Coping with Significant Changes and Transitions

Behavioral Health

​Coping with Significant Changes and Transitions

Are you struggling to cope with recent changes in your life? Has the loss of a loved one left you feeling sad, lonely or confused? Perhaps you’ve transitioned to a new role – gotten married, started a new career or gone back to school – and you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Maybe you or a family member is struggling with changes at home or school.

Changes and transitions are a natural part of life. Sometimes changes are welcomed and expected, or even exciting. Other times changes are unplanned, which can make you feel anxious. No matter how it happens, changes and transitions can be difficult. And for many, it can be hard to accept and cope with changes and move through life’s transitions.

Why is change so difficult?

It’s normal to find change difficult to manage. When you experience changes or transitions in life, you’re letting go of what’s familiar and moving toward something new. Such moves can be stressful, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, planned or unexpected.

Stress can affect you emotionally or physically. You might experience:

  • Feelings of vulnerability, anxiety and uncertainty

  • Muscle tension, body aches and pains, and headaches

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Disturbances in your normal eating and sleeping patterns

  • Poor concentration

  • Fatigue and loss of energy

Managing these feelings and physical discomforts can be difficult – but not impossible.

How can you begin to cope with, or accept, the changes in your life?

You can take many small steps to cope with, and overcome, significant changes and transitions. You cannot always control what happens, but you can begin to have more control over your reactions to what happens, as well as your outlook on new changes and transitions.

When navigating life’s ups and downs, remember to:

  • Be flexible. Although life doesn’t always unfold the way you planned, opportunities often present themselves in unexpected ways. Learn to recognize and take advantage of these opportunities, even if they weren’t part of your original plan.

  • Avoid asking yourself, “What if?” It’s easy to think about everything that can go wrong. Sometimes, it can be so easy that you can’t think of anything else. But this isn’t helpful to your mental health and well-being. Try writing your worries in a journal and set it aside for a few days, then revisit it. Often, when we give our minds a break from certain thoughts, we have a better understanding of the situation.

  • Maintain your healthy habits. Eating well and exercising regularly can boost your mood and help you feel better. Getting at least eight hours of sleep each night can also help you feel refreshed and empowered. By caring for yourself mentally and physically, you will be better equipped to cope with life’s more challenging issues.

  • Reach out to trusted friends and family members. You may want to portray an image of strength and fearlessness when navigation significant changes and transitions. But you should give yourself permission to be vulnerable. Reach out to loved ones for courage and support – they’ll offer you a shoulder to cry on, or share a good joke to give you a boost. Your support network can help you get through difficult times.

  • Look at the big picture. Certain aspects of your life operate outside your control. During these times, it’s important to remember what is in your control. Perhaps your spouse was laid off, and you’re concerned about finances. Although you can’t control your spouse’s employment situation, you can develop a strategy to make ends meet – whether it’s cutting out entertainment expenses or talking to your boss about working additional hours.

You should also remember that your emotional and mental well-being is just as important as your physical health. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign of strength. If these tips aren’t helpful in coping with significant life changes and transitions, it might be time to seek professional help.

Call the Parkview Behavioral Health Help Line at (260) 373-7500 or (800) 284-8439, anytime 24 hours a day. Our dedicated assessment specialists are available to guide you to the appropriate level of care – or resources – for your situation.

 
 

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