Man Carrying a Box

When It's Time For Change, Make Time For Grief

by Maureen Pollard

Emotional Health Editor, KBI Inspire Magazine
 

Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario.  Visit her online at: maureenpollardmsw.com

"Don’t rush yourself. Transitions take time, even when we’re moving toward something we really want. Give yourself permission to feel mixed feelings longer than you think you “should”. Grief takes time, and we can’t hurry through it."

As summer fades away and fall arrives, it’s common to feel a lot of big feelings, especially if you are also moving into a new situation in life. Perhaps you have graduated from one school and you’re starting another level of your education. Maybe you’ve spent the summer in chill mode, and now it’s time to get down to work. Whatever the transition, we often feel a mix of so many emotions when something in our life is changing. 

Endings often bring sadness and may bring regret, but sometimes we also feel relief when it’s time for a change. Beginnings are often laced with anxieties as we are stepping into the unknown, which can be a bit scary, even when our new plans are for things we are really looking forward to.

Change is hard, and so when change is happening, consider taking steps to find comfort and reassurance as you move through transition times.

Allow all the feelings. Acknowledge them as they arise, trust that they will pass, and know that it’s normal to feel this full range of emotions. You are safe, and you are strong enough to weather the storms of transition.

Take time to mourn. Spend time reminiscing. Make a memory box or digital photo album. You can honour the passing of an important time in your life by capturing stories and gathering a few mementoes.

Don’t rush yourself. Transitions take time, even when we’re moving toward something we really want. Give yourself permission to feel mixed feelings longer than you think you “should”. Grief takes time, and we can’t hurry through it. 

Consider what you want to carry forward. What parts of your past are important to you? What actions will you take to create more moments like this as you move into the next stage of life? Make a list of the values you hold and the goals that you are striving for, to help focus your attention on the positive potential of your future.

Consider what you want to release. Is there anyone you need to forgive? Maybe even yourself? Consider writing letters to others, or to yourself, to reflect on these feelings and then releasing it all by safely destroying the letters. This exercise can help you settle feelings of hurt and regret about the situation you are transitioning from, and free you to embrace all the joy that can be yours in your next adventures.