Kate Keenan Time for change
Autumn is just around the corner and now's the time when many young people move on to pastures new, whether this is starting primary school or moving on to secondary school, sixth form, college, university or into employment.
These are the sorts of major life changes that can bring anxious and uncomfortable feelings, as making the transition from familiar surroundings to a new and unknown world can be fraught with trepidation and uncertainty.
The key to coping with any major change successfully is to tackle it in three bite-sized chunks: bidding farewell to the past, experiencing the change and then emerging into the brave new world to enjoy its benefits.
A practical opening strategy is to acknowledge that what is ending is ending and that it is time to let go of the past.
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Saying goodbye can be quite hard, but a good way to do this is to weigh up the pros and cons of the approaching change, and to accept that while familiar places and people are being left behind there is a new and exciting world ahead to be welcomed.
Actually experiencing the change can be a bit scary as it's not always possible to anticipate new situations or be able to cope with unexpected outcomes. It takes time to make new relationships and, as things do not always work out smoothly, confusion, doubt and impatience may occasionally surface.
Mistakes are likely to occur and, indeed, are pretty well unavoidable. Because people can feel a bit lost during this phase, having a solid sense of direction goes a long way to helping them settle into their new circumstances.
If they can remind themselves of the overall advantages of moving on, and talk with friends and family about how they are currently getting on, this can help in moving forward and keeping up the momentum during the active stage of any change.
As time progresses, most people come to embrace their new circumstances. They build up the key skills they need to function successfully in their new world, and they start to settle in and enjoy where they are.
As a result, the change is consolidated, stability is gained and the new situation becomes the norm. Change is a journey which has no end. When future changes inevitably come along, being aware of the processes involved and knowing how to work through them with confidence makes it considerably easier to tackle them positively.