6 Ways to Care for Your Body & Mind during times of Change
When we go through times of big change and transition, however exciting it can be (new job, new house, new baby etc!), it can also be both physically and mentally challenging and even draining. This is a totally normal response to all the new things that is happening and sometimes you just need a bit of extra support to keep yourself strong and grounded.
Here are 6 ways to care for your body and mind during times of change:
1. Body - Sleep/Rest
You may feel physically more tired than usual so it’s important to try to get lots of good sleep and physical rest. This might mean going to bed earlier than usual or getting up a bit later, if possible, to allow yourself some physical downtime. It might also mean taking 5 or 10 minutes out during the day to just sit down, close your eyes and breathe deeply. On the weekends (or during the week, if you can), it might mean taking a 30 minutes power nap in the middle of the day! You might not feel like you fully fall asleep here but set the alarm for 30 minutes, put on some relaxing music, and just lie down and close your eyes. It can really make a big difference to just get a little bit of a physical time-out.
2. Body - Eat Well
When we are going through lots of change it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet. There might be new routines due to the change which we haven’t quite figured out yet and which mean that we have less time to cook. If you are feeling physically tired and drained, then you might not feel motivated to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We might be craving more processed food and takeaway than usual, cos it’s easy and feels comforting. It’s totally ok to do that once in a while, but it can be important to acknowledge that it’s part of the transition ‘in-between’ period and perhaps not something that you want to make a habit out of. Instead, you can maybe do some batch cooking so you have easy-to-go meals ready but don’t need to cook every day. Look for healthy, hearty ready meals in the stores rather than the over-processed ones. It’s also a good idea to plan out your meals for the week - even deciding when you are getting takeaway - both so that you have a plan ready and don’t need to spend too much energy on it, but also to maybe help you feel less guilty when you get that takeaway - it was part of the plan all along!
3. Body - Exercise and Fresh Air
I know, this might be the last thing on your mind during this busy, hectic, everything-up-in-the-air time + you’re exhausted! However, even a short, slow walk outside can help you feel refreshed and more tuned in. Or, a short, brisk walk in the evening can boost your energy as well as help you get a better sleep. If the weather is really uninviting you can also just do a short yoga flow or a few stretches - try the cat/cow pose, the Happy Baby pose or Child’s pose - just to mention a few of my own gentle favourites. Even just a bit of movement can help you re-connect with yourself and your body as well as make you feel more relaxed and refreshed overall. Listen to what your body needs.
4. Mind - Limit Distractions
So, you are going through major changes and you probably have a lot on - things you need to do, things you need to organise, things you need to remember so your mind is constantly on and buzzing! And it’s tiring! When we are in this state, we tend to add more distractions to the mix: Constantly flicking through social media, mindlessly numbing out with YouTube and Netflix and multi-tasking through absolutely everything. So we are spending our limited resources (time and energy) on things that aren’t that important and that maybe doesn’t even bring us a lot of joy! You may think you are relaxing with these things, but you are most likely just draining yourself even more by spreading yourself thin. Try being more present and just doing one thing at a time. Limit your time on social media, spend more time doing nothing. Listen to music or try meditating. Slow down and limit the distractions.
5. Mind - Start Journaling
If you find it hard to do ‘nothing’, then you can experiment with journaling. I think journaling is an amazing way to tune in with yourself and your needs, as well as process all the emotions, thoughts, feelings, sensations etc that are brewing and bubbling up. I follow Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages’ where I write 3 pages long-hand every morning. The point of this is not to write something specific or amazing, it is simply the act of placing your hand and pen on the paper and writing for 3 pages. You can write about anything, everything and nothing. If you are not used to writing it can take some time to get used to but what it does is that it clears out all the noise and distractions in your head and gives you more clarity. It helps you see more clearly what you need, what you need to let go of and what’s really going on for you right now. Don’t read back over the pages - because you will just start judging it and that’s not the point. Just do them and let them go. It’s a safe space for you to explore and express yourself. You can also use journaling to process specific feelings or situations or even ask for guidance on something. Journaling is a great tool to connect you to your Inner Wisdom, so take the time out to listen.
6. Mind - Positive Input
As much as I said that it can be a good idea to limit social media, YouTube and Netflix - if you are still tempted, then try to choose something uplifting and positive. That means a ‘YES’ to cute cat videos and adorable puppies but - don’t overdo it! Maybe take 15-20 minutes to watch something fun that makes you laugh, smile and feel good, but don’t spend your whole day on it. Choose to watch just one episode or movie on Netflix and choose something that is inspiring and positive and that might motivate you to keep going and feel good about yourself! I can recommend Brené Browns ‘the Call to Courage”, the documentaries “Heal” or “I am Maris” or Tony Robbins “I am not your Guru”. Or a bit of “Friends” always puts me in a better mood! Choose to reach out on social media to those people who are supportive, kind and caring and take onboard their well-wishes, love and encouragement. Surround yourself with positivity and beauty - buy yourself flowers or treat yourself to a pedicure. You deserve and need some positive input right now.
Remember to be kind to yourself - you are going through an intense time right now!
It’s not going to last forever so give yourself some credit! It’s ok that you are feeling tired, it’s ok that you are sleeping more than usual, it’s ok that you don’t feel 100% clear on what’s happening or where you are going. That’s all totally ok. It’s all part of the process.
Be kind to yourself - you are doing great!