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Elizabeth is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, and author. Her first book “Beyond Black and White” is available now. She is an old soul who's young at heart, a human jukebox, and a corgi lady in training. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @ElizabethThe.

Building Resilience and Moving Ahead Through Tough Transitions

woman girl train station

{Image Credit: Eutah Mizushima}

Breakups and layoffs suck. Whether it’s the end of a long-term relationship with someone you love, the loss of a job you were dedicated to, or another life-altering situation, being thrust into these scenarios where a big part of your life comes to a sudden end is downright unnerving and terrifying.

You enter into that uncomfortable gray area of uncertainty, where before you looms a tough period of passage from what you knew towards what is unknown. To help you build resilience and respond better to an imposed transition, we share a few ways you can begin to part with the past, return to the present, and move ahead towards the future.

Release Your Emotions

A loss is a loss. When you have to leave someone or something important to you, you can enter into a state of grief. Any major change in your life will result in experiencing overwhelming bursts of emotions. Instead of keeping your feelings bottled up inside, make like Queen Elsa and let it go. Allow yourself to release the sadness, the stress, the worries, the anger, and the fear by expressing yourself. Writing in your journal, crying on your best friend’s shoulder, or even climbing a mountain and screaming from the top of your lungs at the top of the summit are a few good outlets. By acknowledging your feelings as valid and allowing yourself to be human, you can get closer to finding relief and eventual clarity.

Talk It Out

When these drastic changes occur, it’s natural to turn inwards and believe that you have to go through what you’re going through alone. But what are your friends for if not to provide you with moral support when you need it most? Open up to the people you care about and trust by sharing your experiences, your thoughts, and your feelings with them. Your friends will listen to and relate to the heartbreak you are encountering and be your loyal support system as you cope. By voicing your struggles and hearing their encouragement in return, your honest and heartfelt conversations with your friends will alleviate your pain and their advice will help you feel more equipped and empowered to charge forward.

Take Your Time

It’s easy to say there are other fish in the sea, and a job is just a job, but after being accustomed to being in a relationship, being employed, and whatnot for a considerable amount of time, seeing that terminate is disorienting. As a result, you may feel compelled to ‘make things right’ by immediately jumping back into the fray of dating and job-hunting to re-establish that sense of normalcy before you are ready. Before reactivating your OkCupid account or applying to every new job posting on LinkedIn, think about what you value and want from a partner or from a career. Consider focusing on redirecting your focus to spending time on your relationships with your family and friends, on building your skills and knowledge in your field of work, and even on developing — and tackling — your personal bucket list. Avoid those rebound relationships and jobs and remember that you don’t have to hit the ground running right away.

Give Your Time

Your old habits and routines will inevitably change, which can leave you feeling lost and helpless. Since your schedule has likely opened up significantly, why not make the best use of your free time? Now that you are temporarily not taken or not employed, your time is a valuable resource to give out. Develop other aspects of yourself by re-engaging in those passion projects — such as finishing your first draft of your first novel — that were put on the back-burner while you were busy with your relationship or with your career. Contribute your time as a volunteer towards a cause you care about. Get outside of your comfort zone and join a meet-up group with like-minded people. In addition to working on yourself and connecting with others through passion projects, volunteering, and socializing, you never know what relationship or career options that might open you up to.

Embrace the Change

Relationships and careers are vulnerable to twists and turns. Along the path, your plans will change, and ultimately, you will change as well. Change is a necessary part of life, because if you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing, and if you aren’t growing, you are stagnant, and no good progression will result from that. Re-frame change as a chance for a fresh new start. Take stock of your core values and long-term goals and look forward to the new possibilities available to you now that you are a free agent. Allow yourself to daydream and to envision and visualize the bright new future in front of you.

Take Care of Yourself

In the midst of the changes you are facing, it is your top priority to focus on your own well-being. There will be good days and bad days, and days of hope and days of despair. When you are feeling the weight of the world, a change of scenery can do wonders for lifting the load and clearing your head. Escape from the confines of your home and walk around your neighborhood, embark on a coffee shop hop, or go one step further and book a weekend trip to the coast. Do things that make you feel content and whole, such as devouring a good sci-fi book or baking up a storm in the kitchen. It may sound silly, but it’s not silly to remember to accomplish simple things like eating properly, sleeping well, and breathing. Practice mindfulness and meditation by forming a positive mantra that you can repeat to yourself when you’re feeling low. A person or a job may add to your identity, but with you at the core, you are the most important piece, so be good to yourself.

Coming to terms with the unpredictable conclusion of a significant chapter of your life will not be easy, but once you are able to accept the challenge and push yourself through, you will build up your resilience and strength in the face of difficult experiences. It will take a lot of nerve on your part to get up again, but you can and you will. In the end, you will survive and you will thrive with a great comeback story to tell. Ultimately, transition can be a pivotal time of self-discovery and self-development, and you have the opportunity to transform the direction of your path. How exciting is that?

How do you deal with difficult times of transition? Let us know in the comments.

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