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How to Manage Seasons of Change

Patrick Nelson, September 18, 2017

How to Manage Seasons of Change

“Every end is a new beginning.” Marianne Williamson

I don’t know about you, but I feel like this summer just flew by. I’m still trying to figure out where July went and now it’s already September. Work, vacations, BBQ’s, fun in the water, kids’ sports, and more work all make the summertime seem to go quickly. For many people, this time of year feels like a natural transition period as the days get shorter, the leaves change colors, and children return to school.

I’m in a transition period myself as I recently began a Master’s Degree program in Organizational Development and am full of anxiety and excitement. Thankfully, the program recognizes the challenges transitions bring and they’ve equipped us with resources to help make it easier. As I utilize these resources, I’m reminded that they are applicable to anyone going through a transition phase in life.

Regardless of the time of year, we all experience transitions, both large and small. The transition may be starting a new job, receiving a promotion, moving, or going back to school. If you’re in the midst of a transition, try these tips to help manage it:

  • Accept your emotions. For many people, transitions in life can cause excitement and joy, as well as anxiety and stress. Recognize and accept that it’s completely normal to feel these emotions. As research has shown, sharing your emotions with family or friends can help decrease the impact of negative emotions and increase positive emotions.
  • Strengthen your connectedness. Our brains naturally crave a sense of relatedness. Spend more time with family or reach out to an old friend. Did you just move for a new job? Volunteer in your new community to start building relationships outside of work.
  • Manage your time. Whether it’s a new promotion or going back to school, our ability to better manage our time plays a key role in our success. Create a list of 3-4 things you need to accomplish every day, stop procrastinating on that one thing you avoid doing and do it first thing in the morning, and set boundaries on who you let control your time.
  • Set goals. My transition back to the classroom includes reading 11 books over the next three months – while working a full-time job. I prepared by starting the readings before the class began and have set a goal of reading one book per week.
  • Have realistic expectations. It would be great to have a 4.0 GPA, continue to succeed at my job, and be the world’s greatest dad. But I have accepted the fact that I may not get an “A” on every paper, might not get as much sleep as I used to, or I might miss out on a few family dinners. You should always give your best effort, but you may need to accept that you might fall short if your expectations are perfection.

Just as we prepare ourselves for when the seasons change, we must also prepare ourselves when faced with life transitions. With these tips, you can navigate your next transition successfully.

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