transitioning to new environments

As we transition into a new season, many people are going through other kinds of transitions as well. For students, it's either the end of a school year, or graduation time. One of the two statistical "peak break up seasons" is in early spring (the other is just before the winter holidays), so there are many folks out there transitioning out of a relationship or into a new one. Maybe you're starting a new job, or a new project. This can be a period of time that feels really groundless and scary! 

Why are transitions like these so unsettling? According to play therapist Lisa Dion (Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity, 2018), there are four main threats to the nervous system. These are: 

1) Physical pain

2) The unknown

3) Incongruence in the environment

4) "Shoulds" and unrealistic expectations

When you consider that transitions to a new environment will always include an element of the unknown, and for many people, they bring in "shoulds" and unrealistic expectations as well... it's no wonder transitions are uncomfortable! When you also factor in getting used to new routines, maybe losing old support systems, and navigating new relationships, it seems realistic to just expect these times to come with some increased anxiety. 

How can you be gentle to yourself during tough transitions? When you notice your discomfort, anxiety, fear, whatever feeling is there, just let it exist! Give it some space and time. Try not to sweep it under the rug, ignore, distract, or talk yourself out of it. Just like you might for a small child, reassure yourself that what you're feeling is okay, and makes sense. Remember that while transitions are challenging, they're also transient. It's a fertile time for growth! If you're looking for some support in a time of transition, please feel free to check out our team at Connections Counseling to see if there's a therapist that feels like a good fit for you!

Stacy Sheridan