As Bowie Said, "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes" ...

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COPING WITH TRANSITIONS

By Giovanni Perissinotti MSW, RSW

Windsor Family Health Team

One of the biggest transitions is leaving school.

After having been in school since pre-kindergarten until now, this can be a scary time knowing you may be done with school and starting your life. Whether you are going into a career for the first time, or looking for what is next to come, you are transitioning into new and unfamiliar territory.

Even if you are going back to school in the fall, this time of year signals a change in your life when school is no longer your main daily obligation.

Noticing the occurrence of this change and transition may cause mixed feelings – and this is normal. You may be experiencing the start of a new chapter, and the loss of an old one.

Change is good, and coping with change allows you to grow and prepare for the many changes that will occur in your future.

A key aspect to transition – and coping with it – is to recognize what you are feeling.

If you have feelings of sadness or anxiety about transitioning, this, again, is normal. The key is to recognize that you are making the right decision on progressing in your life. What comes next is up to you.

Communicating with friends and family during transitions is another key aspect of coping with change. Taking your experience of what you are feeling and planning, and using words with friends and family can help you plan and elicit support. When speaking to friends and family, ensure that you mention that you are still planning and sorting out your feelings, and that you may have some ideas that may sound extreme to them. Constructive feedback from friends and family is important, as they may see holes in your plan or areas that need tweaking.

Reflecting on your previous journey is a great way to help with transitions and coping with change. This allows you to see what you have learned, and the mistakes you may have experienced that allowed you to grow into the person you are today. Using this information in the present – whether your are leaving school, a relationship, a job, a house etc. – reflection can allow you to gain insight in your transition that may make it easier to seek new beginnings in those areas.

One of the most important aspects of adjusting to your new adventure and situation is time. You may compare your new situation to what you had in the past, and have those feelings of unfamiliarity, and you just want to be back to what you had. This is normal. However, sticking through the initial adjusting period is essential to moving forward, and will allow you to grow and train yourself to seek new opportunities in the future.

Life is constantly changing, and transitions will occur. This is how we as individuals grow and develop the ability to accept new challenges in the future. Practicing for these life stages will make it easier the next time you enter a transition period in any aspect of your life.