How to Effectively Manage and Thrive Through Transitions
There are many types of transitions in life, from the smallest to the most significant. Moving abroad is one such significant change which brings with it multiple levels of stress, fears and worries. The way we manage this change can strengthen and prepare us for a new future.
I have moved my family multiple times over the past decade, from one town to another neighboring town, as well as across the country. Each move resulted in mental and physical stress as well as increased tension in our relationship with each other. What should be an exciting period in our lives was typically reduced to increased anxiety and needless bickering. As we now prepare for our global move from California to China, and I am trying a new approach to ensure that each member of my family enjoys the moment and has an opportunity to make a positive transition from our old home to our new home.
Here are 7 strategies for effectively managing and thriving through transitions:
- Acknowledge and honor the transition. While we have only lived in southern California for less than two years, it has become home to us and especially so for our four-year old son who has essentially spent half of his life here. He has made connections at school with friends and teachers, and will certainly miss them when we move. To ensure a positive transition, we will be working with him to help understand what our move means, while encouraging him to acknowledge the conclusion of this phase in his life without remorse or regret. We will thank those who have touched our lives and we will revisit all of our favorite ‘haunts’ and activities in this beautiful seaside paradise known as San Diego.
- Look for and appreciate the lessons learned. Even as we feel a sense of sadness to be leaving our home, we will look for the lessons we have learned here and appreciate those incredible opportunities that were presented to us. We will gather with friends, colleagues and family members to share stories and anecdotes, and exchange ample amounts of laughter in the process. As we re-live our experiences and learn from them, we will find ourselves better equipped to move forward into the next phase with love and anticipation for the future.
- Explore new possibilities. List and dream of new opportunities that can come about with the next chapter. Talk about your expectations and share with each other, and your friends and family what you are hoping to experience. Seek encouragement and support as you dream of the possibilities, knowing that an incredible gift you have is to not have to make this journey alone, whether physically or in your heart.
- Visualize the new phase. Put imagination, words and action into what is developing for you and your family. Envision what you desire most and intent to make it even better than you can imagine. Your intention is powerful and you can influence the outcome of your conscious thoughts and experience by simply being intentional!
- Be kind to yourself. Most people can bear a lot of stress before becoming overwhelmed. Being kind to yourself throughout the process is an important part of staying both mentally and physically healthy, and preserving a loving environment for everyone involved. Take your time throughout the move, plan ahead and have clear goals in mind. Allow room for error and delays, and understand that many things may be beyond your control. And above all, don’t forget to allow enough time for rest and relaxation throughout the process.
- Develop a ‘bucket’ list. As you make your move and start a new chapter, make a wish list of experiences. This can be anything, from the craziest and most outrageous ideas, to the most simple and pleasurable of activities. While you develop new routines, find ways to honor past favorite routines and traditions. This way you will have a little of the old as you explore and discover new things!
- What is the best that could happen? The final and most important key to reducing stress and enjoying the moment is to ask yourself, ‘what is the best that could happen?’ Oftentimes, we are caught in a cycle of negativity as we make up stories and worst -case scenarios for every challenge we face. When you find yourself doing this, pause and put a different twist on your cycle of story-telling by imagining the best things that could possibly happen instead of the worst. End the cycle of negativity, and I guarantee that the worst will no longer seem inevitable…or even realistic!