Life is full of ups and downs, messy moments, and amazing experiences. Everyone goes through life changes or transitions. Nancy Schlossberg, a counseling psychology professor at the University of Maryland defines a life transition as “any event, or non-event that results in changed relationships, routines, assumptions, and roles” and that perception plays a key role in an individual defining a change as an event or non-event.
Changes can be good or bad, but they often feel overwhelming or create some anxiety. People experience changes in different ways, and they can be complicated. It’s normal to struggle when adjusting to new circumstances, unfamiliar situations or new roles. Talking to a certified counselor during these times can be really helpful.
Examples of Life Transitions
Life transitions are major shifts in your personal, professional, or social circumstances. They can be positive or negative changes in your life. You may anticipate the changes such as moving to a new city or expecting a baby, or they may not be expected such as losing a job or when someone close to you dies. Some examples of major life challenges are:
- Intimate Partner Relationship Changes – single to partnered, death of a spouse, divorce, exploring different relationship styles, separation, dating someone new, reconciling, moving in together
- Ending a relationship, which could be an intimate partner, a friendship, or a family member
- Moving houses or locations
- Injury, illness, accident, or other health challenges for yourself or a close relationship. Becoming a caregiver.
- Financial challenges or changes
- Changes in job or career – starting a new job, loss of a job or getting fired, unemployment, promotion, retirement, or other workplace stressors
- Death or loss of someone important to you
- Becoming a parent or an empty-nester
- Reaching a significant age or milestone
- Starting post-secondary education or graduating
- Change in personal identity
The Holmes and Rahe Stress Inventory is a tool you can use to help determine the impact of changes in your life. Remember, everyone reacts to situations differently and this is an assessment tool but it is also important to pay attention to how you feel.
How Transformational Counselling Can Help
As you face life changes, it can get tough, especially when dealing with new roles or responsibilities. A therapist provides support and a holistic approach to help navigate emotions and challenges.
Transformational counselling acts as a catalyst for self-discovery and healing. With empathy and actionable strategies, it addresses concerns, fostering lasting change and resilience. With a mental health professional’s support, you can find the potential for growth and thrive through this transformative phase. You may also gain confidence and develop resilience.
Whether adapting to parenthood, relationship changes, or financial challenges, change counselling offers insights, empowerment, and coping strategies. Life transition therapy helps individuals adjust to a new reality in a healthy way.
Coping with Life Changes
Adjusting to new situations can be emotionally and mentally draining. Nearly all change brings grief and loss for what was familiar. Even positive or proactive changes can cause uncertainty and anxiety. Some changes can also disrupt your social connections and support systems.
Change therapy can be important as you navigate change and to provide you with support, stress management, and coping skills. Other things you can consider to cope with life transitions are:
- Practice acceptance of the differences and adjustments. Allow yourself to feel the emotions as they come up and don’t try to stifle them. Try not to judge yourself for what you are feeling as all of your feelings are valid. Grieve the loss of what once was. Be patient with yourself.
- Engage in Self-care. Prioritize activities that foster your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This might include hobbies, meditation, exercise, getting enough sleep, getting together with friends, or eating a healthy diet. Try to avoid excessive alcohol, other substance use, unhealthy shopping, emotional eating, isolation, or other unhealthy coping mechanism.
- Create a routine. Having a consistent pattern can help to create a sense of stability through times of change. Break things down into smaller, manageable steps to help you manage overwhelm or new challenges.
- Celebrate your progress. Every small step you take forward towards your goals is a step worth recognizing and celebrating. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but take time to acknowledge your growth.
- Make preparations in advance. If you know a change is coming, do what you can to prepare yourself in advance. This can include speaking with a clinical counsellor to create a plan.
Talk to a Counsellor in Toronto, London or Online in Ontario Today About Your Life Transition
Book an appointment to speak with one of our therapists for life transition counselling to help you navigate this new phase of your life. We have clinical counsellors in Toronto, London, and online to support you with this and our other counselling services.