When I think about my typical day, I can identify several transitions or moments of change. First, I shift from sleep into awake mode; then, I leave the house and commute to work. Between each student, there’s a transition. Later, I leave work and drive to a coffee shop, barre, or yoga studio. This is followed by client sessions; again, I transition between each one. Lastly, I return home, finish work and prepare for rest again.
Now this is just a snapshot of a day. A typical day. Perhaps even an “easy” day—one during which everything flows smoothly—often there’s traffic, a client runs late or a meeting is cancelled. Thus, the transitions may be quick, chaotic, or unexpected.
Take a moment to consider the transitions, or shifts in location/energy/focus you experience in a typical day. Grab a paper and pen and list them!
Wow, right?! There are so many! Now is a good time to honor yourself for navigating this many changes. Perhaps you can sense your resilience or strength just acknowledging the way you carry on through each day, from place to place and role to role.
Our lives are a collage of transitions. Through each one we connect with different people and different energies, focusing on different tasks, goals and objectives. And, yet, we are here: living.
The Big and Little Transitions
If you found several transitions in your ordinary day, imagine the transitions—big and small—you make each month, each year. Where have you traveled? Are your kids on different school schedules? Have you hosted visitors recently? Have you moved homes or cities? Perhaps you’ve faced family illness or the loss of a loved one? Maybe you’ve celebrated pregnancy or the birth of a new baby?
Each of these shifts impacts you and the loved ones that surround you. While some transitions bring excitement and joy, others can be heavy and dark. Regardless, all transitions require you to adapt and adjust. Each transition has the potential to bring stress and energy drain. Furthermore, when one member of the family “flips their lid,” others will feel the stress and likely become dysregulated too. Thus, it’s important to recognize transitions and begin to name the impact they have—or have had.
Consider the last month. What transitions have you experienced? For each one, is there a certain sensation or emotion that comes to mind? Can you feel the impact of this transition somewhere in your body?
Next, consider the last year. Again, what transitions have you experienced? As you reflect, notice and name the feelings that arise and are associated with each one.
The Key to Smooth Transitions
Slow down. That’s all I’ve got for you.
Okay, I’ll say more, but really, slowing down will change everything. What if you give yourself 10 extra minutes for the drive to school? What if you take the day off work after your next vacation? What if you give your house guests a boundary of 2 days? What if you stop seeing an evening client that requires you to drive during traffic time?
Extra time and space will give you more energy for the transitions. When you slow down, you will be more likely to think through the challenges with clarity. All of the tools and strategies you’ve learned from therapy and books will be more readily accessible when you slow down. Additionally, you’ll make choices with less anxiety and more confidence. When you choose to operate at a slower, steadier pace, you will be able to recognize the signs your body is giving you. You’ll know when you are feeling drained, and you will be able to reach out to your support system.
I invite you to review the transitions you make in your ordinary day.
Where can you add a buffer of time and space? Where can you slow down? And as you account for this slower pace, what can you eliminate?
Use these same questions to reflect on the ways you can support yourself and your family through big transitions, too.
Edited by Nikki Newman Sobhani
Image by Heather Gallagher