Time for a change: Transitional Periods as Opportunities for Personal Growth

At some point in your life you’ve probably heard someone say, “I need to make a change.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself. It’s a statement that can cover a lot of territory – anything from a need to eat healthier to a long-considered career shift. Whatever the reason, it’s an admission to oneself that you’ve reached a turning point.

Of course, it’s always easier to say something like that than to follow through. If you’re going through some kind of transitional phase in your life, maybe the end of a relationship, the death of a spouse, or a job loss, it can be the perfect time to make a change. It might make a lot of sense, and who knows – it really might change your life for the better.

An opportunity

Going through a life transition can be very stressful. It’s difficult not to get “tunnel vision” and focus on negative things. Try seeing it as an opportunity for personal growth, a time to develop positive habits and ways of thinking, and of interacting with the world around you. Instead of stressing and giving in to anxiety, use your energy to create a less stressful, more rewarding life. Transitions don’t have to be stressful.

Lifestyle changes

If you’ve been battling a weight problem for years, what better time to find a diet that works for you and start eating healthier. Drop those unwanted pounds and you’re sure to feel better (who wouldn’t feel better if it meant fitting into a smaller waist size?). Start by throwing out junk food, those cookies, potato chips and soft drinks that accumulate in the cupboard and fridge, and replace them with vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains. At meal time, start by filling half your plate with your favorite fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget that leading a healthier lifestyle is also about getting the exercise you need.

Most of us are pretty busy and don’t have enough time to get to the gym. Fortunately, you can always take the stairs instead of an elevator, or ride a bike to the corner store instead of driving. You can even exercise at the office while sitting at your desk. This can be as simple as tapping your toes at a fast rate, or take a break from your routine to jog in place for a few minutes.  

Try using a little creative flair to de-stress your life at work and at home. You can easily set up a relaxing environment in your house or apartment, or at work by transforming a room or your office into a relaxing space accented by plants, serene images from nature and soothing sounds, like running water.

Time to reflect

Taking time to think and reflecting on what comes next in your life can be a useful exercise if you’re going through a transitional period. If you tend to be a bit impulsive, try meditation or a self-actualizing exercise in which you envision yourself in another place or job, doing something you really enjoy. Try learning yoga or tai chi, both of which are highly meditative pursuits with a number of mental and physical health benefits. They can teach you to focus and instill the mental discipline of blocking out external stimuli and negative thoughts that pull you back into old habits.

Remember that making a lifestyle change takes time and discipline – there aren’t a lot of “quick fixes” when you’re trying to break old patterns of behavior. Enjoy the journey, and take some time to get it right. Your reward could be a richer life and a happier you.

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