We Need Transitions

She let out a deep sigh and looked wearily at her coffee. I waited. A moment later she said, “I’ve moved to another department, but I am still transitioning.” It had been 2 months since her move but my friend, a senior HR leader, was feeling resistant and unsure of herself.

Change management theories make a distinction between change and transition. Change is external to us and something that we do. While transition is what happens within us – our emotional response and sensemaking ability. And to truly adapt to change, we need to pay attention to our transitions.

I believe this wisdom comes from nature. Nature is full of transitions. The twilight hours between night and day and day and night. The pupa stage between the caterpillar and butterfly. The migration of animals as they prepare for winter. Nature intended us to transit. Nothing ever remains the same.

And physical transitions such as commuting between work and home or walking between meetings played an important part in helping us decompress and sense-make.

Thus, in a Covid-19 world where we are spending more time on zoom calls, paying attention to our transitions is even more important. This is especially so when it is so easy to book calls back-to-back without needing to even rise from our chair. Seemingly efficient meetings booked every 30 minutes can cause exhaustion to our eyes, mind and body. This constant high-alert state can lead us to release stress hormones which in turn perpetuates a vicious cycle of exhaustion.

So, if you are still mainly working from home, pay attention to your transitions – even simple practices like ensuring you have a 5minute break before the next zoom call can go a long way in helping you to decompress. Or why not take a short walk out of your house as a way to mark the end of your workday?

What do you do to transition?