Real talk: things are about to get deep up in here.
There comes a point when we all have to come to terms with changes in our lives. Those changes may be the changes you experience after you graduate from college, or when a friendship ends, or the changes you go through when you get married. Right now, I’m currently going through a life change that I think most of us can relate to at least one time or another, and that’s moving. I’m currently in the process of moving to a bigger city and adjusting to all the fun (and hard) stuff that comes with that, such as job searching and painting. (Side note: I hate painting. It’s the literal worst.)
Whether that moment of change comes to you at that weird in-between state at 1 a.m. when you can’t fall asleep but you’re fighting to stay awake OR during a moment of panic when you can’t remember if there’s any chocolate in the house…
…the moment will come. And you won’t be ready for it.
It will hit you like a crashing wave, and all you can do is just be.
And then the moment will pass, and you will move on with your life knowing that something noble and scary and intimidating and wonderful has passed. It’s a large moment of finality, but one that everyone must face and cope with in their own way.
I’m currently still living this moment. And while I wholeheartedly welcome the change to start a new chapter in life, it’s still really, really difficult at times. Some days, I feel a little lost. Maybe you’ve felt the same way before. In which case, let’s get coffee sometime so we can commiserate with each other and eat too much junk food in the process.
However, you can’t stay in this mindset for too long. That’s the key. Life changes can hit you all at once, but you eventually have to shake it off, á la Taylor Swift, and start getting ish done once again.
But…how do you do that when you may still be feeling overwhelmed?
4 Ways to Refocus When Facing Transition + Freak Out
When I face huge changes, something happens. I get sort of sidetracked and often lose my motivation in all the chaos that comes with major transitions. And that lack of motivation takes a toll on my mood, and I become unhappy with my lack of progress. If you’ve ever experienced something similar, you may be finding it hard to make that initial effort to refocus + regroup.
Dude, been there.
But I don’t want you to be stuck in a similar situation, so I’m outlining a few key steps that I take whenever I need to shake myself out of that slump and embrace positive changes.
In doing so, I not only see an increase in my motivation, but my creativity bounces back, and I feel ready to take on life again.
Now it’s your turn, boo.
4 Ways to Refocus When Facing Transition & Freak Out Click To Tweet
1 | Talk to a family member or mentor who knows what you’re going through.
I don’t think it’s possible for me to convey how helpful it is just to talk things through with others who can sympathize as well as empathize—in this case, that may be a peer who is facing a similar transitional phase as you or a familiar mentor older than you who can see the bigger picture and guide you through an overwhelming change in your life. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who can fairly easily calm themselves down by mentally thinking through a problem and resolving it.
Going through a life change? Chat with someone who can help you see the bigger picture. Click To Tweet
But just when I think I’m over it and have a solution, I find myself word vomiting all over a friend or family member. I guess we all need a listening ear sometimes. Don’t brush this off as some Dr. Phil (feel-good) stuff. I’m not bald, but I know what I’m talking ’bout.
It works. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. It’s better than Titanic.
*Therapy couch + accompanying box of tissues not included
2 | Spend some time reconnecting with old friends.
Chances are, if you’re in your early to mid twenties, you know other people who are going through similar changes in life. Amid the engagement and birth announcements from your friends on Facebook, there are surely a few freak-out posts from others who are graduating college, preparing to pursue another degree, or hunting for a “real” job for the first time. You’re not alone.
Wait, one more time.
You. Are. Not. Alone.
Even when you’re elbow deep in a bag of Doritos, contemplating your current life choices while waiting for Netflix to play that next episode of Friends, there is someone else out there who is doing the same.
With a different choice of snack probably.
Those friends you thought you lost when you went off to college? Some will still be around, aimlessly wandering around like you. Hit them up (in a non-creepy way), and get to know them all over again. You both will have changed, and this is a good time to make a new-old friend.
Recently moved to a new city like me? Learn more about creating the ultimate girlsquad.
3 | Write down your past successes and failures.
Make a list of what’s worked for you in the past…and what hasn’t.
To get you started, try asking yourself the following questions:
When facing a change or problem in the past, how did I deal with it?
What am I passionate about?
Do I easily pursue my passions or do I stick with safer options?
Where have I gotten side-tracked in the past and lost sight of what I wanted? How did I refocus?
What am I good at?
In what areas could I improve?
Need some clarity + focus? Review past successes to help identify your strengths. Click To Tweet
Reviewing your answers to these questions will help you see more clearly what some of your strengths are as well as some of your weaknesses, and you’ll feel more clarity on how to better tackle certain situations and problems in the future.
Which brings me to…
4 | Create a 1, 5, or 10 year plan.
I already know what you’re thinking—you left homework and useless life-planning back in high school.
Friend, how wrong you are. We’re friends by now, right?
Writing down your thoughts, goals, and ideas gives you access to a more concrete agenda, something on which you can more easily focus.
It’s something to work toward, something to get you outta that funk and make you consider the future.
Seeing a system of steps written out can alert you to any flaws you may have in your plan that would have otherwise been invisible to you. (See step 1 above: that can also help you see mistakes you chose to ignore in your thinking.)
It doesn’t matter if you construct a 1, 5, 10, or 15 year plan. Well, 15 years might be pushing it. You’ll likely have already had your mid-life crisis by then. 😉
Just get something down on paper. Yeah, I encourage you to do it the “old-fashioned” way—with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper.
To give you an idea of where to go with this, I suggest beginning with the things you want to accomplish week by week and month by month. Then outline some things you struggle with and the ways in which you can help yourself move out of your comfort zone.
Write down at least 3 things to do that terrify you.
Then, right down why they terrify you. Seeing the subconscious reasoning behind our fears helps them not seem so scary. Next, write down the actionable steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. Create enough steps so that it’s not too overwhelming, but write down enough so that you have an actual plan you can follow through with.
A great way to help ensure you complete your goals is to create S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic acronym that stands for:
For each goal you create, you want to make sure that it is simple and clear, can be easily measured, realistic and attainable, results-based and worthwhile, and time-sensitive (so that you don’t procrastinate). Also, try not to make goals and plans that are dependent on someone else’s actions. For instance, instead of creating a goal like “Get a promotion”, focus instead on a goal like “Get the necessary training and/or education needed to qualify for a higher position” (source).
See how the second option is totally dependent on you?
Having a clearly defined trajectory for achieving what you want out of life will make it SO much easier for you to hit your goals and feel more accomplished.
All it takes is a little planning and whole lotta confidence in yourself. But don’t worry—I believe in you. 🙂
If you’ve been feeling a little lost or overwhelmed by major changes recently…
…or you’re feeling intimidated by the fact that the new year is less than two months away, and you still haven’t kicked your booty in gear…
We all move and grow at different rates; you’re not behind. You’re exactly where you need to be.
We all move and grow at different rates; you're not behind. You're exactly where you need to be. Click To Tweet
How to Deal with Big Life Changes When You're Freaking Out Click To Tweet