“Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t take.”- William Bridges
Life is ever-changing, but there are moments in our life when the transition can seem a bit more substantial than others. Graduating college, changing jobs, getting married, having a child, moving out of your parents house, these could all be classified as “big life transitions” and are defining moments in our lives. Many of the above mentioned transitions are also highly stressful and disrupt the established patterns we have created in the rhythm of life. That being said, big life transitions also give us the amazing opportunity to re-evaluate our day to day patterns and begin determining what was working for us previously as well as what we may want to incorporate into the new life we are creating.
Take a moment to pause and reflect
Our daily patterns, from where we buy our coffee to when we check our phones, often become habit by the third or fourth time we have done them, and we are slow to ask ourselves why we are doing things a certain way. When we change the scenery of our lives, with a new home or relationship, we get the opportunity to see our daily routine in a new light. Utilize this big life moment to step back for an hour (or even just ten minutes) and think about the pieces of your daily life that were life-giving and the pieces that were life-draining.
Write it down
After reflecting, spend some time writing down the things that were working well and those that aren’t working currently. Create a positive and negative list that helps you see whether a majority of your time is being spent. Once you have created this list, see if there are any behaviors, actions, or relationships that you would like to eliminate and those that you would like to see more of.
Imagine a Miracle
Imagine that a miracle has occurred and everything in your life is exactly as you would want it. What would you be spending your time doing? How would you start and end the day? Who would you hang out with? Use the information you have gathered from your positives and negatives list along with your miracle day to create a plan of action.
Create a plan of action for integrating these new ideas:
Amber Reed, LSCSW, LCAC
"If we are more focused on our smart phone than our children, we may be pushing them away from us and encouraging bad behavior without even realizing it's happening. " - lori cull-deshmukh
At the beginning of the month, I went on vacation with my daughter. Our first stop was Atlanta, Georgia. She has been wanting to visit the Coca-Cola museum for over a year. The first morning of our trip, we were walking to our first destination (the Coca-Cola museum was not going to happen at 9:00am for this parent). I open my purse to get my cell phone, not sure why, and I dropped my phone! The phone lands glass down on the concrete sidewalk and shattered so bad that I could feel the cracks in the glass.
My first thought “what am I going to do without my phone for 8 days!” I didn’t make a big deal about it, but my daughter asked me the same question, continually, the entire day, “What are you going to do without your phone?” My reply each time was, “I’m going to enjoy my vacation with you.” Honestly, I was shocked at my reply and my calm demeanor.
Because this vacation turned out to be the most relaxing and one of the best trips we have had together, I started thinking about how much time I am using an electronic device and what that is teaching my daughter. I found that when I have a few seconds of down or wait time, I grabbed for my phone or iPad. I caught myself replying to work emails after ordering in a restaurant. I caught myself grabbing for my phone while I waited for the traffic light to change.
After a few days of this, I was feeling frustrated that I had allowed an electronic device take away time from my daughter--time that will someday be gone. I then decided to take it one step further. I went places to observe other people with children using electronic devices in the same manner as I am guilty of using them. These are my observations:
As parents/adults, are we so focused on our electronic devices that we forget what message this is teaching children? If we are more focused on our smart phone than our children, we may be pushing them away from us and encouraging bad behavior without even realizing it's happening.
In fact, parents may react negatively when their kids try to pull them away from their phone, leaving the child struggling to compensate for attention. Some of us adults have become so engrossed in smart phones, they're making us less "smart" as parents. The children are acting out with bad behavior when they need to compete with a device for attention. Kids are saying 'pay attention to me!', so I challenge all parents to at the least, take a day to turn off the cell phones and iPad, and interact positively with your kids.
Putting down the cell phone and interacting with a child face-to-face is a way for parents to show kids how important they are in a world filled with technological distractions. This shows a child they are important enough that you would rather not be checking business or other social contacts--that you are interested in them. Our children must feel important and this is a memory and feeling they will have for a lifetime.
So, take the challenge. Pick a day, free of electronic devices, and show your child they come first.
Lori Cull-Deshmukh, LMSW, CPT
"Most of life is showing up. you do the best you can, which varies day by day." - regina brett
I want you to know they are not alone. I am here to connect: to hear your story and to help support you through the highs and lows of life.
As a counselor, I have the honor of being present with the hesitations, the fear, the need for answers and guidance in your first session. I also see the bravery, courage and self-belief gained through being vulnerable and sharing your story. I’m full of gratitude each time someone shows up because it means an opportunity to connect and see the world through a new set of eyes. It shows me that my clients believe in themselves, or they wouldn't be brave enough to show up in the first place.
A note to my future client...
Thank you for showing up.
I feel your exhaustion.
Take a breath...in...out. You are not alone. Your courage does not go unnoticed.
I look forward to working together,
Counseling Intern, Level 2