Transitions are a natural part of life. Transitions signify movement and change in our lives – a passage from one state to another. As we experience the natural transitions of the season of Fall, we are also experiencing major transitions in our lives as the result of the COVID–19 pandemic. The transitions of the Fall season include the culmination of the growing season, harvesting and giving thanks for the bounty. It is also about letting go and releasing as symbolized by the trees releasing their leaves. These transitions challenge us to release all the limitations, behaviors and patterns of the past that no longer serve us.
Even though we have experience managing seasonal transitions, this Fall requires us to navigate greater and more complex issues. In addition to the familiar transitions of the change of seasons, like going back to school, ending summer vacations, change in the weather or daylight savings time change, we are also faced with managing the transitions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the reopening of some restaurants, schools, gyms and stores, we are learning to navigate how to implement new systems for protection and care. We are moving from our COVID-19 life of quarantine to a new world that is still evolving and fraught with uncertainty and confusion. We are going through unprecedented times that are affecting our personal lives, our mindful loving relationships and our relationships with family, friends and work collogues. We have no past experience or blueprint to guide us through this unprecedented transition in our lives. We need to rely on our love, creativity, grit and resilience to help us.
There is a natural imbalance every time we experience a change or transition before we restabilize. Think about the tightrope walker who must rebalance with every step he takes to move forward or the wobbly imbalance you feel as you walk across a creek, carefully rebalancing as you step from one rock to the next. In order to move forward, there will always be a period of imbalance. This imbalance can be stressful and if not managed, can create chaos and crisis in our lives. Similar to the tightrope walker who falls, or if you lose your footing crossing the creek and slip into the cold water, the consequences of losing balance can have negative or unsettling consequences. Being mindful helps us better manage the stress of transitions. When we take time to recognize the moments of imbalance, accept them, and prepare for the natural process of transition and change, we are better able to move forward through our transitions.
Healthy transitions of the Fall and managing the COVID-19 Pandemic require us to engage in self-care. Managing transitions successfully means we need to focus on what we want to nourish and what we want to release. Self-care can include activities like as taking a few minutes to breathe, going outside and be in nature, taking a bath or shower, resting, calling a friend, meditating, exercising or reading a good book. Self-care helps us recharge our batteries, release stress and feel renewed. By practicing regular self-care, we are able to enhance our resilience, creativity, problem-solving abilities and feel more empowered to face the next challenge or opportunity in our lives. What are your practices of self-care?
A loving practice of self-care provides a strong foundation to manage the transitions of this time. In addition to self-care, there are 4 Steps that are helpful in moving through transitions with clarity, purpose and love.
Steps to Help Manage Transitions
- Recognize and make an honest assessment of what you are experiencing. Identify what you are ready to let go of and what you want to strengthen and nourish.
Honest self-examination gives you insight and the ability to make healthy choices. Being self-reflective enables you to go inward to identify and accept all the feelings you are having. Listen from your heart to what you are feeling. You may feel anxiety, excitement, grief, fear, resistance or hopelessness. Think about the impact of the transitions and changes you are experiencing in your life and in your mindful loving relationship.
- Identify what are your thoughts and judgements about your feelings and assessment.
You have a choice about what you think. You can replace old unhealthy thoughts with thoughts that are more true and healthier. This requires you to take personal responsibility for how you are thinking and make a decision to change your thoughts. Reorganizing, changing and restructuring your thinking helps you manage transitions more effectively.
- Make a plan for the changes you want to make for this next transition your life and in your mindful loving relationship.
Identify what you want or need to enhance your life as you navigate this time of transition. Is it more time for self-care activities, more exercise, healthier nutrition, less time on devices, more time with your partner? Write down 3 to 5 things you want to release and 3 to 5 things you want to change to enrich your life.
- Have a “Big Talk” conversation with your partner and share your thoughts and feelings.
It is natural to experience a variety of different and even conflicting feelings when we go through these transitions. As you share your thoughts and feelings about what you want to change, recognize the similar and conflicting thoughts and feelings that you and partner may have. Share your plans and create a joint plan for your mindful loving relationship as you move through this period of transition. Write them down so you can begin to create a plan to manage the transition and move forward together.
Staying open to natural changes in our lives and in our relationships helps us make transitions with greater ease. Healthy and loving transition demand that we become more active and responsible for creating a new direction in our lives and in our relationships. Transitions are inevitable. It is how we handle them that is most important.