ourselves. If this turns into feelings of inadequacy or thoughts of worthlessness, it may be necessary to seek help to regain your sense of self.
Coping with Change
No matter how insignificant your change might feel, we all need support when things change. If you find yourself meeting any of the above criteria, here are some ways to cope with change.
Find support systems: Find people in your new environment that you trust to listen to you and encourage you through times of change. Join local sports teams, take a class, join a meetup app or take the time to invite new coworkers out after work. All of these things can help you meet new people that may become some of your best friends in time.
Learn new healthy habits: In a new environment, it can be difficult to keep up with old routines. Create a new routine that is simple and prioritizes caring for yourself. This includes prioritizing sleep and healthy eating. However, self-care goes beyond that to finding new activities you enjoy and finding ways to connect with your emotions. journaling, art and movement are all ways to connect with your emotions.
If you don’t know where to start, a therapist can help you determine what you value most. If you struggle with depression, low self-esteem or a lack of purpose, a therapist can guide you through this journey. Call today!
Written by therapist Elise Champanhet
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