Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
Growth and comfort do not coexist.
It’s been a strange year, to say the least, and I think this will most definitely continue as we move into the holiday season. For our family, even Halloween was a transition this year without the constant flow of trick-or-treaters at our door and our kids out partaking in this fun activity too. This year, our front door light was off, and we were upstairs watching The Mandalorian as a family, while also snacking on our favorite candy. Low key. A little boring. Kind of sad. And, I found on this evening, yet again, that I was grieving the way things used to be, while also feeling grateful we were all home together safe and sound.
I see so many life transitions and major life changes in my online counseling private practice based out of Flower Mound, Texas, from relationship changes to miscarriage/pregnancy loss to loss of a loved one to life style changes, to name a few. In all types of major life changes (even positive ones like getting married or having a baby) there are many different heightened emotions that occur such as anxiety, sadness and grief. Why? Because you’re leaving something behind in order to move forward and be in a new space in your life. And, you must go through the pain and discomfort to get to the healing.
Sounds like fun, right? Not really, it’s actually a whole lot of hard, intense, deep work. But, doing this work can bring you back to hope, healing and joy. It can also bring you back to yourself.
I have a Perinatal Mental Health Certification (PMH-C), and many of my clients are pregnant and postpartum women. So obviously, some very big transitions going on here with first children, but also with additional children being added to their families. One of the biggest transitions I see is surrounding work: working outside of the home moms changing to stay-at-home-moms and stay-at-home moms changing to working outside of the home moms. These types of transitions can be very difficult for a myriad of reasons including their identity/how they see themselves being tied to a role they are trying to leave behind, worry about how the change will affect family members, grief and sadness over things they will miss about their “old” role, fear they may regret this change, etc. These feelings of discomfort and heightened emotions are normal when making a big life change. Acknowledge them. Name them. And, allow yourself to feel these emotions, so you can move through them and complete this process.
The following are some self-care ideas to help you during hard transitions:
- Find a positive mantra/self-affirmation that you can use when you get stuck in an anxiety cycle.
- Practice mindfulness/meditation to help you stay grounded in the present moment.
- Be gentle with yourself, use self-compassion and develop a kind inner dialogue.
- Keep a journal so you have a safe place to channel your feelings of discomfort and a place to process these hard emotions.
- Talk to a therapist with experience working with life transitions.
- Practice tightening and releasing your muscles as a way to help you relax.
Remember, when emotions are running high during transitions, be sure to schedule time into your day to take care of yourself. Also, keep an eye on your personal triggers and stressors so your emotional reactivity stays low during this trying time in your life.