“Anything that involves a change creates a transition.”
Life changes, or transitions, are a natural part of life and can occur with or without our knowledge. Changes can be planned such as getting married, having children, buying or selling a home, and divorce or retirement. Life changes can occur with out being expected such as death, illness or a sudden loss of a job.
The Effects of Change
Periods of transition can take its toll emotionally and physically. We can experience physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, trembling or rapid heart beat. Emotional manifestations arise because of feeling overwhelmed resulting in mood swings, sadness, anxiety and irritability. Behavioral changes such as changes in sleep, appetite, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal, and increased substance use can also happen.
Dealing with Change
The first step in getting a grip on these reactions is recognizing you are reacting off of the change. The next step is to develop an understanding about what is most troubling about the transition. The third step is to create a system to deal with ones reaction before, during and after the change. Some techniques below can help during the periods of transition include:
• Relaxing and taking care of yourself. Listen to music, watch a movie, do relaxation or deep breathing exercises, drink herbal tea, eat balanced meals, etc.
• Physical Exercise. Any thing from strenuous exercise to taking a walk around your neighborhood.
• Talk to people. Reach out to a support system with people you trust, or with individuals who have experienced the change your are going through,
• Focus on developing the new routines and try new things. Even as the new routine feels uncomfortable in the beginning; monitor what you say and think, watch for thoughts and statements that are negative and self-defeating.
• When feasible maintain traditions which are compatible with the new life style. For example celebrate holidays, birthdays, maintain social and family relationships and continue religious activities.
• Don’t fear or avoid the feelings created as a result of the change. Stay away from alcohol or drugs or anything that will blunt your feelings.
Dealing with the Transition Period
Feelings of sadness and missing what was lost are a natural part of change. During the transition period weaving known traditions and new patterns creates a sense of stability to help work through feelings of loss. However in some instances mourning can be difficult even when change will result in positive outcomes.
If you feel like your struggle through your life transitions is so overwhelming you feel like you are losing your way we at Jewish Family Service would like to help. Give Jewish Family Service a call at 570-344-1186.