Words of Wellness: Transitions

June 30, 2022 - Sabrina Ford, PhD

This Culture of Caring piece marks the transition from Claudia Finkelstein to me. I am grateful that Claudia thought of me and Julia to take care of this important space; to nurture the Culture of Caring. When I chose the topic, I hadn’t remembered that Claudia wrote something very similar exactly one year ago. However, it is still important to acknowledge and contemplate the significance of transitions. Let’s take a short pause, in this moment, to consider how transitions affect us and how to embrace them.

Sometimes transitions are a joyous occurrence and at other times are painful to experience. Regardless, these life changes cause a shift in our behavior and our approach to the world. All transitions, good or bad, alter our core identity and offer great opportunities to transform the way we think as well as foster growth for wonderful new beginnings. We know this, but sometimes it’s hard to embrace transitions. Mostly because they require complicated cognitive shifts that require deep inner searching for us to emerge from a major change. Just like the chrysalis and the butterfly. Cliché? Maybe. As humans, we have the opportunity to change and renew ourselves again and again, if we chose to embrace the hard work.

We, as a world, a nation, and a community are in transition. SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 has taken us on a fantastic voyage of change in health behavior, social connections with friends and family, sickness and death, and uncertainty. It has affected us in ways we could have never imagined. While there is hope that the pandemic is subsiding, it is still with us. I ask myself if we can see this as a mighty transition to the new normal and emerge with a sense of renewal from what we have learned through this daunting time.

Throughout this time, we have faced periods of confusion trying to understand what we were supposed to do during a pandemic. Where was the “how-to survive a global pandemic” manual to guide us? At first, I thought I was coping well and then fell into an existential void. When it became clear that COVID-19 was here to stay, I decided to reflect on what I learned, to be mindful of the day-to-day blessings and move forward. There is still time for us to reflect on new strengths learned during a world crisis and to take note of earthly blessings. The birds chirping, grass growing, a cool breeze on a very hot day. It’s not too late to start journaling, to reflect on our feelings, be open with friends, and be okay with ourselves. Can we embrace new behaviors that have been adaptive and made us stronger? It has been really hard for a lot of us to the point that our mental health has been severely challenged and our consciousness may forever be changed. Healing requires connection with others (friends, family, therapists, doctors, and the rest), for meaningful growth to occur. (Pandemic mental health requires much more attention than I can give here, but stay tuned.)

As a collective, it is important to acknowledge that we may forever be changed—for the good. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to commune with you.

Sabrina Ford, PhDSabrina Ford, PhD
Associate Professor
Institute for Health Policy and Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology
Mobile: 610.357.7659

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