Children are masters of transition. I’ve seen my four-year-old granddaughters transition from 4 lb. helpless babes, to girls who ride their scooters, swim, and say things like, “I’m satiated,” when they’re full at dinner-time. (Yes, their father’s a teacher.) Imagine the countless challenges and transitions their minds and bodies endured in just four years.
Whether you’re four or ninety-four, life is full of transitions. Sometimes they intrude on us like a ton of bricks. Just this week I spoke with six people who were staggering under the weight of transitions relating to career, health, death of a loved one, relationship failure, finances, and a house flood disaster/remodel.
While only the house disaster directly caused disorganization in the home, all transitions can contribute to clutter and chaos. Even positive ones like moving to a larger home, getting a promotion, or starting a family can upset the norm and disrupt your organized household. Physical and emotional well-being is also compromised during transitions. There’s no one-size-fits-all simple three-point plan that guarantees a successful transition, but below are some Timely Tips to help you manage and thrive.
TIMELY TIPS - for thriving through transitions
1. Reach Out
What does a baby do when learning to walk? He reaches out for something or someone stable to hold on to. That’s smart, but as adults it’s hard to do. It’s easy to isolate, thinking you’re the only one struggling with this, or that you should get through it on your own.
King Solomon once said, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and “a wise man seeks counsel.” In other words, many have gone through similar transitions and there’s wisdom in not going it alone.
Reach out to someone you trust who will guide, support, and inspire you. If you’re a person of faith, pray and reach out to your faith community. Consider an online support group or seek professional services.
It’s truly more blessed to give than to receive, but unless there are people willing to receive, no one is blessed. Friends and family may not know how best to come alongside you, but when they offer, be prepared to receive and if they don’t, be prepared to ask.
No doubt there are things that are going undone while your focus is diverted to the change in your life. It may be the yard, the laundry, or reading to your toddler.
Accept that during this transition you’re not going to maintain all that you were doing before. Take ten minutes to make a list of things that others could do and be willing to share your load.
If clutter and chaos have ensued, consider some simple steps to regain order. Focus on the necessities. Paying the bills, eating, and sleeping.
To keep the lights on and minimize clutter, make sure you have a simple way to process the mail. Place three paper trays and a recycle bin close to where you bring in the mail. Label the first tray “Take Action” for your bills to pay, doctor forms to fill out, dates to record, etc. Label the second tray “Holding” for things you may want to look at, but don’t require action. Label the third “File” for items that need to be saved like insurance policies and tax documents.
To avoid overwhelm choose to retrieve your mail daily and do a two-minute sort into your three trays and recycling bin. Forget about saving coupons and catalogs for the time being. Keep it simple and focus on the basics. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar twice a month (1st and 15th) to sort through the Action tray and follow through with those items. Don’t concern yourself with the other two trays for now.
If your transition has impaired your eating and sleeping, you’ll struggle to thrive. Give yourself one small goal at a time. Maybe it’s an apple a day or choosing the salad bowl or grilled chicken wrap when picking up fast food. Daily fuel your body with a nutritious breakfast bar or smoothie, even if it’s on the run. Set an alarm on your phone to establish a bedtime. These routines will reduce your stress and improve your brain function.
Remember to do those things that renew and rejuvenate you. Recall the times you’ve triumphed through transitions. Think about what you have right now that you're grateful for. Shift your focus to these things before you go to bed and first thing in the morning. It will help lighten your load and clear your mind.
When Deborah Dillon survived a brain tumor she discovered, "Everything had changed, but nothing was different." Her experience transformed her perspective and thrust her into a challenging transition that would lead her to sell a successful business and start a non-profit called Living Smart Guides.
Some transitions in life are inevitable. LivingSmartGuides.com is a comprehensive and FREE RESOURCE CENTER that provides the information and tools necessary to prepare for the expected and unexpected. It offers over 80 free forms that you can print or complete on your device. You can save, change, and electronically share the forms with friends and family.
You can read more about Dillon's experience at The Living Smart Story.
Transition is the natural process of disorientation and reorientation that marks the turning points in the path of growth...transitions are key times in the natural process of self-renewal. --William Bridges