Major Life Transitions – What They Are and How to Manage Them

Posted On Sep 06, 2021 |

Life regularly involves change and transitions which can be quite disconcerting and even challenging at times.

Life regularly requires you to be able to shift from one situation, relationship, or career to another. These shifts, or transitions, can be quite disconcerting and even challenging at times, especially when we don’t expect them or struggle to adapt to the change. 

Transitions come in all shapes and sizes, minor and major. More often than not, the external change is what ignites the internal transition. 

Common Major Life Transitions

Becoming more familiar with common adult life transitions (and more or less when they happen) will help you be proactive when it comes to managing your own transitions. Consider these situations that are filled with changes:

  • Moving your residence. Leaving a home you’ve lived in for years can trigger many feelings of sadness, loss, and even grief. When moving abroad, the change can also come with an existential crisis as we begin to contemplate our new identity in a foreign country.

  • Getting married. Deciding to permanently share your life and residence with another person is quite a shift in your life and the style in which you live it. Thus can cause a lot of change and perhaps turmoil at first, even though you’re happy with your decision to wed and move in together.

  • Having your first baby. Becoming responsible for another life is one of the most awesome, life-changing events you’ll ever experience. With that comes the new roles of ‘mother/parent/care-taker’ and loss of previous roles when we were childless.

  • Experiencing a divorce. The termination of a relationship that you thought would last all your life leads to an obvious period of change and turbulence. Divorce can be both a positive or negative experience with a deep sense of grief and loss that comes with the ending of a union.

  • Obtaining a new job. Leaving co-workers, supervisors, and surroundings you’ve grown accustomed to can bring great changes to your life.Whilst you’ll also want to adapt to the new environment, role and life around your new job.

  • Switching careers. Changing from one type of work to another is a monumental life-changing event for most people. Often career changes come with an identity shift as we leave careers behind that no longer suit us & begin a new journey in another field.

  • Losing a parent through death. Losing one of the people you’ve been closest to all your life will trigger many feelings. You might even look at your own existence much differently once a parent passes.

  • Coping with your best friend moving away. If you’ve been close to a person for many years and weathered other transitions with their help, it can be quite challenging to face the fact that they won’t be that close anymore.

Common Minor Life Transitions

  • Change in coworkers at your job. New colleagues in the office can change the dynamic and culture and adapting to this new environment could require some growth and reflection on your side that you did not plan on.
  • Starting a new form of exercise or diet. When something may not be working, like the exercise you’re doing is too hard on your joints, then you might decide to change things up abit.
  • Starting a new hobby. Learning something new is always challenging, and often not only grows our skills but who we are as people as well.
  • Redecorating your home office. They say change is as good as a holiday ;) - and redecorating is a small change that can provide increased motivation and creativity.

How to Manage Your Life Transitions

As you can see, some of these transitions occur spontaneously and without much warning. Others are, for the most part, orchestrated by you.

If you’re aware of upcoming transitions you’ll be experiencing, you’ll be in a better position to prepare for it. Applying helpful strategies will then help you manage the shifts more effectively.

Below are some ideas on how you can successfully manage your life transitions:

  1. Plan ahead. When you’re thinking about doing something that will trigger a transition in your life, plan it at a time when you expect other areas of your life to be relatively calm. You have the ability to schedule some of your life transitions.

  2. Space your transitions, if possible. For example, if you’ve just taken a new job in town, it may not be the time to move your residence. Give yourself a year to adjust to the new position before you start looking for a new house. It’s wise to allow some time to get used to one new situation before beginning another. The transition process takes time for adjustment.

  3. Continue with regular routines. Throughout the time of transition, stick with as many of your routines as possible. Routines can bring structure and a certain comfort to your life whenever there’s turbulence from a transition. By doing the things that you are used to, you will remain calmer, more mindful and secure in certain areas.

  4. Give yourself some “down time.” Because transitions often trigger feelings of stress, it’s important to allow yourself plenty of breaks for rest and relaxation. Taking part in your favorite hobbies or just hanging out around the house can give you time to recharge and help you deal with the current transition. By spending some time alone, you can work through the inner and outer changes taking place.

  5. Reach out to others for support. Recognize that everyone, without exception, lives through transitions. Therefore, you can turn to others to hear their stories of how they got through such changes. Finding support and community through emotional transitions can help you not to feel alone and isolated.

Major life transitions can be successfully managed if you apply the information above. Having a coach to support you through these tough times can make all the difference. If you’re exploring that option, here are 10 great questions to ask yourself before hiring a coach.

Knowing about common minor & major life transitions, planning ahead, spacing transitions, and continuing your routines are effective ways to cope. Also, taking rest breaks and asking others for support will provide you with what you need to face and deal successfully with whatever transitions life brings.

Check out the Resources

Categories: Change & Transition