I’ve been trying to think about a theme for this post. Looking out from the upper windows at the Kind Living Yoga Studio, I can see the receding skiff of snow on the ground. The word that pops into my head for the hundredth time recently is transition.
Out my window, the snow is competing for ground cover with the grass as the seasons transition. An hour later, the grass is winning. But its days are numbered for this year.
I have also learned a thing or two about transitions over the past seven months as Sue and I (and Kula and Ziggy, of course) have recently downsized from a 5-bedroom house to a 1-bedroom apartment over the studio.
Our business model for Up and Out is also transitioning, as mentioned previously, from a focus on retail to a focus on education, promotion and advocacy.
And then there are my kids, both of whom are very much in their own states of transition.
Yup, transition seems to be my word these days.
One of the interesting things about transitioning is that you often end up leaving something known or familiar for something unknown, or at least less well known. As such, there is unavoidable stress. Even if what is being transitioned to is a positive change, I don’t think there’s any getting around the change-related stress issue. If you’re going to make a change, particularly a big one, stress (for me it’s mostly about anxiety) is going to be your companion.
And how best to deal with that stress? For me, the best, healthiest and most effective way is running in the forest. Time and time again over the past six months that maxim has been proven accurate. Anxiety level going up? Run in one of the forest tracts. Anxiety level goes down. Repeat.
Perhaps what has been even more interesting (sort of) is when my stress level increases and the opportunity to run is not available. If the anxiety reaches too high a level (and/or doesn’t have the opportunity to go down to a ‘normal’ level), and running – especially on forest trails – is not an option, then my mind looks for other, less healthful stress reducers – food, alcohol, YouTube videos, etc. The mind is incredibly powerful and resourceful when it needs to contend with stress. And my mind, at least, doesn’t always make the greatest choices for how to cope.
Sue and I were saying recently that we have so much to process, reflect upon and perhaps write about as it relates to the life lessons we have learned over the past year. There is so much, it’s a daunting task just thinking about where to start. But here’s one for today:
Transitions are hard. Even if they’re for the better, they’re hard. And they’re stressful. They challenge us and tax our abilities to manage stress even more than ‘normal’ day-to-day living. Planning for and committing to building into your schedule a healthy coping strategy should be part of the larger transition plan. Whether it’s running, yoga, meditation, hikes with dogs, build it/them in, just as you would getting the house ready for a showing, arranging for movers, going to work, eating, sleeping, etc. Not doing so gives your mind all the ammunition it needs to opt for wine, chocolate cake and a really bad Netflix movie.