Tips For Dealing With Big Life Transitions

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Fresh Start – The Moving Crew – Warwick, a local Rhode Island moving company for residential and commercial moves. A huge thank you to Fresh Start for supporting Journal with Haley!

Life transitions are something I know well. At 22, I’ve been through two cross-country moves: one from Boston to Cleveland, and one from Cleveland to Providence. I’ve transitioned from a “traditional” career path to one I forged myself as a small business owner. And, in the fall, I will also be starting graduate school to change careers from marketing to social work.

Because I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I’m also deeply familiar with the anxiety that big life transitions can inspire. Even those of us who do not suffer from a clinical anxiety disorder can experience emotional difficulties when dealing with life transitions. Whether you’re getting married, having a baby, getting divorced, graduating, or moving, these tips can help you navigate big life transitions with as much grace — and as little stress — as possible.

Tip #1: Make a Plan

Procrastination is, sadly, something I know well — but nothing makes a life transition more stressful. When we moved apartments from a Cleveland suburb to downtown Cleveland, we had a month’s notice to move. But, we left almost everything to the last minute. As a result, we were constantly racing between the old apartment and the new one for things we had forgotten to pack. 

As the old saying goes, “failing to plan means planning to fail!” That has certainly been my experience when it comes to big life transitions. Because of my poor experiences with procrastination in the past, I’m striving to make my transition to grad school as seamless as possible by planning ahead. I’ve kept a calendar of important deadlines (like class registration and health form submission), filled out my financial aid forms as early as possible, and planned which classes I wanted to register for long ahead of time.

Some tools that have been invaluable to me in making big plans are: 

  • Google Sheets. I use spreadsheets for everything from tracking my business expenses to creating packing lists for vacations. They can help keep your to-do list organized in preparation for a big life transition.
  • Erin Condren LifePlanner. I’m a proponent of old-school paper planners. The planner I am currently using is the Erin Condren LifePlanner, which I love because it offers so much space for notes and tasks to be filled in. Plus, they’re pretty, which makes planning much more fun (and less stressful)!
  • Binders. I also recommend keeping a binder for your big life transition. You can print out any important paperwork so you have a physical copy and three-hole punch it to store in your binder. Give your binder a pretty cover sheet with a label like “Move to Cleveland” or “Grad School,” and use it to house any important documents related to your life transition. That way, you’ll always know where everything is — like proof of address or your health history — when you need it! 

Tip #2: Seek Support

The most important thing you can do when dealing with a big life transition is to seek social support. Your friends and family are a valuable resource. Chances are, they want to help you and might even offer you help — so, resist the urge to turn them down! There is no shame in needing or wanting help during a stressful life transition.

Another part of your life where you might consider seeking support? Your mental health. Life transitions are often associated with stress, anxiety, and depression — so much so that there’s a mental health disorder called Adjustment Disorder related to them. For this reason, I recommend having a mental health professional on deck in the event that you need additional support during your big life transition.

So many people wait until they are already miserable and overwhelmed to seek help for stress, anxiety, or depression. But it’s my firmest belief that we should treat mental health the same way we treat physical health. That means getting check-ups regularly, especially when we’re dealing with big changes in our lives. Even if you don’t think that you’re stressed, you can still benefit from having a professional to turn to when you need it.

Tip #3: Simplify, Simplify 

When dealing with life transitions, the little things — like packing that last moving box or even taking care of household chores — can pile up as you deal with the new responsibilities that come with your life transition. That’s why I recommend looking for places where you can simplify and prioritize as much as you can.

Decide what’s most important and what can fall to the wayside when you’re dealing with a life transition. For example, eating, sleeping, and showering are obviously non-negotiables — but could you ask for a hand from your partner with the dishes, or use a drop-off service to get your laundry done without sacrificing your precious time?

If you have the financial privilege to be able to hire help, I highly recommend paying for an extra hand. Despite what society may tell us, there is no shame in being unable to “do it all” as a woman. For example, one thing I wish I would have done when we moved cross-country is hire movers. We used a U-Haul, which meant the responsibility of packing and unloading the van fell completely to us.

P.S. Is the life transition you’re dealing with a big move? If you’re local to Rhode Island, I highly recommend you check out Fresh Start – The Moving Crew – Warwick for your moving needs. They will not only help you move boxes, but will also help you pack up, making your life a heck of a lot easier. 

Plus, their moving crew will guide you through the entire process from door-to-door. Fresh Start – The Moving Crew – Warwick offers their residential and commercial moving in Warwick to homeowners, offices, commercial buildings, restaurants, warehouses, and more. Keep them in mind for your next big move!

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