There's an old quote that goes something like this: “The only constant is change.” – the more we ponder on this quote, the less it makes sense. It’s like the chicken and the egg debate, what really came first? Constant or change? Either way, change is coming, she’s inevitable, and 9/10 times we won’t “feel” ready.
If you’re reading this blog post, there's a high potential that either you were, will be, or currently are a college grad. A girl who went from having the best 4 years of her life – living with her best friends, dancing every weekend, late-night study sessions that turned into GNOs (ugh we miss those days) -- to editing her resume and spending hours on LinkedIn applying for jobs that may or may not be a good fit. And just like that, life takes a turn and you realized you were in a brand new chapter of your life…WTF.
Can we take a second to normalize the pressure, anxiety, overwhelm, and straight-up fear that we, as young adults, go through from the moment we turn 18? Choosing if or when we want to go to college, deciding if we want to travel now or later, considering moving to the other side of the country for a corporate job (just to realize you low-key hate that job) – these are all major transitions that are extremely common, yet we aren’t generally prepared for.
As we stated at the beginning of this conversation, change is inevitable, it’s coming. We don’t always know when or where (...but probably when we least expect it). So, to make this change a little bit more manageable, the Cacti Team reflected on some real-life experiences and gathered up our top tips for surviving thriving during these major transition periods.
WHAT IS A TRANSITION PERIOD?
A life transition is any change or adjustment that impacts your life in a significant way. Planned or unplanned. Big or small.
HOW TO HANDLE 5 COMMON LIFE TRANSITIONS:
Student → Career
Whether you’re graduating high school or college, at some point in your life you’ll be heading into the workforce. This transition can be quite scary because it’s usually the first “big” one we have to go through. The pressure from family and society as a whole to land a job the moment you’re out of school can weigh on our shoulders for a long time. There’s no worse feeling than someone's parent asking you “so what’s next?” and not being able to answer. Want to know a big secret? No one knows what they’re doing. Oh, and also? There's no rule book that says you have to secure a job immediately.
Spend time alone. The more time you spend alone, the greater your intuition. You'll begin to know yourself better and find out what you really want (not what your parents or society wants)
Write down a list of your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not sure, ask a close friend, mentor, teacher, or family member. This will help begin the process of finding a job you can really thrive at (and enjoy!).
Be aware and conscious that not everything will go as planned and there will be bumps down the road.
Cacti’s Experience: “I remember during one of the Cacti Team meetings Kira told me to think and list my passions/values/goals and what brings me joy, and she said that if I find a career that aligns with that, my transition into the workforce won’t be as difficult if I find something that makes me happy and feels motivated.” - Caroline, Cacti’s Graphic Designer
Vacation → Back to Work
Yes, this is a transition period. If you’ve ever gone on a 10-day girls' trip to Nashville you know exactly what we mean. Getting back into a routine after a long period of “fun” can be extremely hard. Whether this trip was PG or not, getting back into a healthy routine at any point takes a mental toll on you.
Write a gratitude list about the things you enjoy and like about your day-to-day routine. This will help shift your perspective.
Make a list of to-dos for when you’re back so you have an actionable game plan such as what to unpack when to do laundry, emails, and, grocery shopping.
Make time to take a ‘vacation’ from your vacation. Take an hour (or however long you have) to relax, practice self-care, take a bath, or meditate.
Cacti’s Experience: “After a long week of traveling, it takes a lot of mental strength to get back into your routine. While I’m traveling I make sure to incorporate at least 5 minutes a day (when possible) so that when I come back I’m not starting from square one. The best thing about meditating is you can do it anywhere at any time.” - Heather, Cacti’s Copywriter
Now, this is (most likely) a universal transition period. Whether you’re moving abroad, across the country, or an hour away, moving can cause a lot of stress. Maybe you’re moving in with a partner for the first time, moving in alone, or baby’s on the way so you need a bigger spot. No matter what the situation, a lot of feelings will come up and are usually rooted in the sense you no longer feel grounded. Your body feels scared and unsafe as you’re settling into an unfamiliar environment.
Create a foundational morning routine to keep you grounded. Even if it’s just taking 3 deep breaths. Find something that brings you back into your body. Learn how to create a morning routine here.
Use online groups on Facebook or Meet Up to find people in similar situations with similar interests.
Set your new space up in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Posters, candles, and picture frames are all a great way to make this space feel more like “home”.
Cacti’s Experience: “After graduating from university, I made the decision to move from a small town in Canada to South Korea (talk about culture shock), I was moving to a place where not only didn’t know anyone, but I couldn't even speak the language. To feel grounded, I found local meetups online with people who were in the same position as me. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I ended up making lifelong friends from all around the world who I’m still in touch with 2 years later.” - Heather, Cacti’s Copywriter
Remember when we were all in Jr. High and thought the person we hugged by the lockers would be the person we married? That’s pretty much the same scenario with your first job out of school. It’s very rare that the first job (or person) you ever choose is going to be your dream job. You have to put yourself out there, test the waters, and see what you like and don’t like (still talking about jobs here!) Maybe you start down the path of entrepreneurship or take your content creation job more seriously. Either way, at some point you’re career path will change and it’s going to feel scary.
Before leaving any job, it’s important to have a financial plan. Based on your monthly expenses how much will you need to save before you find your next set of income? Financial expert Tori Dunlap from the Financial Feminist podcast says at least 3 months' worth.
Surround yourself with people that believe in you and show support.
Rely on people you look up to in the business world and only take advice from people who have been where you want to be.
Cacti’s Experience: “When I decided to dive headfirst into Cacti it was the definition of “a leap of faith”, but one thing being in a global pandemic has taught us is that nothing is certain. The “safe corporate path” isn’t risk-free either. Building self-confidence is a HUGE part of starting your own business (whether it’s full-time or in addition to other jobs). In my experience, the only way to build self-confidence is by DOING! So my best advice is to bet on yourself and take. the. Leap.” - Kira, Cacti’s Founder & CEO
Change in Seasons
Seasonal depression is a real thing, people. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body's internal clock and causes a drop in serotonin which can lead to feelings of depression. Our friends who have felt the pain of waking up when it's dark out and going to bed when it's dark out know what we mean.
Based on the month, write a list of things you’re looking forward to. For example, if it’s winter this could be your favorite winter vegetables, holiday celebrations, fireplaces, and red wine (count us in!) Focus on what brings you joy during these months.
Lean into what each season brings. If it’s winter, try going skiing or skating, it’s all about pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone.
Use seasonal decor around your space to spice up your environment. We spend more time at home during the fall and winter months and making sure you’re space brings you joy will help ease these transitions.
The biggest lesson here is to focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. We’re always in control of how we choose to respond to things. Ask yourself – how would the best version of myself respond to this situation?
We’re constantly sharing tips on how to handle change and overcome tough situations. Take a scroll through our blog posts here or follow us on Instagram to learn more at @cactiapp.
The Cacti Team