Remember that last week of elementary school before summer break? Before there was such a thing as “finals week”?
Watching videos, cleaning out your desk, playing games, signing yearbooks, end of year parties.
It was a transition. A no man’s land after meaningful work was done but before summer vacation was official.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have those sorts of transitions, too?
Ease into change.
All too often, as an adult, we just have to keep on keepin’ on. Even in the face of major changes: career change, moving homes, personal illness, illness of a loved one, or their passing.
Acknowledging the shift—from “life the way it was” to “life the way it’s going to be”—is the first step. It may not be a week of downtime, but it’s a start. A start that can actually move you forward.
This is where rituals come in. Most cultures and religions acknowledge and honor life changes. Marriage and graduation ceremonies come to mind, so do new moon celebrations and funerals. Coming of age is a big one as is the start of new seasons.
Ritualizing gives a common language but also a demarcation—elevating the experience so there’s a clear before and after. It’s an acknowledgement that something important is coming to an end and something else is beginning.
But marking the change doesn’t have to include a DJ and presents.
A few intentional deep breaths with eyes closed might be enough to get us ready for the kids coming home from school. An annual birthday hike might set a tone for the year while journaling in the morning could prepare us for a great, centered day.
Being mindful of the transitions allows for more conscious decisions in the new normal. Often, if schedules are affected, food routines can get off track. Then weeks later you notice the snug fit of your jeans. By then there's work to be done.
Instead anticipate the shift and be intentional about your food plan, saving yourself time and extra heartache.
Notice the transitions and rituals you already have and consider adding a few more where needed. Staying conscious around change will serve your body and mind well.