I’ve noticed a pattern each time I go through a big life change. At first I feel excited and inspired. Then anxiety pursues, but just a mild anxiety created out of anticipation. Next comes major stress as the change is actually occurring. And finally, there’s an expectation that the stress will settle, but it always take longer than you think.
After moving from New York to San Francisco just a few weeks ago, I’d say I’m still in that last phase. Anxiety is still a pretty consistent part of my day, even though I have no doubt in my mind that I want to be here. I keep expecting the stress to pass and to start to feel “normal” again, but I forget that it takes time. So I decided to do a search on my site to see if I could give myself some advice and found this little gem from a few years back. I was going through a major breakup back then, and it’s interesting to see what I came up with to help me through the stress. After a few years of growth, I thought I’d add to the list as I get through the transition I’m experiencing now.
Just Because It’s Difficult Doesn’t Mean It’s Wrong
A lot of times in life, when something gets difficult or stressful, we start to question if it was the right decision. I think it’s important, especially during something like a move or starting a new job, to remember that just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision. It would be impossible for a move to be completely seamless with no stress at all — but that doesn’t make it wrong. The key to this is compartmentalizing. Separate these two feelings in your mind: I’m stressed and I’m glad I made this decision. They both can exist at the same time, without influencing one another.
The Stress Will Pass
It’s also really helpful to remember that the stress will pass. When I’m feeling anxious, it’s difficult to see past that anxiety or to even remember what it’s like to feel relaxed and confident. But knowing that the stress is just a phase can be relieving in the moment as well. I’ve noticed my anxiety is definitely hindering my day to day — I feel less inspired and less motivated — but that is just how I feel now, in this moment. That inspiration will return and it’s important to have faith in that.
Ah, patience. It’s honestly the biggest thing I need right now. The second I landed in San Francisco, I wanted life to begin. I wanted my apartment to be perfectly setup, my daily routine to be in place, and my social calendar to fill up. Unfortunately, things don’t work that way. I need to remember that life will fall into place, but it may take longer than I’d like. The way things are now is not how they are going to be because I’m still in the midst of the transition. I need to remember that I’ll look back on these first few months and barely remember this in-between phase. Life will settle. I just need to be patient!
What helps you when you’re going through a major life change?