Transition can impact various parts of our lives today and means different things to different people. To some transition is a change in career path while others may see transition as an opportunity to make changes to their life or improve upon skills. Whatever the reason for transition, it is important to take the process seriously through the journey.
Some clients tell me transition has had a significant impact on their mental wellbeing which was unforeseen at the start. After all, no one plans to be in transition and therefore never thinks about the emotional toll it can take on the psyche. Typical comments range on topic, but common themes are how to manage the feeling that time seems to drag daily, how to deal with the feelings of loss and embarrassment for not having a job, or how to regain an identity the job provided?
First, let me say that being in transition is not something to be embarrassed about or any reason to feel less of a contributing person to society. We all have ebbs and flows in our lifetime and job transition is just one of those situations. I hope the following is helpful for coping with negative feelings and assists in putting the most positive foot forward.
Let’s talk about dealing with the feelings of embarrassment. We must ask from where are these feelings originating? Are they coming from internal or external sources? If feelings are being radiated from an outside source, then you need to get away from the source or put up a barrier that will protect you from the negativity. If family is the source, you will need to have the important conversation in which you tell the person(s) how this behavior is making you feel then ask them to stop. You should explain how this journey is affecting you, the feelings, the desires, the action plans begin taken as an educational bridge to understanding. Of all the issues discussed, this is probably the most difficult to work through when family is less supportive, so it is understandable if this action is hard to perform.
If the feelings are coming from internally, then let’s think about why you feel this way. Just saying, “Oh don’t feel that way”, is not fixing the issues. The more you understand the “Why” the better you will be able to turn these feelings around. Do some research on how many people are in transition if you think you are by yourself in this journey. Think about how you can turn these feelings into actions for the good of another. Do a deeper dive into why this journey is embarrassing to you. We can’t solve every issue in this article, but with careful review of your internal voice and call to action perhaps you will be able to make the time in the journey feeling productive again.
Next, let’s talk about how time can drag. The only fix for this is to get out, be active and develop connections of significance. Ideas are dependent upon what makes you tick, your values, your purpose in life and what is enjoyable. Ideas may include volunteering in an area of interest, going to class to develop a skill you always wanted to learn, being the parent that helps coach your kids sports team or brings the kids lunch on a Tuesday. This is your opportunity to do some of those things you always wanted to do, but had no time. You now have the time so make the most of it as your transition journey really is short in the long scheme of life. As you build in activity keep in mind that your identity can be connected to these actions. For example, you become the coach, you become the “Parent” for the class, you are the “problem solver”, you are a student again.
Activity is not a trick, but a magnificent way to create meaning in life again, help cope with the feelings of embarrassment and may provide an identify again. With a deep dive into the “Why” of feelings, understanding the sources and taking steps to combat the negativity, we can feel better and journey through transition in a mentally healthy manner.