Mothering, mid-life transition and menopause – doesn’t sound like a fun mix, does it? It can be a stressful time, and you definitely need to take care of yourself, but you also have to have fun!
Now that my kids have flown the coop, I’m rediscovering the hobbies and activities I used to love doing as a child, and exploring new ones. For instance, when I was in high school, I remember spending hours making Bristol board-sized collages . Yet I hadn’t done it in over forty years. Two years ago I discovered SoulCollage® (www.soulcollage.com), so much fun and a lot of self-discovery. I also joined a Sweet Adelines chorus 8 years ago, and that led to singing with a barbershop quartet and lots of fun performances. I hadn’t been on a theatre stage since high school, but a recent musical theatre experience of ABBA songs made me feel happy and alive.
FIND YOUR INNER CALM through small daily creative and soulful practices at mid-life. Take classes, experiment, find out what you are passionate about – I bet you it’s something creative!
1. Get Creative and Flow –doing any artistic or creative activity using your right brain is the #1 way to slow down and love your life: get in the FLOW. (Flow is when you lose track of time, and are totally absorbed by doing something you love). Try journaling, SoulCollage®, writing poems; tell your stories to your grandchildren, take up crocheting, gardening, floral arranging, pottery classes, piano lessons. You’ll stay young longer.
2. Listen to your Intuition: get in touch with your wise inner self; to cultivate this, allow more down time for getting in touch with your intuition. Journaling is a great way to do this. Or get out into the woods, take a walk, and breathe in the natural world around you. Pause and appreciate life.
3. Love your body: move your body every day; join a Zumba or Salsa class. Find out what foods make you calm, (greens or protein for example vs sugar and caffeine). Make friends with your emotions through a body scan and/or relaxation exercises (see link on side-bar for Musemother’s Relaxation CD). Listen to the small signals before they become bigger, i.e. don’t let minor health issues or emotional upsets get swept under the rug.
4. Be Mindful: the best anti-stress medicine is to use your breath in Yoga, Tai-Chi, Chi Gong or Meditation for calming the parasympathetic nervous system. New neuroscience research shows that when we meditate, the areas of the brain associated with stress slow down and the parts associated with feelings of joy, peace and compassion become active. It’s another way to experience FLOW in the body… and it’s as simple as doing some alternate nostril breathing or yoga, or focusing on a centering breath technique.
5. Play with friends! Energize yourself. Are you a couch potato? the weather is nice, get outside, play soccer, walk in nature or go lawn bowling. Remember what you used to love doing –singing and dancing? Join a theatre club or chorus (sharing fun activities with others is a known endorphin booster).
Bonus tip: One more habit you can build in to feel better, is to change your negative self-talk and fears by working with affirmations. When you change your thoughts and words, you change your beliefs and core vibration. Here are a few samples to get you started:
Sample positive affirmations for well-being (make up your own, write them down and read out loud):
1. I am centered, happy, and healthy.
2. I am worthy and deserving of love.
3. I fully embrace my personal power.
4. Each part of my life is balanced with my need to rest and rejuvenate.
5. I joyfully embrace my creativity.
Creative Self-Care = CALM: Creative, Artistic, Loving, Mindful.