How to Practice Self-Care During a Major Life Change

During the shuffle of a new job, big move, or any other major change, regularities of your life often get scattered, or worse, forgotten altogether. So, when you’re going through a major life shift, it’s important to look after your health and wellness — emotionally, mentally as well as physically.

I know because I’m moving across the country from Jacksonville, Florida to Chicago in a few weeks, and I have no doubt I’m going to have to adjust to a “new normal.” At the bare minimum, I’ll have to adapt to the pace of a thriving metropolis, as compared to living in a more suburban city, and I’ll also have to make many other small changes in regard to how I normally do things. Buying groceries in an amount that I am physically able to carry is currently at the forefront of my concerns, trivial as that may sound. Essentially, I’m going to have to switch up my routine, as well as the tiny tasks that are a part of my every day.

We all are prone to developing a specific set of routines — even if we’re not consciously aware of them. If these routines get disrupted, it can throw us off-balance in an unhealthy way. That’s why change is often difficult for people to cope with. If someone is already experiencing discomfort due to a big change, and then they let go off their normal practices to cope with it, their experience can deteriorate rapidly.

If you’re experiencing a life disruption or major life change, how do you maintain your routines and practice self-care? Well, it starts by recognizing what your routines are.

There are three main aspects of a routine that impact your self-care: socialization, physical health, and emotional well-being.

Tip #1 Amp Up Your Socialization Skills (This is the fun part!)

If you’re a social person, and you’re moving to a new city, for example, socialization will be a crucial part of your experience. Big cities tend to swallow people up and make them disappear. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who said, “You literally become invisible walking down the street, which can be kind of cool at times, but it’s so important to have a go-to squad of friends.” Cities can make you feel alone, so it really is crucial during a time of such transition to have those relationships to lean on.

If you don’t have an established group of friends in an area, there are tons of ways to meet people. Go out to bars, parks, coffee shops, yoga studios, or events around town and meet as many people as you can. Gather a group together from your work or classes and make it a goal to get to know people. You’ll have a thriving network of friends and peers before you know it.

Tip #2 Take Optimal Care of Your Physical Health

In addition to socialization, physical health is something that should always be a top priority. On an elementary level, make sure you are able to maintain your usual diet and exercise routine. Find a gym near your new apartment, house or workplace, perhaps take advantage of how walkable most major cities are, and don’t let the change disrupt your health and fitness goals.

Part of the allure of a new place, and a larger city especially if this is a part of your transition, is all of the amazing food that awaits your arrival! While this is a fabulous part of living in a big city, it can hurt the number on your scale as well as the number in your bank account. Food can contribute to wonderful experiences, but just be mindful of how much and what you’re consuming (including drinks!). Remember: enjoy yourself, but enjoy everything in moderation.

Medical care is also a part of your physical health that should not be forgotten. Make sure you are keeping up with your health through regular check-ups, regardless of where you are and what your situation is. Find a primary physician, a dentist and/or eye doctor nearby, so you have a go-to caregiver, in the event that something in your health goes awry.

Tip #3 Be Tender, Loving & Supportive of Your Own Emotional State

The third, and debatably most important part of self-care, is emotional well-being. As previously mentioned, change can be trying, even if it’s an exciting change. It’s important to know yourself and what you need. The biggest part of this is being able to lean on others, and accepting help when you need it.

Don’t try to tackle change all by yourself. Accept the support others offer. For example, if you are struggling to figure out the transportation system in a new city, lean on those with experience to help guide you. If you are starting a new program for school, seek advice from students who have come before you. You can also reach out to teachers who are there solely to provide the resources you need to succeed.

All of these examples are based on the situation of moving to a new place, but that’s not the only major life change that individuals experience. Whether you’re dealing with a loss, starting a new job, preparing to have a baby, or whatever else is bringing on change in your life, if you maintain the kind of socialization that supports you, pay attention to your physical health and emotional wellbeing, your transition will be much smoother and you’ll feel empowered in the long run.

Even massive life changes can be manageable; you just have to find ways to adjust your routine to fit your new situation, whatever it may be.

Madison Yauger

Staff Writer: Millennial Mindset

After earning her bachelor's degree in North Carolina, Madison is leaving the comforts of what she knows, heading to graduate school to begin the transition from student to working adult. As a millennial, she relates to the opinions and mindsets of those in her generation. Understanding that there are a lot of changes occurring in the world right now, she wishes to be a part of the positive ones. In the midst of becoming a true and functioning “adult” she hopes to take readers through the in’s and out’s of what is often not said about transitioning from school into ’the rest of your life.' She enjoys sharing her insights, reported findings and general knowledge about what’s going on in the world and - more specifically - how that looks through the lens of a young millennial.

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