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Embracing New Seasons in Your Life, & Not Just the Kind Marked on a Calendar

Dividing 365 days into four seasons is simple; you’ve been doing it all your life. Depending on where you live, the weather and scenery might change, the level of tourism in your town might rise or fall, the mindset at school or work might shift as daylight is taken away or given back. These fluctuations bring stability and regularity to your life, whether you think about it consciously or not. In that regard, it’s easy to embrace a new season because you know what to expect.

But there are other seasons in life that are not so cyclical and familiar — the kind that involve significant emotional, spiritual, and/or professional challenges. The kind that foster growth that you aren’t able to understand in the moment. The kind not marked on a calendar. How do you embrace those? Here are four ways. 

Recognize that feeling uncomfortable with change is normal, and means you are poised for growth

About eight or nine months into my first full-time job, I confided in a co-worker that I was feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and worried about my future. Things were generally going well, but the transition from campus life to office life was hitting hard. And although I found my work interesting, it didn’t light the fire in me that I’d hoped my first job would. I didn’t feel like I was moving in a strong direction. 

As someone who is 8 years older than me, my co-worker had been in my shoes and affirmed my feelings as completely normal. “Everyone feels this way when they’re starting out,” she said. She went on to talk about how every part of your life is a season, and you won’t always know how long a season will last or even realize that you were “in one” until you’ve moved out of it.

“Right now, you’re in a new season,” she said.It might feel uncomfortable and uncertain, but trust in yourself and remember that no season lasts forever. Live in the moment as best you can and learn from every experience.”

Recognizing that you are in a new chapter of your life is the first step in coping with the transition. There is no road map for life, which can be overwhelming, but at the same time it’s exciting — you have the power to direct your course wherever you choose! Bringing this awareness to your personal journey helps you stay open-minded and ready to meet new people, gain new perspectives, and try new things.

Find the constants, and turn to your support network
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Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus

In times of change, it can feel like the whole world has been turned upside down. When this feeling starts to take over, you can find grounding by consciously engaging with things that haven’t changed, such as the activities you love to do and the people that have your back. To start, diving into your hobbies is a comforting, familiar experience. (There have been so many times that a yoga class, a few episodes of an anime, or a trip to a local nature preserve was just the ticket I needed to get me through my week.) Set aside time for activities that bring you joy, relax you, and/or allow you to be creative — it’s food for the soul! In addition, reach out to your support network. Turning to the people who love and support you is so important during times of transition — they see the best in you, want the best for you, and will be there for you when you need it. You have professors, coworkers, classmates, mentors, family members, and friends in your corner; you don’t have to go through this alone.

Listen to your body and let it be a guide

I firmly believe in the mind-body-soul connection. As you walk through life, you interact with the world via those three main aspects of your being, each one affecting the other. During a new chapter of your personal journey, it’s common to focus on the mind and the soul because, well, your mind formulates your thoughts and feelings about your experience and your soul is, in a way, the part of you that’s experiencing it. But you can’t forget the body. Just as your body senses and adjusts to the elements of new calendar season, so too does your body sense and adjust to the elements of a life transition.

Listening to your body is super important as you go through a life transition because your physical health can affect your mental and emotional health, and vice versa. If you feel restless, maybe your body is telling you to exercise to shed some nervous energy. If you feel fatigued, maybe your body is telling you to eat a wholesome meal and stay hydrated. And if you feel the need to just sit down and have a good cry, by all means, do it! Your body often knows just what you need, and it can help you fulfill that need if you listen to what it’s telling you.

Remember to give yourself some credit
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Her Campus Media

When my coworker shared with me her perspective on embracing new seasons in life, it blew my mind. I had been so focused on worrying about the future that I hadn’t realized all of the things I was accomplishing in the present. Or rather, I hadn’t been giving myself enough credit for all that I was accomplishing. Yes, I had stumbled and made mistakes along the way, but learning from those mistakes is an accomplishment in itself. Even though it may not have felt like it at the time, I was moving forward on my path.

And so are you! It’s sometimes hard to realize it in the moment, but you are doing great and you are great. You may not have all the answers (no one does), but you are strong, intelligent, capable, and passionate. You are resilient. It’s healthy to acknowledge your fears and anxieties about the future, and it’s beneficial to consider the areas where you can continue to learn and grow. But it’s equally as important to recognize all that you have accomplished up to this point, and to affirm yourself for being uniquely you.

When a new calendar season rolls around, you adapt to the change because you already know to handle it and roughly when it will end. Adapting to a new season in your life, on the other hand, can be harder, but the approach doesn’t have to be all that different. Even if you don’t know what the future holds, you can find comfort in the fact that each day — each week, month, year — is part of your journey. The cold will turn to warmth, the days will stretch longer, and the personal season you’re experiencing will eventually transition into something new. In the end, unpredictability becomes the constant, and learning to embrace it helps you move forward with hope for the future and appreciation for the present.

Elli Wills

Illinois '18

Elli has written for the U of I at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) chapter of Her Campus, the UIUC literary arts journal, Montage, and the nonprofit online magazine Culturally Modified. During her time as an intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, she also had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a fellow intern for the museum blog -- an experience that only confirmed her love for learning about others and sharing their unique stories. When she's not jotting down ideas for her next article, you can often find her binge-watching anime, practicing yoga, or spending time outdoors.
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