Caring for Mental Health During Life Transitions
Change can be hard on our minds, but we have some tips to help you adjust.
Change is inevitable in this life, seasons come and go, we grow older each year, and new opportunities or circumstances come about to shake things up every so often. And although life transitions can be exciting at times, like getting married or moving to a new city, change can also be earth-shattering like being diagnosed with a chronic illness or losing a loved one.
Regardless, no matter what kind of change we are facing, it can be hard for our minds to process change.
With that being said, our brains do eventually learn and adapt over time. So, how can we make that process easier to bear? Well, here are a few tips for caring for your mental health during life transitions:
Don’t feel guilty about your emotionsNo matter what kind of change you’re facing, whether good or bad, you are entitled to all your emotions. Even if you have entered a new, exciting phase of life like getting married or having a baby, those transitions can be a big change for your mind to process. Adapting to change takes a lot of energy and requires a learning curve, and that can leave you feeling exhausted or overwhelmed at times. Remember to be compassionate and patient with yourself as you navigate this new season of life.
Look ahead, not backwardYou can’t change what once was. But you can choose how to live your life now. If looking into the past and longing for the past isn’t doing you any favors now, choose to look ahead. Focus on the future! Visualize who you want to be, what you want to learn, and where you want to end up during this challenging time. Look for those opportunities for refinement. This isn’t always easy, but if you choose to change your mindset, you’ll be amazed at how much you can grow and learn during this transition.
Take one day at a timeWhen dealing with change, it’s normal to want to get used to everything this change is throwing at you right now. But that’s unrealistic. Change takes time and practice. Instead of trying to do it all now and growing frustrated, give yourself time to figure these things out. Add “yet” to the end of your thoughts. For example, “I don’t know how to this new job…yet” or “I can’t figure this parenting thing out…yet.” Don’t focus on the end result, focus on what small steps you can slowly take today to work toward where you want to be. Slow and steady always wins the race.
Keep a journalJournaling your thoughts at the end of each day during any life transition can help you understand your feelings better and may help you unearth the “why” behind them. Pay special attention to any thoughts that are negative, from the past, or unkind toward yourself—recognizing those thoughts can help you choose more positive thoughts. And in the future when you’re facing another change, you can look back on how much you were able to overcome.
Surround yourself with supportTalking to loved ones can be especially helpful when you’re trying to navigate a new transition. And, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from a mental health professional, a support group, or even an online social media community. Connection is a key in navigating challenges and gaining wisdom from others who are facing similar circumstances can also be helpful.
Even when you think your circumstances aren't fair or wish they hadn't happened, nothing you think or say will change reality. Even though change is inevitable, you can choose to accept reality and be willing to grow, or you can choose to live in resistance and bitterness. Hint: Acceptance is always the easier and more fulfilling way to go. And there are many resources to help you start.
Related: 7 Steps to Find True Happiness
Yes, our brains may not like change at first, but every great thing in life usually starts out a little scary and uncomfortable. If you are willing to embrace the growth and development this time of transition brings, you will blossom into your new normal in no time. Just keep moving forward!
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