by Elizabeth Campbell, LPC
“Like a tree, you have to find your roots and then you can bend in the wind,” Angela Farmer.
September is a time when many individuals are transitioning. Kids are starting preschool, transitioning to kindergarten, middle, or high school; young adults start college or a career. Whether it is a change such as these or another transition such as a break-up, divorce, job change, or a move, it impacts us. It can change our support network, routines, and what our day to day life looks like. All of these things impact our mood and our ability to manage stress.
Things that connect us with a sense of predictability and stability can keep us grounded during a transition. Change can make us feel uncomfortable and like the rug was yanked from underneath us. Things that make us feel stable therefore can help to feel like our feet are on the ground again. This may be in the form of creating routine, such as a daily ritual for self-care, to bring stability. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and restorative yoga poses also calm the body and combat the frenetic energy that can come with change while also helping us to feel more grounded. Giving a sense of predictability can especially be important for children going through changes. Letting them know what to expect (ie. visiting a classroom beforehand, telling them the process of school drop off) can help them have appropriate expectations. Providing predictability can also come in the form of maintaining consistency in areas that aren’t changing. Finally, I cannot state enough how important some form of nurturing self-care is at this time, notably in taking care of our bodies through sleep and healthy eating. Often we step away from the ways in which we care for ourselves when stress of change takes over. This is one of the most important times to rely on self-care.
One difficulty that can occur during transitions is that we may hold on so tightly to the way things were that we are unable to enjoy the benefits of the change. Shifting our focus to being flexible in our expectations can help us to connect more into the present. We also often do not show compassion to ourselves during transitions. Change, whether positive or negative, can universally be difficult. Expecting no impact on our system and becoming angry or disappointed in ourselves when it inevitably occurs often breeds more stress. Granting ourselves or our loved ones the flexibility to make mistakes, be irritable, or mourn the loss of what they are leaving behind gives room to bend so we don’t break.
Elizabeth Campbell is a Licensed Profession Counselor who provides empowerment and strength-based support to individuals in personal growth and change. She specializes in play therapy with children, family therapy, creative counseling for adolescents, and trauma-informed treatment for all ages using an integrative, mindful approach to address the whole individual and promote healing. If you would like to connect with Elizabeth, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-757-8163 or learn more at www.elizabethcampbellcounseling.com