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5 Proven Strategies to Help You Handle Life Transitions

After helping many individuals and families navigate life transitions, I’m sharing proven strategies to help you pivot with life when it changes. By the end of this blog, you will have a sense of what life transitions are, why they are so hard to navigate, and what you can do to keep them from derailing you.

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What are Life Transitions?

The catch-all-phrase, life transitions, means any change in life including change in ability, health, relationship, location, employment, and role. Basically, a change from what you are used to.

Transitions connect your life story and impact your perception of self, others, and the world. Your ability to handle transitions can have a significant impact on your life story.

Why are life transitions hard?

Stress: People typically experience stress in response to change. This is completely normal! Sometimes a person can experience something called, eustress, which is a form of stress that can drive a person to take steps that progress them towards a goal.

Sometimes, the experience of stress drags on for long periods of time. This can leave a person emotionally taxed, physically drained, and make change very difficult to navigate.

Disrupted Routine: Change shakes up a person’s routine. Everyday things that used to be second nature may now require concentrated effort and energy.

Unprepared: Change catches a person off guard and unprepared.

5 Strategies to Help You Handle Changes in Life

Strategy # 1: Practice Self-Compassion

Remind yourself that It’s okay to feel disoriented and overwhelmed by changes in life. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with a difficult circumstance. Care for yourself like you would care for a friend in the same situation. How would you support that friend?

Check out this Self-Compassion Guide.

Strategy #2: Draw on Supports

Stay in touch with your support system. This can reduce feelings of loneliness and combat isolation.

Strategy #3: Tweak Your Self-Talk

What are you telling yourself? Is your internal dialog making it difficult for you to manage? Remind yourself that you’ve handled difficult life circumstances before, and you can handle changes now.

Check out this worksheet that can help you challenge your thoughts.

Strategy #4: Manage Your Expectations

Change is difficult no matter how experienced or prepared you are. If your expectation is that you will conquer change easily and without an emotional response, this expectation will likely lead to disappointment. Instead, adopt a healthy expectation that it is normal to respond emotionally to stressful changes in life and it will take time to adjust.

Strategy #5 Talk with a Therapist

Sometimes change in life can feel unapproachable. Planned or unplanned, change can be painful and take time. Talking with a therapist can help. Therapy helps you understand yourself and identify what you need and value. This relationship can be stabilizing and grounding in the mist of change.


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