The month of May is graduation time. Do you know someone who is graduating this month? It could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or yourself? Perhaps it’s graduation from high school, college, or graduate school. If you’re currently not in the midst of this celebratory milestone experience of graduation, then you probably remember the excitement that goes along with graduation. In addition, graduation is also a time of transition, which can lead to distress. Research shows that during periods of life transitions, we are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety.
"Research shows that during periods of life transitions, we are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety."
We all go through life transitions. This could involve moving, graduating, starting a new job, retirement, the start or end of a relationship, becoming an empty nester, starting a family, or being diagnosed with a medical condition. There are also different categories of life transitions, i.e. positive vs negative and unexpected vs expected. Regardless of the type, periods of transition can be a time of tremendous personal growth and development. On the other hand, it can also be a source of stress. For some of us, this can lead to distress, depression, and anxiety. While having a reduced sense of wellbeing is not inevitable during periods of transitions, it is not surprising if we experience a shift in our mood.
Throughout our lives, we may find times when our mood is not where we want it to be. It’s OK not to be OK. Here are a few ways to think about this:
Realize if you’re not OK - whether it’s emotionally, spiritually, or physically.
Remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way, as many of us go through ups and downs
Seek out help so you can have more tools to help you cope. Help can come in many forms, like professional counseling, meditation, sports, mood-stabilizing medications, music, hobbies, and/or support from friends and family.
Life transitions are just one example of a time when we might notice a shift in our mood. The key is to embrace the coping strategies that serve us well and to let go of what’s not serving us well.