“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” -Marilyn Monroe
Transitions are a constant theme in our lives whether this is a change of home, work, career, travel plans, health, friends or personal and professional relationships. Over the last year since the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown, we have all experienced transitions that we didn’t think we would go through in our life time. Transitioning to new routines whether that is educating children at home, having home as work office and home, social isolation, waiting in the pouring rain to get into shops, having longer hair than ever before, getting through health concerns and of course for many, loss and grief at a myriad of levels. All these transitions have an impact on our emotions and our coping abilities. Some transitions are full of joy and excitement, whilst others can feel disorienting, disruptive and painful.
Our new routines have been in place for a year now and that is a long time to get used to them. A change is now on the horizon as lockdown restrictions start to lift and we begin to raise our hopes to experience some of the joys in our lives that we have truly missed. This brings us to a time of another transition. The following areas tend to be disrupted when we go through transitions: Routines, Roles, Reactions, Relationships and Reflections about ourselves. This article will look at the last area – Reflections about ourselves and suggest some strategies that you could try in order embrace rather than fight transitions.
When the trees lose their leaves and look bare and barren, a different type of positivity arises as there is more visibility beyond the trees. Suddenly huge expanses of fields come back into view again; the gardens, cottages, houses and sky beyond the dense foliage appear again. Just as the transition of seasons and nature give us more visibility, we can use this time to be introspective by reflecting about ourselves and gaining better insight into who we really are, how we really think, what strengths and resources we have and how we can behave when we rely on our inner resources.
Reflection about ourselves is a process that involves thinking and emotionally exploring our experiences in order to sort through them and make sense of them. It provides people with an opportunity to arrive at new interpretations of a situation or experience whilst allowing time to reinforce current thinking and emotions. It can be a challenging process, especially if we try to seek honesty within ourselves rather than fabricate a story that justifies our point of view, or seek to accuse or blame others for our own ways. If we really allow ourselves to engage with this process, it can help to make our values more pronounced as we discover what is important for our own wellbeing and for those that we care about including our family, friends, work colleagues and members of our community.
Reflecting on our own behaviours can lead to changes in the way we think and behave and this can lead to new habits, new gestures and new and constructive ways of dealing with transitions. Try some of the suggestions below and see what changes your notice within yourself and ask people you respect and admire, what changes they see in you.
Reflect on the past year and how your surroundings, routines or daily patterns were disrupted. Can you identify how you have got through that time and how your emotional equilibrium returned once you settled into your new situation?
What strengths did you use?
What did you learn about yourself as a result of dealing with the lockdown transitions? Remind yourself that you have dealt with many transitions before and that you have the resources to deal with the new ones from April 2021.
If you decided to make a change, remind yourself why you made the decision. With any change, even if self-imposed, there can be mixed feelings and it is normal to doubt oneself. If you experience this, ask yourself the reasons why you needed a change and make a list so that you can keep your reasons at the forefront of your mind.
So many changes have had to be imposed on us over the last year so it may be helpful to sit down with someone you really value and appreciate in your life and make a list of all your strengths that you have found over the year and how you are going to use these to deal with future transitions. This will help to improve your confidence in dealing with the changes.
Also, make a list of all the possible opportunities that may arise as a result of this change. Make sure you stay connected to trusted friends and family, however hard this might feel. Sharing your fears, concerns, and doubts with people you feel close to and trust can be a huge source of strength and comfort while going through changes.
Think about the changes your friends and family have made. How does it affect you? Could you learn something from them which could help you come to terms and accept the changes you might have to put in place.
Think about the changes made in your community and in your town. You too will be affected, sometimes positively and sometimes not so much depending on your individual lifestyle. It may help you feel more grateful for your situation when you realise that everyone is going through the same process.
Remind yourself that it is normal to feel some degree of uncertainty, fear, doubt and discomfort while going through any change even if it is returning to our old routines and rituals. Eventually, equilibrium will be reached again to enable you to be in a good place.
Dr Sima Patel Chartered Psychologist / Therapist / Coaching Consultant
36a Duke Street | Brighton | BN1 1AG Telephone: 01273 803 013 Email: email@example.com Website: www.thewellbeingpractice.co.uk
In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance
– Jeanette Winterson, The World and other Places.