Adapting Your Self-Care Routine When Going Through Big Life Changes
By Nikia Phoenix
In this article:
- Telling the difference between a ritual and a habit
- Hold on to what feels good—throw out what doesn’t
- Allow your self-care to evolve
- Disconnect to reconnect
- Surrender to the process
Change is not easy. It makes us uncomfortable and puts us on edge. The thought of it can cause a sharp pain in my gut and a lump in my throat. It means accepting the great unknown and trusting in the universe.
Last year made many of us face uncertainty. We thought we had everything planned out, but life in 2020 completely wrecked many of our plans. While a few have managed to adjust, many have not, instead holding onto routines that made sense in our old lives but don’t make any sense now that everything has shifted.
In the spirit of Marie Kondo, I’m urging you to clear out the clutter of your mind to allow room for evolving and accepting change. You can’t hold on to what’s no longer serving you. It’s time to adjust your routine and carve out new rituals that truly support your new normal.
There’s no right or wrong approach to making this change. Some of us are go-with-the-flow kind of people whose habits naturally evolve, while others are more resistant and need to put in a concentrated effort to change. I find I’m somewhere between the two. I know myself well enough to realize that in order to adapt to changes, I must first be open to shaking things up.
Here’s a good starting point. Ask yourself:
- How do you practice self care right now?
- How does it make you feel?
- Is it a ritual or a habit?
You may not be sure how to answer the last question. The difference between a ritual and a habit is that the ritual is devotional and has some underlying spiritual connection while habit is just routine. Renowned dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp says “the ritual erases the question of whether or not I like it. It’s also a friendly reminder that I’m doing the right thing.” You want to make sure that the actions you repeat on a regular basis fall into this category.
This for my hoarders and product junkies, and I am definitely talking to myself with this one too. I am guilty of taking solace in retail therapy. I am the person who will buy something just to try it, but then keep using the thing even if it doesn’t work for me because I don’t want to waste money. I’ve bought the latest feel-good thing, but lost interest when I found something new. In the meantime, the stuff started piling up and along the way I forgot about the thing I liked that actually got the job done.
Clean out what you don’t actually use to make room for what you need. It’s time to let go of that expensive, niche kitchen appliance you bought a few years ago. You can make room for something that gives you joy every day but is multi-functional, like the Heritage Store Aura Glow Gel Cream, which is a 3-in-1 toner, serum and moisturizer. Or trade that bright red lipstick you only wear on a first date for a great tried-and-true product, like the Avalon Organics Vitamin C lip balm.
When you’re cleaning out your space, ask yourself if what you’re trying to hold on to has a purpose. How does it make you feel? If negative feelings come up, trash it.
Perhaps you’ve been writing or saying daily affirmations. A few of those affirmations may have been specific to your career, but maybe you no longer have that exact job or you’re looking for a new one. A past affirmation helped you through, but now it’s time to create a new one for where you’d like to go from here. Write a truly inspirational affirmation that you believe wholeheartedly. You don’t need to abandon a practice just because its prior focus has changed—you can let your practices evolve along with your life.
In this time of social distance, many of us have leaned even harder into technology. We are on our phones more, checking the news more, and definitely on video chats way more.
Find ways to disconnect. Take a break from your devices by meditating and practicing mindfulness. Quieting that little voice in your head can be beneficial for regaining a sense of peace. Help your mind ease into relaxation by rubbing essential oils like peppermint or lavender on your temples. Our minds are so used to being on auto-pilot that they may not know how to slow down for meditation or adjust to this new rhythm of life.
When you can step away from all the noise in your mind, you’re able to reconnect with what your body is telling you. Is your back hurting? Do you need more rest? Your eyes may need relief from all the screen time, so try this Vision Optimizer supplement to support optical health. Are your shoulders tense from stress? Your body could be telling you it needs more movement to alleviate anxiety. Create time in your day when you tune out to tune into self.
Release your need to control every second of your existence. I say this with nothing but love: take a deep breath and stop micromanaging your life. You cannot control everything and you can’t plan for everything. Patience, humility, and hope are your guardian angels in this journey through uncertainty.
Certain circumstances in life may kick you where it hurts—being humble will allow you to learn the lessons you need to grow. Patience will teach you that growth takes time. Hope will remind you to keep your eye on the prize no matter what. When we try to hurry, manipulate, or force a situation, we only delay the inevitable.
What I am learning is that without change there is no growth. To get from being a kid to an adult, we had to experience those awkward teenage years with pimples on our faces and braces on our teeth. We had to go through those tough moments of learning to trust ourselves and being assertive in order to get to where we are now. None of that happened within an instant and look how much we’ve learned along the way.
By adjusting your self-care to accommodate the changes happening in your life, you can get there. Clear out the clutter of doubt. Surrender to the process. Your self-care rituals will bring you back to calmness when you get lost or feel distressed. As life coach Gabrielle Bernstein would say, trust that the universe has your back. Trust yourself.