You may have heard the term ‘life transition’ but don’t really know what it means. Maybe someone has told you that life transitions can have a negative impact on mental health if you become too overwhelmed during one. But what are life transitions, and how do you cope with them?
What are Life Transitions?
According to the folk at Psych Blossom (https://psychblossom.com), a life transition is a period in a person’s life where they will experience a major change. While some people sail through these changes with no issues at all, others will struggle to cope and may find it hard to adjust. Their inability to adjust to the major changes can make them feel distressed.
Expected changes might be a bit easier to deal with (although they can still be overwhelming for some), but for many it is the unexpected changes that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
A life transition could include the following:
- starting a new school
- leaving university
- starting a new job
- losing a job
- getting married
- becoming a parent
- reaching a significant age milestone
- developing an illness
- becoming disabled
- losing a loved one
Why Do Life Transitions Affect Mental Health
There are several reasons life transitions can have a negative impact on mental health. Some people simply do not like change and find it hard to deal with it, even if that change is perceived to be a good one. For example, even if a person is moving from one job to a better paid one with improved working conditions, the actual move can be stressful as they need to get used to doing new things and meeting new people.
The stress associated with a major change can come and go for most people but for some, it continues for longer than expected. This can then have a negative impact on not only their mental health but also their emotions and physical health.
How to Cope with Life Transitions
When you know you are facing a life transition, it can be easier to take steps to manage what is coming. For example, you will be aware that you are coming up to the age of 40, or that you are changing to a new job.
When a change is coming, you should be ready to face any oncoming stress or overwhelming feelings. Remember, these feelings are natural. If you expect a big change in your life to come and go without any impact, then you might feel frustrated when it does not pass you by with little effect. Be realistic about what the change might mean for you and your everyday life.
Getting into a routine coming up to and during the transition might make it easier to manage. For example, go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning as this will help you to sleep better and feel more relaxed. You could also try meditation when you wake or before you get into bed at night. Some people like to go for a walk to help them chill out and unwind.
If you are finding it really hard to deal with a major transition, try talking to someone about it. Bottling up your feelings can only make them worse, which can then have a negative impact on your mental health.
In conclusion, life transitions are big changes that occur in our lives from time to time. They may be expected, or they can creep up on us. These changes can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, but if you take steps to deal with them, they can have less of an impact.