This article offers ten self-care tips from an introvert’s perspective.

When the music changes, so does the dance‘, is an African proverb that captures the global landscape of our lives over the last few years. For far too many it’s still unfathomable how much has changed. There’s been a shift in the world, and we’ve all had to adapt to the changes happening around us.

Bible scripture that promotse spiritual mindfulness as a form of self-care.

The problem with being adaptable is that most humans don’t like change. We find security in what’s familiar. The problem is that life is always shifting around us. So too, we are constantly evolving and growing, whether we notice it or not.

When life calls for change, our first response is to push it away and deny it’s happening. Eventually, we must face the reality. It’s much like navigating the stages of grief – first, we experience shock and denial, anger, bargaining, and eventually, acceptance.

Marianne Williamson, in The Age of Miracles writes:

Internal work is sometimes done more easily while sitting there thinking than while busily running around. A frantic schedule helps us avoid taking a deeper look at ourselves, but by midlife, such avoidance simply does not and cannot work anymore.  Slower lifestyles, candles and soft music in the house, yoga, meditation, and the like are often signs of an internal regreening.”

For midlifers who value how they spend their days more at this life stage, Marianne’s words will resonate.

Although the dance may be different for each person, below are some ways to re-orient during tough times.

Ten self-care activities to help you cope during major life shifts.

  • Venture Outdoors

    Research confirms that your environment can affect your mood, nervous-, endocrine, and immune systems. It does so by impacting your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. This can make you feel anxious, sad, or helpless.

    At times when I experience intense loss it feels like the walls in my home are closing in on me. The rooms don’t seem to have enough air or space to hold the turbulant emotions seeking an escape. I desperately need to get outdoors into nature the brightness of the sun and skies.

    Nature scenes can reduce emotions like anger, fear, and stress. It also reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension, along with the production of stress hormones. So, get out into nature. Pack a picnic basket and your favorite drink and go for a scenic drive. Find a rest stop with a spectacular view and soak in the beauty that nature provides, freely!
  • Cultivate Inner Stillness and Mindful Breathing

    Meditation. Spiritual reflection. Quiet Time. It has many names. Essentially, it’s about cultivating inner stillness. Be present with yourself and gently allow your current emotions to surface. 

    Take several deep, slow breaths while allowing any feelings or thoughts to push through into the consciousness. Notice these with curiosity, not judgement.  Then, breathe out to gently release any pent-up tension.
  • Selected Digital Connection

    With social media at our fingertips, we are constantly bombarded with disturbing world events, crises, and catastrophes that threaten our inner peace. Select a brief time to catch up with such events to stay informed about what may concern your life. Then be intentional about limiting what information you allow to infiltrate your days.
  • Sufficient Rest

    Sufficient rest is a vital component of well-being. You simply cannot pour from an empty vessel.  You need to rest and refuel to give your best self to others. This includes family, parents, siblings, friends, and other social communities. Also, get sufficient sleep and implement some form of exercise that you enjoy.
  • Clear Boundaries

    Without clear boundaries, the line between doing things for others from a genuine desire or under a sense of compliance can become blurred. This can taint your relationships.   Establishing healthy limits starts with respecting your own values and needs. Doing so will help you shift unhealthy relationships and curb unrealistic expectations of others.
  • Mitigate Grief, Loss, and Trauma Triggers

    Loss is a natural part of life cycles, and therefore it is crucial to find effective ways to cope when it happens.

    After experiencing multiple losses at various life stages, I learned that memories of grief, loss, and trauma could be triggered for several reasons. Similar experiences can remind us of our experiences and evoke those memories and emotions.

    If we haven’t sufficiently dealt with our own pain, it will be challenging to deal with when it re-occurs, albeit in other forms.  Unresolved grief can impact our relationships and our behaviours and make it difficult to cope with life.

    Shelby Forsythia, author of Your Grief, Your Way, writes that re-grieving is an important part of life after loss. Rarely do we grieve someone or something just once. She adds that often, we return to an old loss with new insight, and a wider perspective, and create a deeper understanding and meaning about that loss. In other words, you’re engaging with the loss differently each time you revisit it.
  • Spiritual Support

    Complete a daily devotional that includes reading inspirational reading. Also, listen to uplifting music that helps you tap into deeper emotions that need release. It can be helpful to seek external support if you’re dealing with intense grief that seems too overwhelming to cope with on your own.

    A popular African proverb says, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. But adults need a village too. We all need support at times. There is no shame in that. We don’t need to carry our burdens alone, particularly when it becomes too heavy to bear.
  • Get Creative

    What is the one thing that makes you feel the most alive and joyful? It is the one thing you can do all day, every day, without getting bored.  Is it to sing, write, paint, cook, bake, or knit? Or, garden, take beautiful photographs, capture videos, arrange flowers, write music, screenplays, act, work with numbers, dance, teach, public speaking, or debate?
  • Laugh

    Laughter is one of the best pick-me-ups to lift the blues and as a form of self-care.  Watch comedies. Read funny stories. Act. Play pranks (safely). Do whatever gets you laughing aloud, uncontrollably, uninhibited. So much is beyond our control, and the future seems uncertain. However, we always have the freedom of choice about how to respond to our circumstances.  Choose to find joy in simple things. 
  • Express Gratitude

    Are you a cup-half-full or half-empty kind of person? Despite the multitude of challenges we currently face, pause to think about the most valuable things in your life. Relationships, health, mental clarity, a job, a comfortable home, running water and electricity. Or, the sound of birds in the early morning, or the beauty of a sunset. Does it fill you with a sense of peace and gratitude? 

    Try this – for the next seven days, list five things that you are grateful for each day!

What are your tried and tested ways to cope during major life shifts?

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