In my personal experience, transitional periods can induce a sense of emotional unsettlement, of feeling uneasy during a period of immediate unknowns. Whether it’s a change of address, employment, or even an alteration in a relationship dynamic, change isn’t always easy and isn’t always stress-free, unfortunately.
I recently relocated to a city much further upstate (for the time being), and I’m still acclimating to all that is new. This past July, I made sure to give myself time to prepare for the move, whether it was packing, shopping, job searching, or scheduling necessary doctor appointments. However, it wasn’t just about the logistics of it all; I made a point to clear July for the August move, because I didn’t want to discount mentally preparing for the move, too.
I had to give myself some talks, as I do quite often since I’m a pretty reflective person in general. (I just have to try not to overthink!) I had to remind myself that I’m embarking on a period that will bring about uncertainty until all aligns as I settle into this new chapter. I had to remind myself that while this move is essentially right for me at this point in my life, it doesn’t mean that I won’t feel any semblance of stress or vulnerability or nostalgia.
I’ve compiled a short list of ways we can acclimate during a transitional period; reminders that I utilize for my own adjustment as well.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re experiencing. In fact, it probably would be unusual if you didn’t feel difficult emotions during a big change in your life. It can also be helpful to remember that even if a change is positive, it doesn’t imply that you will feel positive all the time. Give yourself a break now and then. Grant yourself permission to feel.
- Trust the Process: I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly the most patient person. I like to see pieces fall into place fairly quickly, or at least know more information about when such pieces will naturally synchronize. I have to tell myself to trust the process. For example, I need to trust that yes, the new apartment will surely but slowly come together, and yes, the job situation will pan out. Sometimes, things just take time and that’s the way it goes.
- Find a Routine That Works For You: I tend to take comfort in an established routine, whatever that routine may be. During a transitional period, routines may not be officially “set”, and you may have to find a routine within the transition. Routines can bring a sense of order and familiarity, which can certainly be beneficial during a time of change.
- Reach Out to Friends and Family: Reaching out to friends and family — to loved ones — can always give you a boost. Whether you’re confiding in them or simply chatting, I find that those kinds of conversations can serve as an enjoyable cathartic release.
- Focus on the Positives: Let’s bring it back full circle — focusing on the positives allows you to fixate on all that’s going well during this transitional period, but it also allows you to acknowledge why this change is right for you. Sometimes, change doesn’t even seem positive at first (I’ve been there in regards to relationship upsets), but in the long run, it usually is the right path that makes sense and allows you to grow. As Bob Dylan once said, in his classic folk tune, “the times, they are a changin.’”
Transition can be challenging, but there’s certainly methods to help with the process of adjustment. By acknowledging your feelings, patiently trusting the process, finding a routine that is compatible with you, having a support system of friends and family, and ultimately focusing on the positives, times of flux can be much easier to navigate.