Transition periods can be some of the most exciting and most daunting times in your life. When you feel yourself wanting to make a change, you’ve likely outgrown your current position and are ready for something bigger, or at least something different.
That is an amazing part of being human, and you should be proud of yourself for feeling ready to write your next chapter! The simple fact that you’re articulating this to yourself is a sign of self-awareness and an ability to seize the reins and be the creator of your own life.
But that doesn’t make this process easy. Transitions can be scary, because although they provide us the ability to rewrite our narrative, they also come with uncertainty and lack of structure. Opening up the options to infinite possibilities requires us to rise to the occasion, and that is intimidating.
If you’re ready for your next transition, here are some simple tips to keep yourself sane, keep yourself grounded, and help you maintain focus.
Take It Step by Step
“It doesn’t matter if you can see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
When you find yourself in a transition phase, it can feel overwhelming to try to completely build a new part of your life from scratch. If you try to do it all at once or put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed.
Try to keep things in perspective and take it a day at a time. No one opens up a puzzle and puts it together in an instant. You need to focus on one piece at a time and take it slowly while keeping the big picture in mind.
Focus on Yourself
Maybe the most important thing you can do when transitioning is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or stressed out when trying to make big changes in your life, but you need to be in a good mental headspace in order to do so.
Stay active, eat good food, and get enough sleep. Check in with yourself multiple times a day and try not to put yourself under too much pressure. Find things you enjoy and give yourself the time and space to enjoy them. We can’t follow our hearts or our dreams if we are not in touch with them, so self-care even is more important during a transition phase.
Addition By Subtraction
What can you remove from your life? The old adage goes that you should never quit a job until you have a new one lined up, but that doesn’t always work. If you are in a toxic work environment or you’re overburdened, it can be extremely difficult to even get into the right mental headspace in order to figure out your next move.
If you can manage to leave your job and pick up a short-term gig that puts in you a better frame of mind, that can be a big help. Many people use gig economy work like becoming an Uber driver to have flexibility and income while they make a transition. Just by removing the problem area of your life, you are taking a step forward, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like it.
Take a Gap Year
While it may not be possible in the near future given the global health crisis, a gap year has typically proven to be the most fun option for individuals in a period of transition. Gap years aren’t just for college grads; they can be had by anyone at any time. It’s never too late for you to do the things you always wanted to!
There are schools in almost every corner of the globe that will hire you to teach English, an option that can actually make you quite a bit of money and provide lots of free time. It’s also easy to find jobs with organic farms, hostels, or boutique hotels.
It also doesn’t need to be a full year. If you have a little cushion and can spend a few months traveling, stop thinking and just go for it. You’d be amazed at the type of revelations you can have about yourself and what you want to do with your life when you drop everything to live the dream for a few months.
Talk It Out & Journal
No matter what else you are doing with your time, start getting those thoughts and feelings out. Be vocal with friends and loved ones about what you’re thinking, even if you don’t know what exactly you’re going to say. Just talking it out can help you get your thoughts in order, and you may find others who are going through or have been through the same thing, and they can offer solidarity and sometimes advice.
Journaling can have the same effect. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to write about, just start and see where the pen takes you. You might be surprised at what comes out. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help you organize what you’re thinking and get a new perspective. Journaling is a form of therapy in and of itself that can relieve stress and help you become more self-aware.
Read, read, read! Whether you’re trying to transition or not! Many of the most successful people in the world, from Bill Gates to Warren Buffet, carve significant portions out of their schedule – including full weeks out of the year – just to read.
Reading is learning, and learning is growing. It improves our self-image, it improves our mental health, and it can often give us direct insights during a transition period about who we are and who we want to be.
When your heart starts aching for a transition, it means you’re ready for growth. That’s a good thing! You are the master of your own destiny, and you should be proud of yourself for wanting more. It can be difficult, but trust that the right situation is out there waiting for you. If you keep yourself in the right frame of mind and keep searching, there’s nothing that can stop you from finding it.