Smooth Transitions

By United Family Healthcare 2019-11-22 16:20:37

Life transitions can be unique opportunities for personal growth. At the same time, they can often be unsettling, painful, and difficult to face alone. Life transitions often force us to leave behind the familiar and require us to adjust to new ways of living, at least temporarily, and they can leave us feeling completely unprepared. They can become major life challenges. If all life transitions were without challenges, we might never learn how resourceful and resilient we really are and how resourceful and resilient we can be. Life transitions are affected by our attitudes, outlooks/values/beliefs, acceptance of our new role(s), influence on our families, self-esteem, child-rearing methods, capacity to change/adapt, and mental and physical health.

What are the different categories of transitions? 

There are a number of categories whether it be, emotional/psychological: affected by personal experiences, for example bereavement or the divorce or separation of parents, own divorce, transitions. Physical: moving to a new home, class, or school.

Intellectual: moving from one type of organization to another, for example from nursery to elementary school, primary school to secondary school, or secondary school to college/university.

Physiological: going through puberty or a long-term medical condition.
A life transition can be positive or negative, planned or unexpected. Some life transitions may arise out of positive experiences, for example getting married, going away to college, starting a new job, moving to a new city, or giving birth to a child. Other transitions happen without warning, and they may be quite stressful. Examples can be cases of accidents, death, divorce, job loss, or serious illness.

How do I go about making the transition to a new country?

Families transition between countries for different reasons. Transitions to a new country can take place because of a job transfer or new job opportunity. Research shows that 86% of families relocate with their working spouse/partner/parent. It is also reported that expat assignments fail because of adjustment issues, dissatisfaction/unhappiness of spouse/partner, family issues, and lack of organizational support.

What are the different phases of transition?

There are a number of different phases of transition (Note that these phases are not always linear.)

•Honeymoon: anticipation/fascination/dream come true/engagement/pleasure

•Hostility: withdrawal/frustration/anger/fear/judgment/pain

•Adjustment: integration/acceptance/flexibility

•Home stage: enthusiasm/acceptance of norms and new culture

What ways can I reduce stress/anxiety during this transition?

The most common mental health issues that are brought on by adjustment stress are relationship issues, family problems, behavioral issues in children, marital problems, and communication issues. If these have not been resolved or coping skills have not been developed, symptoms of adjustment, anxiety, and depression can become more severe and may result in a more complex mental health diagnosis.

Consult a mental health professional for assistance and support. Psychotherapy begins with the identification of the stressor, as consciously recognized or acknowledged by the patient. Psychotherapeutic counseling is aimed at reducing the stressor, improving the ability to cope with stressors that cannot be reduced or removed, and developing emotional states and support systems that enhance adaptation and coping.

Here are some useful tips to make immediate positive changes

• Plan a daily routine and stay focused as much as possible

• Identify social support/develop a good (healthy) support network

• Set future goals for advancement/fun – personal and as a family

• Try to do the five Ps: pay attention/get perspective of the situation/pause/play/make peace

• Integrate humor and laughter into your daily life

• Begin and maintain a healthy lifestyle

• Practice mindfulness – breathing techniques/yoga

• Learn to say, “Yes,” and, “No,” and to take a time-out

• Get adequate sleep

• Travel for pleasure and fun if possible

• Explore what the new country has to offer – think of it as a learning experience

• Volunteer your time

• External resources can also be utilized to assist in the transition process. For example, information about clubs/groups/activities is published in magazines.

The most important thing when dealing with a transition is to vocalise your fear and it is most likely that these feelings will be shared by friends in a similar situation.


You can book an appointment with United Family Healthcare’s mental health professionals by visiting their website and choosing one of the many United Family facilities around China that best suits you and your family.