Change is a constant part of life. You know this but you’re not the biggest fan of change. Who is? Change can be exciting and some people thrive on new opportunities. But most of us fear the uncertainty change brings. And there’s nothing more unnerving than the major transitions in life we all know are coming.
Change can happen unexpectedly or it can happen with a nudge from us. A new job in a new city. A baby on the way. Empty nesters looking to downsize. Elderly parents needing to move into a safer environment. The list of major transitions in life goes on and on.
Today I’m sharing six tips on how to prepare you and your loved ones for life changes. Whether you’re in the middle of one or not, it’s better to be prepared, don’t you think? Even if a big change isn’t on the horizon for you, there will come a day when it is.
It’s hard to know when certain changes will occur. So how can you properly prepare for it? The truth is, you won’t know what you need until the change is already happening. However, you can create a preliminary plan of attack now and adjust it later.
What do I mean by plan of attack? I mean getting as many of your eggs in a basket as possible. Do you have aging parents? Are they finding it difficult to live safely in their present home? Does the home need some repairs if they plan on staying there?
Many seniors prefer to stay in their home because it’s familiar and comfortable. But safety is a big concern for most adult children. These homes were not designed with senior citizens in mind. Start researching companies that specialize in reconstructing homes for seniors. This can include:
Having as much information at your fingertips when the time comes will lessen the stress. Keep all your findings in a folder on your computer or printed out in a binder. Store it somewhere that’s easily accessible so when it’s time you can refer to it right away.
When preparing for these transitions the most important thing is to set realistic expectations. Accept that you’re not going to have everything ready because there will be unexpected setbacks. That’s why I recommend taking things slow when actually working through the transition.
Moving is a major life change for anyone. Whether you’re moving to a different home in the same area or moving to another state entirely, it takes a toll on us. Realistic expectations you can set when moving include:
Understand that moving requires you to take it slow. Adjust routines and make a plan for how long you want to unpack for each day. Especially if you have kids. Moving will be hard for them as it will be for you. So take care to check in on them.
Having a support system is so important when dealing with major transitions in life. But don’t think this support system is limited to your family. If you live far away from your immediate family chances are you’ve made friends that you consider family. This is the time to lean on them now more than ever.
When seeking support for change, be open and honest. Explain to them your concerns, your fears, and your worries. Listen to their advice. You don’t have to follow it but listen. The people in your supportive circle want the best for you. They’re going to share the advice they think is best.
Don’t be afraid to turn to them whenever things get too hard. Consider scheduling regular check-in times or send a message at the end of each day with an update. Whatever you do, keep them posted. I know you’re dealing with a lot, but don’t leave your support system in the dark.
Taking time to adjust to whatever life transition you’re going through is so often skipped. Which doesn’t do well for your mental health. Once you’ve made it through the big parts of the transition, now is the time to take a step back and breathe.
How much time should you give yourself to adjust? However much time you need. Don’t rush this step. Don’t stop living your life, but do your best to schedule a few minutes each day for yourself. Simply sit down somewhere and reflect on this big change. Journal your thoughts if you have to.
Taking time to address your feelings and adjusting is vital to getting through this time. Call a friend in your support system. Go for a walk. That is a great way to explore a new town. Allow yourself a good cry if you need to. Whatever you do, give yourself the necessary time to adjust.
Depending on the transition you’re going through, I’m sure you’ve had plenty of negative thoughts. You might be mad that this is happening to you. Scared of what waits on the other side of this change. These feelings and knee-jerk reactions are normal.
But once you’ve had a day or two to wallow in the uncertainty of what’s to come, it’s time to shift your mindset. When we look at things in a positive light we’re more willing to accept them. Not to mention you’ll be putting less stress on yourself.
A positive and proactive mindset during major transitions in life is something only you can control. If you continue to fight against the change you’re not going to be doing yourself and those helping you any favors. And the less involved you are in preparing for this change, the more you’ll resent it.
So have your few days of sadness and tears. Again, it’s totally normal. But then get yourself pumped. This change could be a great thing. The more positive you are, the better your chance of finding something new and exciting on the other side.
It’s hard to fight change and yet that’s one thing we all tend to do. Even if we claim to love change, the uncertainty still holds us back a little. But the beautiful thing about change is that it helps us grow.
The growth you experience may be small, but it’s no less impactful. This is why journaling during major life transitions is a good practice to start. It allows you to go back and revisit your roller coaster of emotions during this time. It’ll also help you notice those moments of growth you might have otherwise missed.
Once you’re settled in this new way of life, take some time to sit and reflect. Ask yourself:
When you focus on the good aspects of change, the faster you’ll appreciate it. And the faster you’ll be able to start living your life again. Yes, it’ll be different, but it’ll also be full of new opportunities.
Dealing with major transitions in life is never easy. There is so much uncertainty and fear. But there is also excitement and the promise of something new. However you feel about life’s transitions, the best thing you can take away from this post is that you’re not alone. There are tons of resources for you and your loved ones. All it takes is some patience and planning.
I am one of those resources. Two services I offer in the area of life transitions include downsizing and senior moving services. Don’t wait until the last minute to find help. Contact me today and let’s make a plan to prepare everyone for this upcoming change.
Photo: Gert Stockmans
September 16, 2021