Well, it’s the last ‘official’ week of summer and we ‘ve got our minds set on routines and finding a new normal. I can already feel a chill in the night air and in my latitude I’ve noticed the darkness finds us a little earlier in the evening. I love autumn. As a former homeschooler, fall brings fresh new beginnings. On to new things! A new and better you!! I want to help you find your new normal! Here are five midlife habits to incorporate into your routine that will also nourish your soul and help you to refocus and even redefine yourself in your midlife years.
I have been craving routine and ‘normalcy’ the last month or so. Feeling ‘out of sorts’, I finally realized that I’m out of my usual routines and it’s throwing me off. I’m ready to slide back into a routine and some needed self-discipline. Can I get an ‘amen’? I need a little kick in the rear to restart my sense of accomplishment. Who’s with me?
Making new habits takes some time, but after they’re established, they require no brainpower. ZERO. They’re automatic. I don’t have to schedule them or remember to do them. Hello!? Anything I don’t have to use precious brainpower on is soooo worth it. Sign me up.
So I thought I’d offer some suggestions and routines in case you might be feeling a little odd yourself. Your nest may be newly empty, even just during the day, and you’re looking to fill some newly empty hours.
When I maintain these routines, my days and weeks suddenly feel productive. I am in tune with myself, and more importantly, I can see what God is doing around me. Forming new midlife habits helps me to find my daily purposes and mission.
Let me send you a brand new tool to help you find purpose in your days and refocus your brain at night! Just shoot me your email at the end of this post.
Make your bed.
I know this sounds too simple to make any difference, but oh there is power in a plumped pillow. If you are not in the ‘make your bed’ camp, I am inviting you to try it and see what happens.
There exists in the world a line of reasoning that finds no logic in completing a task that will need to be ‘undone’ later. I get you. But as moms, let’s be honest, most of our lives we’ve lived in a world where most things get ‘undone’ daily. But now we are now living in a new normal (or we’re headed there quickly).
Making your bed sets the tone for your day. It gives you a small opportunity to accomplish something that makes your room feel beautiful and gives you a little nudge toward bigger and better things. If you haven’t seen it, watch this now-viral speech about the advantages of making your bed.
Try it for a week and see what happens.
Move your body.
Guess what? Odds are you’re looking down the barrel of a new stash of time. Hooray! Let’s spend a half-hour every morning and take a walk. Ride your bike. Find a yoga class.
The goal here is to make this (#1 ) a priority, and (#2) a habit. So find something that you will actually do. I am not one of those people that loves to exercise. (We all know those people.)
BUT, I do love how exercise makes me feel afterward. It’s the ‘getting over the hump’ of making it a habit that always stretches me. If I don’t have to think about it, I can’t talk myself out of it.
It’s taken me a while to find the right exercise program that focuses on the areas that I need (hello menopause belly!). Find a friend in the neighborhood to keep you accountable and walk with you!
Find the exercise that you will actually do.
Write in your journal.
This digital age is depriving us of the brain-healing act of writing. We need it. It slows down our brains and helps our emotions to catch up.
Years ago my family was caught up in a series called Fringe. (If you haven’t seen it, you can find it here on Amazon Prime.) It’s a sci-fi series set in the current day as I’m not much for spaceships and aliens. In one of the later episodes, which takes place in the future, someone finds a pen on the street and they don’t know what it is. The series came out 10 years ago and at the time the concept of doing life without pens seemed so ‘out there’. But when is the last time you’ve signed something with a pen to make a purchase? When I sign these days, it’s with my finger.
How often do you receive a hand-written note in the mail? <sigh> When we do get a note, it’s a treasure.
Studies show that we learn better by taking notes by hand, not as much by typing notes.
(I’m also sad to admit that my inner creep comes out -at least in my head- when I get behind someone in Walmart who’s writing a check.) Oh, how times have changed.
We need to write, by hand.
Do you have a journal? I actually keep a couple journals with different purposes.
- Prayer Journal – I started keeping a prayer journal years ago when I was in college. I would carry it with me and I could be anywhere and ‘praying’. Writing my prayers keeps my brain focused and slowed down enough pray with purpose. And now, keeping a prayer journal keeps a record of what I’m praying for. I can look back and actively see answers to prayers, even when I forget what I’ve prayed.
- Personal Journal – Similar to a diary from our younger days, a personal journal helps us to focus our thoughts and dreams and hurts and disappointments. It gives attention and affirmation to our inner selves and brings out ideas and secret dreams we may not even know are there.
- Gratitude Journal – This one literally changed my life. About 10 years ago I read 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and I began keeping a numbered list of what I am grateful for. I’m telling you, this changes your perspective, daily. When you are actively looking for your blessings, the good things in your life, you can’t think about the negatives. It’s impossible. I keep the list going in my planner and I add to it often during the day.
You can use a journal for any area you want, the most important one is that writing your thoughts helps to focus your brain. We live in a distracted world these days that goes 90-to-nothing all day every day. It’s healthy to slow our thoughts down for a bit every day.
Yep, I’m saying it. Your soul wants to create something. This is one of the ways that we were made in the image of our Creator. We were made for the yearning to create.
While we can’t create from nothing like God who created the world from nothing, we still long to make or devise or accomplish something. Some days all we get to create is some clean laundry, but creating clean clothes from a pile of dirty ones so that our family can function is its own reward. In this instance, perspective is everything. I can see myself creating a clean countertop or clean toilet, or I can make myself do a chore full of drudgery. The choice is ours.
This little exercise also helps us see what we are really longing to do in this next phase of midlife. When you are given a blank box to check off and told to create something, where does your mind land?
Are you an artist who loves to fill a long-forgotten blank canvas? Does creating music make your heart soar? Do words dance for you on a page or computer screen?
Do you long to create nourishing food to bring smiles to the one gifted with eating it? Or find lovely scenic landscapes to photograph and bless the eye of the viewer?
We need to create. Something. Daily.
Dump your brain and go to sleep.
Menopause often arrives with sleep issues. And it tends to pack anxiety in its suitcase. If you’re not there yet, in menopauseland, I’m sorry to tell you that weird symptoms can happen along with the obvious ones.
Lots of nights find me suddenly wide awake after a few hours. Ugh. So then my mind races. Worries appear bigger than they are in the middle of the night.
I worry about what’s happening the next day, or some current issues with my kids. Or the health of my aging parents. Often I worry about things that I can’t fix, since these people are adults and making their own choices.
Often I worry about forgetting an appointment the next day. Um, brain fog is also a thing during these midlife days. I forget things often. Lists are my friend.
So here’s the thing. If I take a few minutes before I go to bed and just dump everything on a piece of paper, somehow my brain can rest easier. I write down the things I don’t want to forget the next day, appointments to make or keep, along with deadlines to meet. Writing down my worries and fears acknowledges what’s going on in my head and puts it somewhere else. Then there’s room up there to think about and add to my gratitude list, which shifts what I allow myself to dwell on.
The next day, I can add these to my prayer journal, or my tasks for the day and my brain is freed to do other things like think.
I hope these ideas help you in developing midlife habits to find your new normal in your midlife years. If you enjoyed this post, I’d be honored if you’d share it on social media or with a friend.
I’ve created a free printable tool to help you focus on these new habits and find your new normal! Shoot me your email just below to receive VIP access to my Resource Library where you can download it and other great freebies!