Guest post by Mary Harp at Nature + Nurture
“We’re moving again…” This seems to have been our annual announcement to extended family for the past several years, for reasons only God fully knows. Whether opportunity called or circumstances confused us, it’s clear that God has directed our steps – all over the world!
While my attitude during these times wasn’t always stellar, I definitely learned a lot from moving 4 times in 5 years with two littles in tow. Whether you’re facing a move or other major life transition – new baby, a child leaving home, an illness, new job, or something different – times like these demand a focus on the basics.
It’s funny how stressful times can make us forget about our basic human needs. When these needs get pushed to the back burner, we will have to pay for it in the long run. I learned this lesson the hard way and have realized the importance of self-care and going back to the basics.
Let’s look at each of these areas in detail.
This is often one of the first things that gets pushed to the back burner (guilty!), but it is the most necessary for our more fragile state during life changes. If we’re not grounded in the Word, Satan will use that opportunity to make life as stressful as possible!
This reminds me of Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Although it may not be convenient, taking time to seek Him daily sets the groundwork for all your needs to be met, no matter what difficulties arise.
Having your mind set in the right place will make everything easier and could make all the difference between a smooth transition or a meltdown. In my opinion, this is the most important thing on the list! Read this post on the importance of keeping your mind focused on God.
When you’re going through a major life change, you have to accept that things won’t resemble normality for a little while. Or possibly and long while. And that is okay.
It’s easy to get used to doing things a certain way and having high standards for the way things are “supposed to be.” If you want to stay sane during transition, throw these standards out the window! Different and chaotic is okay for a time. Enjoy the ride.
Again, this is one part of our lives that usually suffers when we are extremely busy. But this busyness is even more reason to get extra shut-eye. Your body needs time to repair and regenerate, and your mind needs time to process all the changes. Don’t sacrifice this one! Read this post if you aren’t sleeping well and need some help getting back on track.
When I experienced a busy season in the past, letting my food intake slip was a struggle. I would “forget” to eat a meal, not be able to finish because I needed to nurse the baby, or ignore my stomach growling because I needed to finish packing a box. Over time, I believe I had some nutrient deficiencies which led to other physical problems. Funny enough, a lack of food can actually cause you to gain weight because your metabolism slows – your body thinks food is scarce and hangs on to everything it can!
When you’re using extra energy to get everything done, you need even more food and nourishment than usual. If you have to set a timer on your phone to remember to eat regular meals, do it! Let someone else take care of what needs to be done so you can sit for 20 minutes in peace while you eat.
Side note: It can be very tempting to make life easier by ordering takeout, etc. during stressful times. If you must do this, try to limit it. Instead, focus on eating simpler meals. Grab a rotisserie chicken at the deli and make a quick salad and baked potato. Throw together a smoothie for breakfast with fruit, greens, and kefir. Healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming! One of the best ways to get lots of nutrients into your body is by juicing fruits and vegetables. Have fresh juice alongside that slice of pizza – it will help more than you realize!
Schedule in time to just “do nothing.” Even if you’re in a time crunch, taking personal time for rejuvenation and enjoying family is a must. Watch a funny movie, go to the park, or read a book while soaking in the tub. This will improve your mental outlook and make the challenges that much easier!
I talked to a lady one day who said that every time they had a major life change such as a move, they went into “Survival Mode.” I think this is a great idea! Do only the bare minimum when it comes to household chores, cutting out anything unnecessary. Use disposable everything, hire a laundry or housecleaning service – do what you’ve gotta do! This post on how to stop doing chores will inspire even more ideas.
You can also simplify in other areas – paring down your wardrobe, getting rid of toys, easing up your schedule… be creative! All of these things will help cut down on stress and create space to focus on the things that matter most.
If you’re going through a transition or anticipate one in the future, I pray you’ll keep the BASICS in mind to help you through!
What have you learned during periods of transition in your life?