Life Transition and Career Stress

Change can be difficult, and life transitions—such as relocating to a new city, graduation, getting a divorce, loss of a loved one, having a child, or starting a new job—can be stressful.

It’s normal—and even healthy—to experience a certain amount of stress and anxiety during a life transition, even though it may feel uncomfortable. We have to learn to adjust mentally, physically and emotional to change, under great amounts of stress, which can often take a toll on our mental health. 

Some life transitions are difficult and stressful, such as the death of a loved one or pet, life and career transitions, the end of a relationship or career. In any case, stress and anxiety can arise, as well as feelings of depression, grief, and other mental health problems if left without support.

For young adults, transitioning to a college environment or post graduation while beginning to enter the workforce can be challenging. college students and graduates are especially vulnerable to mental health problems. In adulthood, life changes include starting a new job, marriage and divorce, the loss of friends and family members, aging, and retirement. According to the National Institutes of Health, stressful life changes are generally more prevalent among older adults.

Working from home, unemployment, school closures, and social distancing under COVID-19 have forced many people to make significant lifestyle changes. Adjusting to substantial changes and coping with the fear of contracting the virus are challenging for everyone, and can be especially difficult for individuals with mental disorders. It’s essential to pay attention to your mental health during life transitions and reach out for help.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Problems

Although stress and anxiety affect everyone differently, individuals who find it difficult to adjust a life transition may experience mental health symptoms such as:

Periods of acute stress—like significant lifestyle changes—can also exacerbate mental health problems among individuals with psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.

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