Complex changes occur at midlife. This period of metamorphosis is ripe for beginnings and endings. Children leave home and aging parents need attention. Illnesses and health challenges surface. Careers and work that once fit perfectly suddenly feel unfulfilling. The strong marriage we took for granted is on the rocks, and either we need to fix it or file for divorce. And all these changes seem to be happening simultaneously.
The changes aren’t just occurring in our outer life. We morph as we approach menopause. A cascade of internal hormonal fluctuations impacts body and mind. Brain fog replaces mommy brain. While our daughters face the freshman 15, we battle the menopausal 10. Anxiety, moodiness and insomnia increase and libido decreases. We’re literally riding a perimenopausal merry-go-round, but instead of horses we’re sitting on erratically shifting levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that leave us stressed, harried and feeling like things are falling apart.
The good news is internal and external changes are a spiritual wakeup call from the universe. As the ground beneath us shifts, we’re offered an opportunity to enter a new stage of being, to start fresh, reinvent, tap into our inner light and grow & glow.
The down side of this new dawning… it’s disconcerting and terrifying. Like a colt taking its first wobbly steps, we feel doubtful and uncertain. The old strategies we used to navigate our life and feel better aren’t working. That unsettled feeling forces us to ask tough, probing questions about our identity like: “Who exactly am I,” “Where do I fit in,” and “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
As I mentioned in my previous post, I call it the Chick Effect. At midlife the cozy, comfortable nest egg we built starts to crack. Internally, we feel claustrophobic, confused and restless and long for space, meaning and purpose. There’s a desire to evolve from the inside out into something fresh, substantial and new, which sets the stage for shell shock. Change occurs in our external world to crack us open so we can rebirth, rebuild and reinvent ourselves.
Here’s some more good news. This isn’t your mother’s mournful midlife. Rest and retire? Forget about it! Midlife is a fresh beginning or it can be if you harness change to create a new life you love.
Forty years ago when my oldest brother left for college, my Mom felt her reason for being (i.e. Motherhood) was ending. All she could do was mourn. She’d go down to my brother’s room, play his records and cry. In contrast, when my daughter left for college I was sad and emotional, but I also felt celebratory. Both of us were starting exciting adventures. Suddenly, I had more space and time on my hands to feed my urges and desires — to make a difference in the world, work on my business and take care of myself.
Trust me, while change feels crazy and uncomfortable it’s exactly what you need to grow and glow. When we face the fears ignited by change and rise we build self-confidence and can leverage this power to write our next glorious chapter.
Life reinvention is like an operation, when you’re on the gurney, there’s no such thing as minor surgery. Yes, change is turbulent and emotional, but if you listen to your heart you’ll move in the right direction and build a fulfilling second act. Like an Oreo cookie, the good stuff is in the middle. There’s a world filled with sweet possibilities, waiting for you.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to use during periods of change to help you soar.
1. Don’t Judge Yourself
Refrain from blaming or beat up yourself when things go wrong. Self-criticism just creates stress. Rather than trying to be perfect accept yourself flaws and all. When your self-loathing demon surfaces remember everyone is imperfect and makes mistakes. It’s part of being human.
2. Don’t Run From Feelings
In the face of rapid change it’s tempting to ignore uncomfortable feelings and emotions and go right into problem solving mode or try to distract yourself to feel better. Instead of fleeing, keep the faith. There’s nothing wrong, this is just the way life is. Slow down. Take time to integrate and learn from this experience. Ask yourself: What is life teaching me, and how can I heal myself?
3. Don’t Ignore Self-care
During periods of intense change it’s tempting to skip meals, live on fast food or skimp on sleep and exercise. While you may feel you don’t have the time, during periods of change self-care is needed more than ever.
1. Discover Your Seat of Ease
When you feel harried and stressed from all that change, relax your body and mind. Take three deep breaths. Visualize your body being filled with light, and notice how your energy shifts. Remind yourself: Every day, every moment is an opportunity to relax and let life flow.
2. Practice Self-compassion
The essence of self-compassion is treating yourself the way you would a good friend. Be kind to yourself rather than judgmental. Recognize when you’re suffering and give yourself what you need. Remind yourself that suffering is part of life, we all experience fear, challenges and change.
3. Connect With the Divine
Intense change is a spiritual invitation to connect with the Divine and discover your soul. There are as many ways to connect with God as there are people on the planet. Energy work such as yoga, Tai Chi or Reiki offers a powerful roadmap to wake up your spirit. You can explore the religion you were brought up with or try a new spiritual path. The key to connecting with the Divine is: Let go of trying to control everything in your life and make space for God to sail your ship.
Need help navigating change? Let’s connect and explore how you can create a life filled with grace, beauty and ease. To book a free consult click HERE.