How can you possibly find the time to navigate change and transition? When you do embrace them, though, they provide you with enriching and expansive experiences. Transitions stretch us and introduce new elements into our lives.
We often talk and think about how best to support friends and family when they are going through changes … but how about finding time to support yourself as you go through your life transitions?
Isn’t finding time to support yourself just as important as finding time to support your friends?
Think about it: your schedule is already busy with relationships, work, and the logistics of daily life. What do you do … how do you feel … when along with all of that, you are faced with a major life transition? Your transition might include things like starting or ending primary relationships, having a child, moving to new surroundings, dealing with a health issue, or changing jobs.
These are life transitions for anyone who undergoes them. It’s important to respect their impact. Transitions can have a profound effect, and at the same time, you may not be able to predict or have much control over the form they take or when they present themselves. Sometimes you can, but not always. However, what is unique … and what you can have control over … is how you experience these events and find the time to meet your personal needs.
One excellent way to get to know yourself better, relative to transitions, is to use your imagination! Practice thinking about a transition before-the-fact. Take any example of an event that is a life transition. Set aside 15 minutes once a day to think about it. During your 15 minutes of reflection, write down the changes you will need to make to find the time to successfully navigate these transitions. Do this for a few days, trying on different kinds of transitions. Notice the ideas that bubble up. Pay attention to how your feelings evolve.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, quite often, your transitions involve other people and may require a team approach to finding time. When you are navigating a real transition in your life, we recommend that you keep the people close to you involved in your finding time process.
1. Ask them what they see as important about the event. Be sure to encourage each person in your circle to state what he or she thinks will be important during this life transition.
2. Allow each person making this life journey with you to be clear about what he or she needs.
3. Include, in your plan for finding time, each person’s feelings, needs, and the unavoidable changes each will need to make.
4. For those of you who live alone, it is equally important to include your support system in your planning. Problem solving together creates a sense of teamwork and coordinates efforts. Each of you can select methods of finding time that ease the transition for everyone concerned.
Remember that this is a dynamic process over time. Keep in touch with each other to ensure that original decisions are working and that everyone remains open to adjusting the plan as the transition evolves.
And above all, as a base, remember to keep in touch with yourself as you successfully navigate your life transitions!
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.