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A collection of tips and experiences to help successfully navigate life transitions
Written by young people for young people
Beat Wensum House 103 Prince of Wales Road Norwich NR1 1DW A charity registered in England and Wales (801343) and Scotland (SC039309).
Company limited by guarantee no 2368495.
Funded by City Bridge Trust
3Embracing Change Transitions Project
About the bookletThis booklet has been designed to offer tips on what people have found useful when faced with the challenges that different life changes can bring.
It is a collection of tips and personal experiences from participants (volunteers and young people receiving support) in the Beat Transitions Project an online mentoring project for young people with eating disorders in London.
TransitionIn this context, transition means a change from one thing to another, for example between eating disorder services, starting work, education, signifi cant life changes such as relationship endings or bereavement.
For some people transitions can pose complex challenges especially for people considered vulnerable.
For young people with eating disorders, transitional periods can be a time of increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem. During these times young people make transitions with little access to services or structured care and often struggle to maintain or re-engage with healthcare services.
Feedback from young people highlighted the need for more direct support to help bridge these potentially diffi cult times, which led to the Transitions Project.
The Transitions ProjectThe Transitions project was a 3 year e-mentoring project funded by the City Bridge Trust. The project provided support to young people aged 16-25 years with eating disorders living in London and who were experiencing diffi culties through transitional phases. Through e-mentoring by Beat volunteers and online support groups the project delivered targeted support at crucial times for young people.
Dealing with transitions talking to a recovery buddy who has experienced the same transition and knowing that it is normal to feel quite overwhelmed at fi rst but also knowing it does get better.
Funded by City Bridge Trust
5Embracing Change Transitions Project
What does this booklet offer? The Transitions project produced a wealth of personal experiences about the various challenges (practical and emotional) people can face during times of change. These provided insight into issues and possible strategies to help deal with them.
This booklet is the collective voice of our project participants. It is a pro-recovery tool offering information, guidance, personal experiences and tips to help navigate a variety of transitions.
A key message that the participants wanted to share was that:
There is no right or wrong in recovery, but there are different ways that work for different people. Recovery isnt always on your own timescale, but there are things you can do to help yourself on your journey.
Who is this booklet for?This booklet is for:
Anyone affected by eating disorders, including those who are recovering from an eating disorder, are caring for somebody with an eating disorder or are a professional working in the eating disorders fi eld
Young people aged 16-25yrs Young people facing diffi culties during transitional phases
About BeatBeat is the UKs leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders. We provide information and support:
Helplines which people can call, text or email Online support including information, message boards and
online support groups HelpFinder an online directory of support services
Contents 6 Employment 7 Changes 7 Challenges 7 Pressure on yourself 7 Pressure from others 8 Not knowing who to tell 9 Lunchtimes 10 Colleagues 10 Social situations 11 Case study
12 Further & Higher Education 13 Changes 13 Moving away from home 14 Challenges 14 Workload 15 New friends 16 Finances 16 Nights out 17 Lack of routine 18 Family and friends 19 Case study
20 Services 21 Changes 21 Leaving services 21 Moving between services 22 Sudden discharge 22 Monitoring and well-being advice 23 Independence 23 Reconnecting 24 Discharge disillusion 24 Milestones 25 Case study
26 Relationships 27 Changes 27 Challenges 27 Dating 28 Disclosure 28 Self-esteem 28 Support from partner 29 Case study
30 Useful Links & Contact Information Acknowledgements
Images produced by David WoodcockThe Transitions Project Team, BeatThe Transitions Project Recovery Buddies
Funded by City Bridge Trust
7Embracing Change Transitions Project
Starting a new job can be stressful. There are new people to meet, a new environment to get used to, new things to learn and, underpinning it all, a pressure to do well and make a good impression. Its therefore exactly the sort of transition that can present challenges to your recovery.
ChangesTwo key changes which present challenges are:
Feeling pressure to do well and make a good impression Adapting to a new social environment which may impact on your routine
particularly around meal times. It may involve social situations with food and drink that you fi nd diffi cult.
We hope that the examples and suggestions given below will provide some useful guidance on how to deal with these changes and ensure that they do not negatively impact your recovery.
ChallengesPressure on yourself
You may fi nd that starting a new job actually knocks your confi dence as you may feel that you have gone from being good at a previous job to feeling less competent and not really knowing anything. Remember that this negative view of yourself is all in your mind.
Vol unteer Top Tip: Request timely feedback What might be helpful is to ask for feedback at an early stage. Its no use if your fi rst formal review is three months into your probation period. By that point you may have convinced yourself you cant succeed and any positive feedback will be diffi cult to accept with that view. Instead, ask for feedback after a particular task or after a week or so. With constructive feedback, you will know that you will soon be on the right path.
Pressure from others
Some working environments may involve external pressure, such as demanding standards, deadlines and intimidating managers which can be hard to deal with. The feelings of stress that result may mean you fi nd it hard to focus, or feel a bit on edge and uncomfortable.
9Embracing Change Transitions Project
Volunteer Top Tip: SpaceA good way to deal with stress is to give yourself space. Everyone has something that helps them to relax whether this is listening to music, going for a short walk or even lying down and breathing slowly and deeply. Some of these techniques may be challenging at work but try and make the most of your lunch break to relax yourself. Its best to get out of the building, take a short walk and try and take your mind off the immediate stresses at hand.
Volunteer Top Tip: 45 minute ruleIf your work involves lots of meetings try the 45 minute meeting rule. Most meetings will typically be scheduled for 30 minutes or an hour, often resulting in back to back meetings for several hours.
In these situations, its all too easy to get stressed. Your brain is being forced from one topic to another, with no time in between to reflect or process actions. If you schedule meetings for 45 minutes, you can use the 15 minutes in between to relax, reflect and prepare yourself for the next meeting.
Volunteer Top Tip: Personal timeFind time to relax fully in the evenings or at weekends. At these times, you can find whatever positive outlet that helps you best like surrounding yourself with people that make you happy, taking part in some gentle exercise or doing voluntary work.
Not knowing who to tell
It may be the case that your new employer has to know about your eating disorder in order to allow you time off work for medical appointments. This may feel daunting and uncomfortable and you may find yourself wondering: Who do I tell? How will they react? How will it affect me?
Volunteer Top Tip: Line managerAt the very least make your line manager aware of the situation. You will probably find that they are a lot more understanding than you might expect.
Mental illness in the workplace is common and experienced line managers are likely to have worked with colleagues who have related conditions. Even if they havent, empathy and compassion are qualities line managers are chosen for so try not to worry.
Instead, make sure you let them know exactly what support you need- and even what you dont want and wont find useful.
Volunteer Top Tip: Human Resources (HR)Particularly if you work for a larger organisation, you may find that there is a formal Human Resources or occupational health team who can help you. This is not something to be worried about.
Human resources are there to provide a framework of policies and procedures related to the employment and support for staff.
Beat Top Tip: EmployerThe vast majority of employers will actively support staff to do well.
It is reasonable to expect that your e