Counsellor Kate Ashley, from our Bristol centres, offers a gentle guide to supporting yourself during times of transition...
The one constant in life might be change, but navigating this can be incredibly disruptive. If you’re facing a difficult transition at the moment, here are three things to consider that may help you when coping with change:
1. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t
Perhaps the biggest reason why change can be so scary is the lack of control. We don’t know how things are going to turn out and our circumstances may seem entirely outside of our influence, which can lead to a great deal of anxiety and worry.
In every situation, no matter how challenging, there are elements that we do have control over. These might include how we process our feelings about the transition, what support we can choose to access, and the part we play in any relationships involved.
Focusing on these things can give you back a sense of agency and allow you to plan how you might react to different possible outcomes of the change.
2. Look after yourself
One key element that is within your control is how you treat yourself while you’re going through change.
Bring it back to basics and see if you can make sure that you’re getting adequate rest, nutrition, and movement. Keep it gentle as these self-care tasks may take much more energy than usual. Can you speak to a friend or loved one? Wash your face, or get outside, even if it’s just for five minutes?
Imagining how you’d look after a child or pet can give you a bit of distance and motivation to more easily look after yourself, and to give yourself the compassion that you deserve.
3. Measure your progress
When we’re undertaking a big change, it can be easy to lose the woods for the trees. Try to check in with yourself, or a friend, on a regular basis to look back at how far you’ve already come.
Celebrating small milestones can boost your well-being and ensure that you recognize the progress that you are making, however slow or painful it may feel in the moment.
We can’t live a life free from all change, but we can control the little things that may make these transitions a little softer, and easier to bear. As you build your resilience, you might even come to see change as equally exciting and challenging – that’s something that therapy can help you to develop.