Sometimes when we go through major changes in life, our usual day-to-day routines will be totally disrupted, and we have to get used to a new schedule, new friends and colleagues, and a new environment. Perhaps you’ve experienced this while starting a new job, moving to a different city, going to college far away from home, or even getting married. And even though these are the times when we really need to prioritize self-care more than ever, it typically ends up falling by the wayside as we try to adjust to all of these drastic changes!
About two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I moved into our apartment in a brand-new city, and it’s been a whirlwind of changes since then. Furnishing the apartment, slowly getting involved with volunteer groups to meet new people, trying to work longer hours to replenish my savings after the moving costs, and finding my way around the city—well, it’s been a lot to take in.
During the first week, it was pretty much impossible to maintain any semblance of a healthy routine. Our new mattress was giving me awful back pain that persisted throughout the day, I couldn’t find my way anywhere without a GPS, and we were sitting on the floor to eat because our table and chairs hadn’t been shipped yet. I was frustrated with myself for not sticking to my usual healthy habits—after all, I was getting a fresh start in a new place, so I should be living my best life and starting off on the right foot! But with my schedule being all over the place, and my apartment somehow practically unfurnished yet messy at the same time, it was next to impossible to really nail down a healthy daily routine just yet.
But now that we’re well into week two, the apartment is slowly coming together, and my schedule has calmed down a bit, I’ve had time to get back to really taking care of myself. Here are a few self-care rituals that are serving me well through this transition:
1. Write in a journal.
Even just spending fifteen minutes with my journal can help me work through any anxious thoughts running through my head. I love making short, daily gratitude lists to remind myself of all the things I still have to be thankful for, even in the midst of this major transition. During transitionary times in life, dealing with higher levels of stress is completely normal, and journaling can help you manage that stress by getting it out of your head and down on paper instead.
2. Practice loving-kindness meditation.
Five to ten minutes of meditation is all that it takes to get into a better state of mind. “Metta” meditation is a specific type of meditation that is also often referred to as “loving-kindness” meditation. It’s all about cultivating a strong feeling of self love by mentally repeating affirmations to yourself such as “I am safe, I am happy, I am loved” while you meditate. It’s easy to feel lost and alone during transitionary times, but metta meditation can help you feel more grounded and secure. You can also visualize yourself with people you love in places you love.
3. Write letters to your future self.
Imagine yourself thriving in your new circumstances a few months to a year from now. Imagine what you’ll be doing each day, the new friends you’ve made, and positive changes that have occurred in your life. Visualizing a future full of beautiful possibilities can help you make smart choices on a daily basis to create the amazing future that you’ve envisioned. And in a year, you can look back at all those letters and see how far you’ve come!
4. Stay connected with family and friends.
You don’t have to go through a transitionary time alone. Your friends and family want to support you. I’ve been calling my parents a couple times each week, texting my sisters and friends every day, and two of my friends and I just started a long distance book club. We’re lucky to have so many options for staying connected these days, no matter where we are in the world.
5. Get back to your basic healthy habits.
My first week here, there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with all my usual habits, but now, I’m prioritizing cooking healthy, simple meals each day, getting enough sleep, and getting some exercise. Going for a long walk outside in the sunshine can work wonders! I also suggest limiting your screen time—you don’t need to be dealing with FOMO right now. A transitionary period is the perfect time to focus on YOU and how you can change your life for the better.
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