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Coping with Transition During a Pandemic
Transition has been a common theme for everybody these past few months, and as we approach fall we're continuing to experience new transitions. This set of tips will be all about coping with transition during these unprecedented times.
During times of transition, creating a schedule to try and give yourself some predictability and structure can be really helpful. Remember to schedule in time for self-care activities and down time too!
Part of the difficulty with change is all the uncertainty. Take some time to write down the worries you have about this change. Then ask yourself how likely those worries are to come true. If they do come true, what can you put in place to help you cope with that?
As cliche as it might be, sometimes it's important to remind ourselves to take things one day, one hour, or one moment at a time. Transition can be difficult for anybody, let alone during unprecedented times like these. It's okay to slow down.
Is there research you can be doing to help you prepare for this transition? It doesn't have to be formal research — it can be as simple as asking people with relevant experience or knowledge for their advice or, if relevant, doing a virtual tour!
Can you get involved in the community that's related to the transition you're experiencing? Look into virtual social groups through your new school, job, or community, so that you can connect with others who are also navigating this change.
When your transition 'to-do' list feels overwhelming, try writing a 'done' list to highlight the things you've already achieved despite your stress and worries. An example could be something as simple as "got dressed today despite wanting to stay in bed in my pyjamas".
Create a list of affirmations or mantras you can say to yourself each day to be reminded of your strength and resilience. E.g. "Even if x doesn't go as planned, I will still be okay" or "I have survived difficult changes before and I will survive this."
There is no change too big or small to seek help for. Reach out to your supports or look into available professional support that you can get connected to during these difficult times. It's amazing what some validation and an alternative perspective can offer.
Are you discovering some strategies that have helped make this time a little easier? Write them down somewhere you'll remember to look so that you can refer back to them during upcoming times of stress. Future you will thank you for it!
With change and transition, there often comes grieving. During the pandemic we've all experienced grief for what life was like pre-covid. Take some time to let yourself grieve, and then also reflect on what some of the positives might be with this change.
Could you make a transition plan to help you cope during these times? What could that look like? A bedtime and morning routine? Making time to reflect each day? Integrating a new or old hobby? Reaching out when you feel ____? Take time and be gentle with yourself as you test it out.
With school starting later than usual, it's understandable to feel more anxious. Get engaged online and connect with other students to see what they're doing to help prepare. Perhaps you won't find all the answers, BUT you could make a new friend along the way!
The people you spend time with can really impact you and your ability to cope through change. Reflect on whether the people you surround yourself with are ones who support your plans and self-growth. It's okay to outgrow people and find new connections that inspire you.
Practicing your routine in your mind, sharing your plans with your friends, and writing it out are great ways to feel prepared to create a balance in responsibilities. Remember to take a break to enjoy your life as well!
Make a pros and cons list regarding the transitions you are struggling with. Review the cons and create some ideas to support yourself through them. Focus on the pros as you navigate these transitions and remember to honour yourself first!
It's hard for anyone to cope with change and transition when our sleep routines are off. Take a look at these tips for healthy sleep habits and see where you might be able to make improvements in yours.
When you're feeling caught up in the day-to-day stress, remind yourself of the bigger picture. Going through this transition is a step closer to your goals or dreams. Write out some of those goals and dreams to keep you motivated and inspired during the tougher times.
Where can you re-evaluate your schedule and make 'edits' to create a smoother day? Look at how you're balancing your responsibilities and ask yourself what needs some change. What is going well? What isn't? Then, readjust as you need to and keep going! You've got this!
Have you taken time for you lately? Today is a great day to make sure you get in some self care. You are too important and need to take care of yourself first in this transition! What can you do today for YOU? Schedule it in and make it happen!
Celebrate your successes this month. Even small accomplishments deserve a metaphorical high five! Figuring life out is hard and sometimes it can feel like almost everything is wrong. Include focusing daily on what is going right too (even if it feels uncomfortable to do so).
Sometimes it helps to remember change is inevitable and we can build our resilience to face it. Check out this New York Times article on "How to Stay Optimistic When Everything Seems Wrong" for some tips on practicing resilience during times of change.
Change doesn't always have to take the form of a big life event like getting a job, moving, or going back to school. You can find transition in your friendships, relationships, and the way you see yourself. Recognizing these shifts can help you become more self aware.
Having a 'navigator' mindset rather than a 'victim' or 'survivor' one can help you become happier and healthier in times of transition. To learn more, check out this article by Crisis Response Network.
Loss of control is a feeling often associated with change. One way to cope with this is by doing what you can to influence the outcome of a transition in some way. Can you add anything to it? Make a plan for when it's over? Do something for yourself as it's happening?
To help understand yourself during times of transition, you can learn about the 'five Rs' associated with the changes you may be going through: routines, reactions, roles, relationships and reflections. Read more on this from the Resilience Development Company.
Remember that saying, 'when one door closes, another opens'? It's true! If something in your life is coming to an end, there's a good chance that a new opportunity also awaits you. You never know what is to come, and that can be a wonderful thing!
When it feels like everything around you is changing, recognizing stable aspects of your life can provide comfort and make you feel more grounded. As you approach or experience transitions, try making a list of all of the things that will remain in your life post-change.
Change can be difficult, but it can also better us. What changes are you experiencing now? Will they have any positive effects on you, your relationships, or your life? Recognizing upsides to what feels like a tough change can make us feel more ready to take it on.
Sometimes, talking things over or venting to someone you trust can be the healthiest way to get your feelings out. During times of transition, try to schedule time with those close to you, and ask them if they're open to talking about what's going on in your life.
Mental health strategies we use in the fall can often be very different from the ones we find useful in the summer. Set aside some time to look for tools that can help you cope with this transition in seasons.