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5 Ways To Practice Self-Care Through Big Life Transitions

Change is inevitable in life. Whether it’s quitting a job, getting fired, moving to a completely new place, graduating from college, getting married, buying a house, having a baby, or other endless life transitions, change is the one constant we can count on. Life moves forward through the best of times and the worst. Through love, loss, and all other facets of life, we all experience big and inevitable changes.

So, how can we cope during the big moments-the moments that scare us, challenge us, and shape us evermore? How do we take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health during these big life transitions?

At GenTwenty, we pride ourselves on being very self-aware when it comes to self-care. We know that in order to be our best selves, we have to be at our best and healthiest in mind, body, and spirit. We cannot be loving partners, devoted parents, dedicated employees/employers, or solid Samaritans in our communities if are not practicing self-care. In order to succeed at some-or even all-of these varying roles, we need care for ourselves first and foremost.

For this undeniable truth, here are five ways you can practice self-care through big life transitions.

1. Be gentle on yourself. 

During a state of transition, it’s essential for you to be kind to yourself. Change can be hard and scary, especially the kind of change you weren’t expecting, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or losing your job. Know that it’s okay to purge your feelings, whatever that may look like for you. Cry if you need to. Vent to a close friend. If you need to lay in bed all day and binge a Netflix show, do that!

If you can, take a sick/mental health day from responsibilities to give yourself time to cope. Even if the transition you’re in the midst of is a positive one, you may still need time to adjust. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy for a bit as everything in life settles. Breathe. It’s all going to be okay.

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2. Create a self-care routine.

Search for a healthy and safe way to release any pent up stress you may be feeling. Good or bad, change can be very stressful on your mental and physical health. You might need to spend some extra time in the gym to get your blood pumping and release those endorphins.

Consider writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal to vent. Perhaps you could listen to music, go see a new movie, or visit with family to take your mind off of what’s happening. Something as seemingly insignificant as getting a massage, taking a bubble bath, or drinking hot tea can help ease you anxiety. Whatever your outlet is, find one that does not involve sabotaging your health (like overeating, alcohol, drugs, etc.). Pick an outlet that will lift your spirits and fuel you in the best ways possible.

3. Brainstorm the pros and cons.

Sometimes transitions can feel so overwhelming because we cannot begin to comprehend just how deeply we may be impacted by change. If you’re battling with getting married, planning for a baby, buying a house, or finding a new career, take some time to list out all the pros and cons.

If this change is one you’re choosing to pursue, you have time to think about whether or not it’s the best thing for you. Don’t be pressured into getting married unless you’re really ready. Don’t jump with both feet into a new career unless you feel it’s truly time.

Listing out pros and cons to the transition you’re considering is bound to help you visualize your goals and put your feelings on one side or the other of this big decision. Thinking critically about your big life transition is bound to help ease any stress you’re feeling and clear any doubt clouding your mind.

4. Develop bite-size action steps.

If the change you’re in the midst of is at all within your control, create small steps to get through this transition without losing your happiness and sanity.

If you’re taking the plunge to buy a house and all you can see is the monthly price tag that comes with the mortgage, consider signing up for a first-time home buyer course in your local community. Learning how being a homeowner works, especially from a financial standpoint, may lighten up some of the burden your carrying.

If you’re worried about everything running smoothly at your upcoming wedding, consider focusing on one thing at a time, such as the flowers or the music, as opposed to taking on the entire event at once. If you’re stressing over finding a new job because you dislike where you are, don’t muddle your mind with the pressure of finding “the perfect” career.

Rather, take it one step at a time, such as focusing on perfecting your resume before you go out on an interview, or updating your LinkedIn before you even start job hunting. Taking bite-size action steps may help reduce the overwhelming stress you’re feeling.

5. Accept what you cannot control.

At the end of the day, change is inevitable. Life is a roller coaster and we all experience the highs and the lows day-to-day. It may not be exactly what you want to hear, but the harsh reality is that you cannot control every big life transition you face.

For the ones you cannot control, like getting fired, losing someone close to you, etc., just know that you are strong enough to overcome just about anything. Loss is heartbreaking and sometimes unbearable, but you are fiercely strong and you will make it through.

Getting fired is devastating, especially during poor economies, but you will make it through. Do you understand? You will make it through! Whatever hardship you’re faced with and whichever big life transition resonates with you most, you will survive. Even when you feel like you won’t, you will. Life throws everyone curve balls, but we carry on.

Accept that you can’t always control what big change you’re forced into, but you can choose to make the best of it. When you choose to accept this, you might find the stress you’ve been feeling lightens up a bit.

Change can be hard, scary, unwanted, exciting, sad, wonderful, challenging, and thrilling.

Big life transitions can be the best things that happens to us, or the worst. Whether you find yourself in the worst life change or the best, remember to practice self-care. You need to feel positive and healthy in every mental, emotional, and physical state. If you take care of what you need to get through it, you will make it through. Be your best self by taking care of yourself. There’s only one you in this world, so be good to yourself.

And as a fun bonus, be sure to check out this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.