Transition and Change
Transition and change are two different things. Many of us make decisions to change: exercise habits, behavior, relationships, drinking, smoking, how we treat others, and so on. We often don’t think so much about how we might get there and what help or resources we might need to make the transition. Transition is the journey toward the change we choose. Change is the goal of transition. The more complex, difficult or deeply personal the change we choose, the more we need to think about the transition involved in getting to that goal.
It would be great if every change we want to make in our lives were clear and easy. Many clients arrive at CenterLife Counseling, for example, aware that they want some change to happen, but are unclear what that change might be. Some feel they have no choices. They are stuck because the change they want to make is unclear and any transition means that they must first let go of the old. What a dilemma to face, especially if it involves relationships, children, employment, personal finance or family!
We asked a few of CenterLife Counseling’s clinicians to name just one guideline they often recommend to clients who are going through significant change and transition. The result was seven simple guidelines.
- Don’t go it alone. Very few people can go through significant change and transition alone. Ask a friend to listen and to refrain from giving advice unless asked.
- Ask for professional help when friends can’t help. When change and transition create sleeplessness, undue anxiety, a sense of being overwhelmed, depression it is a good idea to walk that road with a professional. When change and transition is happening within your primary relationships friends often can’t offer the support they would otherwise be able to give. That is a good time to ask for help from a professional.
- Keep a written list of goals and action steps handy. Sometimes, if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, make yourself a daily list. Cross them off when those for the day are achieved.
- Delay major financial decisions if you can. Try not to make any major financial decisions while a major transition is actually happening. Wait, take a deep breath and make major financial decisions only when things calm down for you. If you do have to make a dramatic financial change, it may be a good idea to get some professional advice before you do that.
- Get a life. A well-balanced diet, exercise, and activities you consider fun are important to you well being during major change and transition.
- Take your medication. If you have medication from your doctor keep your medicine routine steady and ask your doctor before making any changes.
- Pay attention to losses you experience. Ignoring how you experience loss that often accompanies change and transition come back to bite you. Allow yourself to experience it, share it with friends and if that is not enough, set up an appointment with a clinician experienced with a grief and loss.
We all face major change and transition at times. They are just part of life and necessary to growing and relating to others. How we deal with them makes a difference to the meaning and happiness we find in life. Just a few key guidelines such as those set out here can make a big difference to the experience.
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White Bear Lake, MN
4444 Centerville Road, Suite 235
White Bear Lake, MN 55127
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