Create a Daily Rhythm: Transition Self-Care Strategy #2
Create a Daily Rhythm: Transition Self-Care Strategy #2
When you’re in a time of significant transition, you probably have noticed that a sense of daily rhythm has vanished. What once worked doesn’t any longer. Whether you’ve recently retired, experienced the loss of a loved one five years ago, or your last child is leaving for college soon, transitions bring a disruption to our schedules and routines. Down suddenly becomes up, and up is down. We feel we have no sense of control of anything anymore.
Life transitions are inevitable. So is the chaos and disordered emotions associated with them. And, during a time of transition when it feels we have no control over our lives, taking good care of ourselves is the last thing we may want to do. Yet, it’s one of the most important steps we can take in creating order and a daily rhythm.
Transition Self-Care Strategies can help manage the transition.
Last post, I talked about the first Transition Self-Care Strategy–Remember Who You Are. Today, this post will focus on the second Transition Self-Care Strategy–Create A Daily Rhythm.
Know that there really is no order or hierarchy to these four transition self-care strategies. All can be of equal significance. And you may discover some more helpful than others. What supports you in your transition is as individual as your transition is to you. The key is to explore what works for you.
Here we go.
Create a Daily Rhythm. In other words, develop some structure to your day.
Discovering a structure for your day or your week provides an important framework to how you spend your time. And this framework can help you become grounded in the present which is key for transformation and moving through the chaos of a transition. Plus, creating a daily rhythm gives you back a sense of control, something that is often ripped away from us when life changes.
How can you create a daily rhythm? It really doesn’t take much. And it’s really important not to do everything listed below just to create a perception of busyness. That only leads to overwhelm and more fatigue, and in the end does more harm than good.
Rather, start slow. Take tiny steps. Be gentle with yourself. What’s just one thing you can do today?
Here are some suggestions to Create a Daily Rhythm:
- Develop a new morning practice. Perhaps you wake up, feed the dogs, make coffee, let the dogs out, and then turn on the TV. Yes, you will still have to do the dogs and coffee thing, but perhaps you decide to read every morning for just 5 minutes. Or, maybe you decide to color in a coloring book for 15 minutes, or pray, or meditate or sing. One client I worked with said that after she retired she made a vow with herself to take a shower every morning and put on make-up. Even though she no longer was heading out the door to work, creating this daily rhythm made her feel significant again to herself.
- Instead of a morning practice, maybe the afternoon or evening is more to your liking. Say that you work during the day but come home to an empty house in the evening. So instead of driving the same way home every day, maybe you begin to take the long way home. Maybe every evening before bed, you journal three gratitudes.
- Develop a weekly practice also helps create a daily rhythm. Simply by meeting a good friend for lunch or dinner once a week brings order to your week and therefore you day. Maybe you return to a weekly spiritual gathering for support. Maybe it’s a weekly walk in the local park. Merely scheduling a regular meet up onto your calendar and into your life helps give you control.
- Set new boundaries around people, events, situations that feel unmanageable at this time. What people simply drain you? What place do you dread going to right now? Is there an event that you know has the potential to create inner chaos? You are in control here. You may need to decline a date for coffee because conversation with a particular individual emotionally drains you. You may need to avoid going to a favorite park because the memories there are too intense right now.
The key is that the structure and boundaries don’t need to be complicated or permanent. Instead, you are simply seeking something that provides ease and a rhythm for your day. And again, start slow.
Not sure what your daily rhythm might look like?
Your journal is a good place to explore some questions about creating a daily rhythm. Always know that when you journal, you do not have to write in complete, grammar-perfect sentences. Sometimes when we’re overwhelmed a bulleted list or list of three is all you need. Even clustering or mind-mapping is a good journal technique to try when the mind just feels too chaotic to write linearly.
Journaling prompts can include:
- What is a good morning structure for me to follow for now?
- What is a good afternoon or evening structure for me to follow?
- What might I need to give up during this time?
- What structures give me a sense of control?
- How does journaling or adding in a creative activity daily or weekly sound right now?
- What boundaries do I need to set in order to limit overextending my emotional self?
Remember: What supports you in your transition is as individualized as your transition is to you.
If creating a daily rhythm helps you feel more grounded and more in control of something, that’s great. If not, that’s OK too. Also know that if the transition becomes too overwhelming, you may need to reach out to a professional counselor, spiritual director, or therapist for guidance and support. Asking for help is an important way of taking back some control.
I’d love to hear more about how you create a daily rhythm for yourself. What works for you? Just as importantly, what doesn’t work? Feel free to comment below, or connect with me here.
Next blog post: Transition Self-Care Strategy #4: Discover Your Supports.