Summer brings a time of transition to everyone. Kids are out of school, parents often adjust work schedules to accommodate kids being out of school, and the days are longer. It all sounds great, right? Somehow, many of us, myself included, are terrified by any change in our routines. What do kids do with all of their extra time during the summer? How do parents fit in time with kids, vacations and working? Even the longer days may cause stress because of the pressure we put on ourselves to capitalize on every single second of sunlight. So, what do we do? We manage.
As I think about the beginning of this summer, I can’t help but think about how transitions affect our daily lives.
Transitions are all around us. A few years ago I could not bring myself to get off the sofa and brush my teeth so I could go to bed. At this moment I realized I desperately wanted to go to bed, but the transition from the living room to my bedroom seemed overwhelming. The next morning I realized that in order to get up I had to transition from my bedroom into the bathroom to get in the shower. Then, I was going to have to transition out the door and into the car to go to work. Even transitioning from work back into my car to get home was a challenge. Could it be that every single thing I do in life is going to require a painful transition? This news was distressing, to say the least. At the time, it just seemed better to stay in bed and not have to face one more transition! Yet, I somehow was able to get up and face the day and have faced almost ever day since. How did I do this? I managed.
This summer I am embarking on the potentially biggest transition in my recent life. I am transitioning from a school-based therapist to a private practice therapist. It sounds exciting, right? Oh no. Terrifying is the word that comes to mind! This is not just my typical job change. It means no more summer schedule. No more school day schedule. No more two-week long holidays in December and no more spring breaks. It also means that I don’t necessarily have to transition from out the door and into my car to drive to work five days a week. I am now at home a lot more and have more flexibility in what and when I eat and how and when I exercise. This has proven stressful for me. So, how am I doing? I am managing.
The bottom line is many of us experience some amount of anxiety during varying transitions of our life. How, exactly, do we manage? I manage by thinking of the positive that lies ahead. If I get up and go to work, I will get to communicate with and help at least one more person today. If I go to bed, I will get the rest I need to go to work and help one more person tomorrow. And my new job? There is so much I have to look forward to in this next chapter of my life! If I don’t transition, I will never know what I am missing; both the good and the bad. So, I manage. I get up. I move on. I change. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to transition, but I try not to ever regret the transitions I make.
So, as you embark on the summer of 2016, and all the transitions (both big and small) that lie ahead, how do you manage? What strategies will you use to help create smooth transitions throughout your journey?