Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Transitions – This Too Shall Pass

Growing, moving on, stepping up, new opportunities, transition, change.

I’ve blogged on change before – change is one of those perennial challenges and opportunities. So how to find our way through transitions that aren’t easy without getting overwhelmed or crazy?

Our family is facing a new transition – well several actually. New schools, new teachers and, for our eldest, the step away from home to university. While the first day for her is a few weeks away, we have been caught up in the transition for a couple of months now. It is exciting at times, and unsettling at others, and after each tense argument, or tearful hug, we are forced to recognise the reality of being in transition.

I try to think of transition or change as a wave (or a bell curve for those mathematics minded). It begins with a build up of excitement, anxiety and tension, and often resistance, to reach the top of the crest and then subside with forward momentum and release. With a quite a few years (ahem) of experience of change and transitions under my belt it is easier for me to feel confident in the cyclic nature of this stage – this too shall pass. For the teenager of course, without that perspective, it is quite an emotional roller coaster.

Managing Transitions

With regard to managing transitions in our work lives here are a few things I have found that help:

  • Recognising it for what it is – change and adjusting to the change
  • Allowing for the emotions to surface. Allowing yourself to feel and acknowledge these – to self and others
  • Make space to replenish yourself – topping up your inner resources is paramount at this time – build in self care daily
  • Draw tiny circles – when overwhelmed by transition and the tasks involved identify some small tasks that feel manageable and tackle these – take nibbles at the overwhelm, rather than choke on big bites.
  • This too shall pass – remember all the other changes you have successfully moved through in your life
  • Seek support – either formally in supervision, or informally with a good friend or mentor
  • Shift your mindset – write a list (even if it is initially small) of the advantages of this transition and help your brain find some positives to focus on
  • Plan something to look forward to – a break, a holiday, a social event …

As my teenager learns the inevitability of change and how to manage transitions I get a fresh reminder to return to the wave analogy, and practice my surfing.