I grew up with my Dad in the Air Force. I’ve had a lot of homes, been immersed in different cultures, and have said goodbye to a lot of people.
Being the sentimental, people-person that I am, I cried with every move and vowed that my new home would never compare to my old home. As with anything in life that you go through over and over again–there comes a point where your emotions become numb and you are able to take a step back and start making logical assessments. You become aware of your variables and your constants and you notice a sense of control.
What I’m saying is, I’ve really got this whole “transition” thing down. As hard as it seemed when I was younger, I’m glad that I’ve become so proficient in the process of change!
If you’re struggling with a recent transition that you can’t back away from, be it a move, a breakup, a job loss, even aging!–give this list a look. Transitioning is not always easy, until your mind can be content on its own, here are some ways to help it out.
1. Let go of what you thought you needed to feel complete.
That’s not your life anymore. It’s weird and it’s not what you planned and it sucks, but you have got to accept it.
Look at what is in front of you! This is your current reality. We all deserve some time to mope but you have to realize that the length of your “mope stage” is on you. Why not skip the moping and just get on with it, man?
Make peace with your current situation and start looking forward. What is cool and awesome about this new phase of your life? What can you do that you couldn’t have done before?
If you’ve moved, take advantage of what’s available at this location that wasn’t available at the previous. Stop focusing on what you no longer have and start focusing on what you’ve gained.
If you’re a year older, what are you going to do right this year that the younger, less mature you (insert winking face) has consistently failed to do? What can you do in this new year to really own your age and show everyone how interesting your experiences have made you?
If you’re moving on from a relationship, what cool things can you discover about a life where you get to focus on yourself? Loving yourself (as we all have been told by social media and any concerned adult) is extremely important. Being independent is a liberating feeling, so if you don’t know how to do that, consider yourself lucky for the opportunity to learn now.
This is a mental game, folks.
2. Stay Positive
I’m going to keep this one short because (roll of the eyes) we all know this. BUT, do you really know?
Negative thoughts are more toxic than a lot of people realize. What’s even more, it only takes one or two negative thoughts to ruin you. Some of us are more susceptible to negative thoughts than others. KEEP THEM OUT. If this sounds crazy to you (what? I’m supposed to not ever have a negative thought? ludicrous!) then this section applies to you.
Think about it. You do not benefit from thinking negatively about yourself. No-one else benefits from you thinking negatively about yourself. Try giving yourself a break.
Any time you have a negative thought about yourself coming on–swat it away. Give it some time and, in a month, see if you’ve become stronger, freer, and note where else you’ve benefitted. I can’t list how it helps you because this is just one of those things you need to see for yourself.
If this seems like something that will be hard for you, maybe you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself a lot–think about what you are valuing. What’s so important to you that you are not satisfying? Are these healthy values? If it has to do with personality, being responsible, and being good to other people–then alright, be a better person. If it has to do with looks–it is not worth it.
I do not let myself think negatively about myself. I’ll look in the mirror and a couple will creep up and I turn around and walk away. It is a WASTE OF TIME. If I wanted to, I could write down a solid list of things that are wrong with me… but… why would I do that? It’s so much more fun to think about why I’m awesome.
So much for keeping this section short. Whoops.
3. Keep Yourself Busy
Do a variety of things. Whether this is with people or without, this is a good time to keep your mind occupied. Organize your surroundings (if you’ve just moved this can be really fun), create, challenge yourself to accomplish new goals! Go out with friends, explore a new hiking trail, go to the movies, read, write, draw, look for some new music, work out!
Have you heard of retail therapy? It’s real! (But not always the best option so use discretion here.)
If you keep yourself busy doing (mostly) healthy things, you will sleep easier at night because, well, you’re exhausted. You will feel productive and you will have concrete byproducts to smile on in this new chapter of your life.
Do something new! Go get a tattoo, change your hair, adopt a puppy–like I said, this is a mental game. Recognize that you do have a void that you are trying to fill. Fill it in healthy ways.
Eventually your mind will be content on its own, until then, put in a little extra effort to keep it in a healthy place.*
*Footnote: I tend to be too good at keeping myself busy. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you end up with strep throat every other month. You will, unknowingly, lose your sanity if you don’t designate some time for yourself to rest and relax.
4. Don’t be stubborn.
Now is not the time! Transitioning requires an open mind and an open heart. This process will be easier if you are open to the present and not hanging on to the past. Don’t close yourself off to new opportunities because you are bitter about a life that just isn’t yours anymore.
Breathe and let go. What is meant to be will come back to you in the positive future that you are creating for yourself. (Any more everyday quotes I could use that apply here?)
5. Don’t be scared.
You’re going to be okay. If someone else hasn’t already told you that, I will be the first and then you go ahead and be the second.
Maybe you’re feeling defensive and protective because you’ve been hurt. Well, you live and you learn and not everyone is bad so, try not to be bitter against all of humanity right now. You have got to move on. Don’t let your past control your present! As they say: “s-m-h.”
Okay and maybe you’ve failed yourself. Maybe you are scared of what’s to come. Hey, let it go.
How long are you going to harbor guilt and punish yourself for what you cannot go back and redo? Forgive yourself for being stupid and start making the choices the person you want to be would make. Sometimes it’s hard to feel whole and worthy of greatness, especially when you are starting over and when you feel alone. But guess what? That is all on you.
You have to decide to feel a certain way and then go from there.
6. Know yourself.
When transitioning, you need to be on your A game, son.
This is usually a vulnerable time period. You’ve got to be stronger than usual. If you can recognize this, it’ll be easier to be in tune with what you’re going through and therefore, easier to make the right choices.
You’ve got to know yourself, and if you don’t, well this is a good time to start learning. What mistakes are you susceptible to? What are your patterns? How do you typically react when curves are thrown at you? What should you avoid in order to start moving in the right direction?
Your heart may be aching but mental strength is the best bandage. Don’t fall into your weaknesses during this time and take the easy way out if that means it won’t provide long-term results. By all means, go out, get a little sloppy, laugh and be merry! Have good conversations and feel alive–but you’re not looking for temporary happiness right now, people.
Heck, maybe you are. I’m just trying to tell you what I’ve learned!!
What I’m saying is, don’t let your past hold you back from progressing. You are transitioning for a reason and I doubt your end goal is to be stagnant or digress.
…however, if it is! I’ve got some sure-fire ways to do that so, maybe that’ll be a list for another day!
Until then, I hope this list has provided you with something you can relate to and that these tips will help you feel motivated whilst embracing the new.
If you have any great ways to deal with change–feel free to let me know!