Change and Life Transitions: Adjusting to Change

Often life's transitions involve losses, such as a death, a big move, the loss of a job, or a relationship ending or progress.


10/23/20222 min read

Change is the only constant in life and we will all face a myriad of changes and transitions throughout our life. Life changes can be exciting and planned or sudden and unexpected. Adjusting to change can be difficult, even positive life transitions can cause stress and impact day-to-day life.

Difficult life transitions can include a new job, starting university/education, relationship changes, becoming a parent, moving to a new area or country or illness/ or chronic health issues.

Change can cause stress and therefore affect day-to-day life. A person facing a big change might, for example, experience anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, fatigue or unhealthy coping methods such as excessive alcohol or drug use.

Signs and symptoms someone is not coping well with change

  • feeling like they can’t cope, either with a specific problem or task or just in general

  • constantly feeling under pressure or that they are being weighed down by others

  • feeling lost and unsure of themselves

  • feeling anxious, irritable, moody or upset much of the time

  • exhaustion

  • not wanting to engage in social activities or attend school

  • difficulty sleeping or restless sleep

Tips for dealing with transitions

  • Prepare (when you can). When possible, try to prepare for your transition. This may involve outlining a plan for the logistics of your transition — or just setting a helpful mindset.

  • Set reasonable expectations. Unmet expectations can create frustration or stress. If you expect that navigating a transition will just be “a breeze,” and it doesn’t work out that way, you may find yourself feeling disappointed. Instead, try to set the reasonable expectation that you will likely feel stressed and overwhelmed at times. It’s also helpful to remember that feeling stressed during transitions is completely normal!

  • Develop a routine. A routine can help you adjust to change. Consider creating morning and evening routines to facilitate a sense of consistency. Regular sleep and wake times, a daily walk, meditation, or intention-setting for the day can be great additions to your routine.

  • Check your self-talk. What types of things are you saying to yourself? Are these internal comments helping you cope with this transition or making the transition more challenging? One way to develop helpful self-talk is to recall transitions (or other difficult situations) you’ve successfully coped with before; they can be a reminder that you can manage this too!

  • Set small goals. Instead of trying to fully resolve everything related to your transition, set small feasible goals to take on one at a time. Ask yourself, “What is one small thing I can do right now?” This may include things like contacting a broker about a new apartment, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or responding to a text from a friend.

  • Stay connected. Social support is critical during times of transition. Chatting with a family member or friend can be a way to help your transition feel less lonely.

Change and Life Transitions: Adjusting to Change
Change and Life Transitions: Adjusting to Change

Therapy can help support people with life’s curve balls, the hard times and the tough stuff so you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re feeling like you are stuck in a rut, as though you can’t catch a break or maybe that it’s all a bit too much, then we’re here to listen. Book an appointment or reach out today to find out more about how we can help you get back on track.

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