Last week, we delved into the secret of navigating life changes with ease, particularly the emotional whirlwind that comes with an empty nest. If you missed it, you can catch up here. Today, we will reveal secret number two...focus on self care. We're diving deeper into the specific self-care practices that transformed my experience from one of anticipated loneliness to a sanctuary of renewal.
Picking Up Activities You've Put Aside
One of the most liberating aspects of an empty nest is the gift of time. For years, many of us put aside personal interests to focus on the immediate needs of our families. But now, your day has some empty spaces, and it's your turn to play and fill them with things that fulfill you!
For me, it was getting back to serving others and volunteering. The act of service to others has always filled my heart but had been shelved due to time constraints. I also joined a theater cast that holds a show to raise funds for our local high school drama programs. Our fundraising efforts from the show allow the students to get involved in the theater program free of charge. The rehearsals also kept my mind off of those pesky lonely feelings. Starting these new activities again was a reconnection with a part of myself that had been dormant. The feelings of joy they brought were a vivid reminder that life, too, could be vibrant and fulfilling in this new chapter.
Taking Up a New or Expanded Exercise Regime
Physical well-being is intrinsically linked to emotional well-being. With more time at your disposal, expanding or even starting a new exercise regime can be incredibly empowering. Exercise releases endorphins, which act as natural mood lifters. They can help counteract feelings of loneliness or sadness that might creep in.
As a life-long advocate of fitness and wellbeing, exercise is not a new addition to my daily practices however, it helped me to cope with the transition. The gym workouts and dance classes kept me healthy and stress-free, and my hikes and yoga classes provided a space for mindfulness and relaxation. Together, they created a balanced routine that kept both my body and mind engaged.
Tending to Your Emotional and Mental Health
While activities and exercise are crucial, they are only part of the equation. Emotional and mental well-being require a different kind of attention. Mindful walking became a practice I integrated into my weekly routine. The simple act of walking in a peaceful setting, like a garden or a quiet beach, while being fully present, can be incredibly healing.
I also started focusing on pleasant thoughts and practicing positive self-talk. Whenever I caught myself slipping into a negative thought spiral, I would gently guide my mind back to a positive frame. Positive affirmations became my go-to, especially during moments when the house felt too quiet or the absence of my children weighed heavy on my heart.
The Power of Combined Practices
What made the real difference was not just the individual practices but the synergy they created when combined. Service filled my soul, exercise strengthened my body, and mindfulness practices like walking and positive self-talk fortified my emotional resilience. Together, they created a holistic self-care routine that turned my empty nest into a sanctuary of renewal.
Life changes are inevitable, but how we navigate them is within our control. The empty nest phase offers a unique opportunity for self-discovery and growth. By intentionally incorporating self-care practices into your routine, you can transform this potentially challenging time into a rewarding and enriching experience.
So, as you stand at the threshold of this new chapter, I invite you to step in with a sense of adventure and openness. Pick up that hobby you've missed, join that gym or yoga class you've been thinking about, and give yourself the emotional and mental nourishment you deserve.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
If you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed and want to get clarity on your most important life goal, let's chat. I'm offering a FREE clarity call where we'll identify the chief obstacle getting in your way and map out a plan to overcome it.
Stay tuned for the final part of this series where we'll explore how to maintain these self-care practices and ensure they evolve with you.
Sending gratitude and joy,
Dianne Hill Chief Wellness Warrior @ Inspired For Life!
I hope these insights and practices inspire you to embrace the empty nest phase as a time of renewal and self-discovery. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.