An Essential for Navigating Midlife
If I had to identify one component that underlies every successful midlife transition, it would be Self-Care – or as one client of mine describes it, “Radical Self-Care!”
Self-Care is the act of honoring your own well-being in all the areas of your life in order to build energy reserves to deal with the unexpected situations and emergencies that naturally arise as part of living. Navigating the midlife passage demands pocketfuls of energy, so if you don’t actively focus on your personal well-being, you’ll lack the necessary foundation for constructing a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Regrettably, Self-Care is not a one-stop shopping affair, where you complete a simple transaction and then you’re all set. True Self-Care requires your on-going regard – daily! If you’re like most women at midlife, you’re already engaged on numerous fronts like: going to work, maintaining a household, raising kids, caring for aging parents – not to mention suffering from bad news burn-out along with trying to enjoy your life while you invent a more satisfying one.
“How,” might you ask, “can I possibly add one more thing – especially every day?” You don’t have to (life is all about choice), but when you bring attention to your own well-being, your rewards will arrive in direct relationship to that concentration. As you read these words, perhaps there is a little voice in your head that whispers, “But that’s selfish!” If so, simply remember the over-used, but accurate analogy that when flying, you must put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping anyone else. Only when you attend to your own well-being, can you be of genuine help to others.
So where to begin in the midst of those days when the phone rings as you’re rushing out the door for your evening book group, while a quick look reveals the call is from your mother who is scheduled for surgery to get a new lead for her pacemaker; meantime your son screams he can’t find his book for his social studies homework, and you distractedly trip over the Barbie your daughter left by the door. Yikes!
Self-Care? Right now? How? You can take a deep breath, and then take another one. Focusing on your breathing helps shift your awareness from all the mental “to do’s” into your physical body. Then you can ask yourself, “What do I WANT right now?” You may, or may not receive an answer, but at the very least you’ll be in a slightly calmer state of mind and you will also have embarked on the practice of conscious Self-Care.
When we develop any competency like Self-Care, we travel through four distinct phases: 1. Unconscious Incompetency – unaware you lack Self-Care -> 2. Conscious Incompetency – aware you lack Self-Care -> 3. Conscious Competency – consciously develop Self-Care -> 4. Unconscious Competency – automatically practice Self-Care.
Because Self-Care provides the energy for empowering meaningful, midlife transitions, I’ve been thinking about creating a Midlife Self-Care Starter Kit. I’d LOVE to know if this idea appeals to you, and if you’d be interested in downloading such a kit to kick-start a conscious Self-Care practice and bring more energy into your days.
Love to hear from you,