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We all have times when we may feel like we’re firmly planted in the ground, handling everything that comes our way, when all of the sudden an event sweeps our feet out from under us like a rogue wave. It can be unexpected, and it upends us from the path we thought our life was on.

These big life transitions can center on an illness or death in your family, a sudden job change or any event that transforms your immediate future and requires you to stop and reassess how to move forward. Brushing up on your life skills – like how to handle stress relief and making sure you’re keeping self-care at the forefront – will be important during this time. You might even have to remind yourself how to be happy. But with some planning and a few deliberate moves, you’ll realize you’ve got the skills to navigate this bumpy road in front of you.

Here are some simple strategies for maintaining your sanity during a tough life transition. You can pick the ones you think will work best for you.

Connect & Reconnect With Others

For years, you’ve probably had friends who knew they could turn to you if they were going through a rough patch. Maybe you were there to listen to them when their lives hit a roadblock, or you helped them map out a plan to deal with a big problem. Now is the time to let them return the favor.

Having a social support system can be a real source of comfort and connection during transitional times. Just sitting with a good friend or hearing their voice can keep you from feeling isolated when things look temporarily bleak. Connecting with supportive friends and family is great, but if you can’t be with them in person, you can still share some meaningful time with them. Set up a phone call, a video chat, or just text them to keep those communication lines open. You could be just one conversation away from feeling better.

Have Self-Compassion

This can be difficult for some people. You might be the first person to cut your friends some slack when they are having a hard time, but don’t know how to do that for yourself. More than ever, you need to remember how to show yourself some kindness. Take some of that gentleness and compassion you so willingly dole out to others, and offer it to yourself. It will help you stay healthy both emotionally and mentally. Some ways to get started:

  • Treat yourself with the kindness you’d show a small child
  • Don’t expect perfection from yourself
  • Understand that you are not alone

Acknowledge How You Are Feeling

Burying your feelings is not going to make them go away. Everyone goes through their own challenges and changes in life, whether it has to do with your health, your career, anxiety over the state of the economy, or how your 401k is faring. For some, these transitions might bring a sense of grief. It’s important not to let these feelings overwhelm you. Instead, acknowledge these feelings and give yourself time to think about how you are going to move forward.

You want to avoid thinking about worst-case scenarios. Spiraling into negative thoughts won’t help you process your feelings. Make an effort to see the positive side of this transition, or to explore alternate scenarios you can use to overcome a challenging time. And if certain things are out of your control, it’s time to mentally let go of those. It won’t help to hold onto those issues and worry about them.

Realize That Change is Inherent to Life

There are many people who don’t react well to change, and life transitions are harder for them to adjust to. Realizing that without change, your life would be very dull, can help alleviate some of the uncertainty that goes with these times. While it might be hard to embrace the fluidity of life, it’s good to acknowledge that change happens to us all. People move in and out of our lives, careers have turning points, and even material possessions come and go. Instead of fighting change at every turn, learning to go with the flow will bring you more peace.


Exercise can be a huge help when you are looking for stress relief during times of transition. Research has shown that a good cardio workout can lessen your stress and anxiety levels, and stimulate your brain chemicals that govern the growth of nerve cells. It can leave you pleasantly tired, too, and set you up for a good night’s sleep.

If you use exercise as a stress-reliever, remember the self-care component. Stay hydrated by packing a reusable water bottle, or try bringing along something like Perfect Empowered Drinking Water®, which uses a 15-step purification process to remove contaminants and ensure purity.

Do Breathing Exercises

A few simple breathing exercises can bring some immediate stress relief. If you’re feeling anxious, try these steps:

  1. Get comfortable. Lay on your bed or sit on your favorite chair or couch.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Breathe in through your nose, counting to 5.
  4. Place your hand on your abdomen and feel it expand while you are inhaling.
  5. Slowly breathe out through your mouth as you count to 10.
  6. Repeat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Skidding into a life transition can make you feel like you’ve been thrown for a loop. But by tapping into your support network, talking through what you are feeling, and setting aside time for exercise and self-care, you can get a better handle on your life and begin to move forward.