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Why self-care strategies are key to embracing change

Updated: May 1, 2022

As humans, we are wired to resist one of the only givens offered in our life experience, and that is making decisive changes. Change creates uncertainty. Uncertainty evokes a stress response. Our stress response leads us to fight, flight, or flee the change. The change is resisted. We continue in our bubble of certainty that aims to keep us safe. This is normal. This is okay. From this, you can see that change is something that expends energy, not replenishes it.

We also desire a fulfilled life. One that has deep meaning and purpose. This is also what it means to be human on a deeper and more loving level. To foster this, we often need to make changes outside our perceived norm to make it happen.

That is why I propose to any client I work with that from the beginning, it is essential to navigating how making changes can happen in an aligned, safe and activated manner. At the centre of that process is self-care. We need to empower ourselves with a solid foundation to self soothe through the emotional ride that change takes us on.

Leading up to the change

Leading up to my most recent interstate move, I started to navigate how I could support myself with it around 6 months before the move. I had known for quite some time that I would most likely take this step. Still, I also knew that this would bring to the surface a lot of fears from the security blanket I had created in my life in Melbourne. Based on this, I was open to not making a final decision until 6 weeks before I needed to activate the move, ending my lease.

1. Journaling

I acknowledged and explored the breadth of my feelings throughout this time through journaling. Any fears that arose, I didn't bottle them down. Instead, I journaled about them, why I believed they were occurring, what they were related to, and the options presented within and outside the fears. With this approach, I moved through the feelings that arose rather than sit in them for a long time. I also explored what would stay the same or the alternatives that could occur by making this change.

2. Shared these thoughts with someone

I have become a big proponent of sharing my fears with trusted friends and family. I believe if you can give voice to the things that arise, then those thoughts no longer own you. Instead, they are set free. It can be scary going there with others. Honestly, it was something I never used to do. I found a way to move through it while ensuring I took care of myself in this more vulnerable state. How did I manage this? It wasn't something I needed to take on. I would anchor into what is most important to me by sharing and hearing others' perspectives (as an invitation-only). I also allow myself the freedom to change my mind at all times.

3. Take proactive action

I am a bit of a planner, and I like to spread out the tasks that need to be done to ensure I maintain balance. There is nothing worse than leaving things to the last minute and putting it in the 'too hard basket.' When I was leaving my place, I knew that there were things to be sold, items to be delivered interstate, activities with friends to be enjoyed, events to be celebrated, and tasks to be executed for the next chapter. A substantial part of me wasn't ready to start taking action. Still, I knew that it would become too overwhelming if I didn't. That wasn't something I needed on top of the general overwhelm that naturally comes with this process. Suppose you can find a way to take a little action each day. In that case, you are taking the emotional investment and power back to support this being a successful process.

4. Acceptance

Things will change. That is part of the process. Regardless if you take action or not. Finding a place of acceptance will free you and your heart from the burden that often comes with change. Letting go isn't easy. I have gone from being extremely controlling, to learning to let go, especially in this pandemic. I had a set projection for my life, but you never know what is around the corner. Suppose you can pause and connect to some deep long breaths. In that case, it will help separate you from the emotion passing through and eventually support letting it go. You are finding a space for acceptance of what will be. Do not pressure yourself in this phase. This practice will evolve each and every time you harness it. Just know it is an option for you.

Once the change has occurred

I have learned in this time that self-care is critical once you are in the process of change or it has occurred. Healthy realisations of self-care, not problematic or unhealthy habits.

Since moving back, my body and emotions have crashed. I couldn't take it anymore. I decided to dedicate this week to sleep and self-care. Self-care for me this week included:

  • Sleeping for as long as I needed

  • Attending an infrared sauna

  • Spending time with family

  • Reading

  • Walking by the beach

  • Massage

  • Cooking healthy and nourishing dishes

  • Mediation

  • Bubble baths

  • Seeing friends

  • Taking dogs on a walk

  • Yoga

  • Sunbathing

  • Nice aromas

  • Cleaning

  • Watching shows

  • Minimising stress-inducing activities, i.e. watching the news

I have been sleeping for so long. Each day, I have committed to doing 1 or more actions to decompress my nervous system. My massage triggered so many tears, harbouring my emotions from the various things that arose in my time leading up to my departure. I said no to activities that I knew didn't facilitate my rejuvenation.

This is the missing piece we often forget to do in our lives. Prioritise honouring our nervous system, which holds so many messages and energy to support us to function optimally and live our lives well. If there is one takeaway you have is to create your own nervous system restoration kit. It may or may not include some of my suggestions, find what enhances your own personal flow state. What is important is that you have a tool kit ready to nurture the changes and experiences within your days. It will support you to move beyond surviving change to actually thriving.

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