The end of summer signals a time of transition. Just as I always looked forward to returning to school, driven by a love of learning, I also recognized the undercurrent of anxiety that accompanied each transition–the unease of venturing into the realm of the unknown.
It’s hard to identify anyone not facing a transition these days. I know people moving to new towns, embarking on fresh educational journeys, stepping into novel professional roles, and embracing entirely new life chapters in retirement.
Transitions, no matter how necessary or positive, demand our energy. As we let go of the familiar, we are like beginners again, grappling with uncertainty and often wrestling with a sense of isolation. In our collective experience, the pandemic challenged us to brave the unknown, a feat we accomplished by leaning on our skills and nurturing practices that anchor us.
An essential initial step is to observe our inner narrative. Are you telling yourself that you won’t be successful? Or are you reminding yourself of past transitions, acknowledging their difficulty while recognizing your ability to navigate and ultimately thrive?
As emotions surge, extend a gentle hand of empathy to yourself. It’s okay to feel afraid, lonely, uncertain, and unsettled. Be with these emotions by naming them and fully experiencing them. Normalize the range of emotions. Notice your impulse to distract yourself, isolate, or blame others. While it can be challenging, reaching out to a friend or colleague and receiving empathy and support from others is helpful. Most who are experiencing a transition have mixed feelings. Sharing your journey, with its uncertainties and vulnerabilities, invites a reciprocal flow of empathy and support. Remember, you are not alone in this.
Take care of yourself. Be sure to fuel your body with nourishing sustenance, ensure enough sleep, and find solace in exercise and the outdoors. Nature has a way of grounding us. Whether it’s a yoga class, a walk in the park, or diving into a captivating book or enlightening podcast, these moments of self-attunement are essential.
Accept that you will need to build new habits and practices. You will need to find your way. Allow yourself to trust that you will benefit from this change and that you are making the muscle for future transitions. Each transition is akin to strengthening a power that will serve you well in future journeys, which will inevitably grace your life’s unfolding narrative. It’s part of our life journey of learning and growing.
Remember to take care of yourself amid the ebb and flow of life. What kind of transition are you navigating? I hope your journey is enriched with an open heart and unwavering spirit.