Empty Nest: Time for Self-Care!

Children leave the nest and, like many midlife women, I found myself in a very new stage of life where I had more time. Sure, we’re all still busy with life; maybe with a career, college-age children, grandchildren, elderly parents and plenty of other things. However, there’s a void without the chaos of kids in the house. What I figured out is there is finally time for me! Enter: self-care (i.e. taking care of yourself).

With kids at home, there is naturally stress that comes with balancing sports, family meals, homework, carpooling, etc. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, yet I have to say I did end up putting less priority on myself to be sure everyone else had what they needed. I sneaked in self-care time when I could, but I certainly didn’t have a daily self-care routine.

Now that I am in my 50’s and life has slowed down a notch, I feel like it’s my time to shine! I earned the right to call myself a midlife woman and I’m ready to rock’n roll. I want to put priority on a good, daily self-care routine because I know it’s important to focus on health and wellness – physical, mental, and spiritual.

Why is Self-Care Important?

Some form of self-care every day is an important part of a peaceful life.

Self-care can help you feel:

  • Less stressed and more calm
  • Less tired and more energized
  • Less frazzled and more joyful

There is also evidence that self-care offers health benefits, but I’ll leave that to the medical community.

Taking time for yourself is not selfish, and research shows it’s necessary.

A recent report by BeMedWise summarized that “Empowering Americans to take greater
ownership of their health has never been more important.” It goes on to state there is “growing evidence that self-care improves health outcomes, enhances symptom management, and brings health expenditures under control.”

The following statement from their executive summary clearly shows the impact that self-care has on your body, and is a clear indication that self- care is not only important but necessary.

Americans could avoid approximately 50 million unnecessary visits to primary care physicians each year and save over $5 billion per year with increased self-care.

I challenge you to do your own scientific research! Commit to a mere 10 minutes of self-care every day for a few weeks, and then examine how you feel after that time period. Discover if calming your mind on a daily basis helps you have a better perspective on life.

Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but a good self-care routine can help you be better prepared to deal with difficult times.

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Creating a Peaceful Life With a Self-Care Routine

At first a new daily self-care routine won’t feel like it’s doing anything, but keep it up. Your mind will suddenly catch up and you’ll realize the benefits of self-care and how your life has improved. You’ll be better at keeping your personal energy supply full, you’ll feel well, and life will be more peaceful.

Be gentle with yourself and take baby steps toward establishing a good self-care routine. After being too busy to put priority on yourself for so many years, you’ll need to ease into establishing a solid self-care routine.

My goal is to have at least 10 minutes of self-care per day – don’t we all deserve that? On work days, that’s about all I have time to do. On days off, I turn it up a few notches and get a massage, have a leisurely lunch with a friend, take an extra long walk, or have a weekend away.

Self-care is whatever you want it to be.

For quite some time, I have wanted to meditate daily. I’ve now accepted that I can’t quite fit that into my schedule every single day.

So I’m stating it here so you can help keep me accountable…. I intend to meditate for at least 5 minutes, 5 days per week. I’m easing myself into the habit, and fully intend to extend the 5 minutes all the way to 20. But I will start with 5 minutes and suspect I will naturally want to increase it as I begin to more easily calm my mind.

Daily Self-Care – It’s a Personal Thing

Now that you’re in midlife and possibly an empty nester, what you do for your self-care routine is a really personal choice.

Most likely, self-care time will need to be scheduled or it just won’t happen. After you get used to making the time, it’ll come more naturally. Until then, schedule it.

Make self-care time convenient and minimize roadblocks. If it takes too much effort, it’s way too easy to skip it.

Yoga for the body and mind

It’s great if you go to the gym to exercise each day, but that’s a big change to suddenly start doing. Maybe you’ll be better off it you ease into it by exercising or doing yoga with free YouTube videos in the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Some people like to ease into their day and get self-care time during early morning hours before being disturbed by anyone else. Exercising first thing in the morning has great benefit. I’m not a morning person, so although I do hope to get in my minimal 5 minutes of meditation in before I leave for work, generally early morning is not my prime time.

Lunch time can be a good choice. I like to have quiet time because my career involves working directly with many people, and a few minutes of quiet time energizes me. Consider closing your office door, go for a walk, or sneak away to sit in your car by yourself.

Evening is a popular time to take time for yourself. After a day at work or play, it’s nice to retreat somewhere by yourself and calm your mind. Exercising at night has been said to interrupt sleep, so more calming self-care activities are probably a better choice in the evening.

Create a self-care routine that allows you to have a good balance between work, family, social activities and downtime.

21 Daily Self-Care Activity Ideas (especially good for midlife women)

What self-care activities do you want to do for yourself? Here are some ideas for you to quickly scan, and I suspect there are at least a few on this list that would benefit you if you fit them into your daily life.

  1. Meditate
  2. Take a walk
  3. Do yoga
  4. Listen to music
  5. Sit and  rest in silence
  6. 10 minutes of your favorite stretches
  7. Dance! (It’s ok to dance in your living room by yourself.)
  8. Journal
  9. Read
  10. Listen to a podcast (Read all about podcasts.)
  11. Go for a bike ride
  12. Take an exercise class (social support for exercise is helpful)
  13. Sip on tea with your feet up
  14. Pray
  15. Enjoy a hot foot soak
  16. Work in your garden
  17. Paint (learn how to paint with free online painting videos)
  18. Eat well. Good nutrition helps  you feel good. Eat those fruits and veggies!
  19. Go to sleep 15 minutes early
  20. Call a friend who you miss
  21. Practice positive thinking. ↓ Get my free journal page printable. ↓

 

If you need more ideas, read my list of 31 Simple & Free Self-Care Activities.

Additional related reading:

  • My Self-Care board on Pinterest: Ideas for self-care activities and tips for making self-care a priority. A good self-care routine is priceless, and everybody deserves some “me time.”

Rock your midlife and beyond! There’s no time better than right now to establish a healthy, daily self-care routine. You deserve it, so decide what self-care means to you and make time for it in your life.

PIN FOR LATER!
Self-Care, especially for empty nesters.

24 Replies to “Empty Nest: Time for Self-Care!”

  1. Excellent! You are so right about it not seeming like much at first but after awhile you realize how much better you feel and how much of a difference those little things make!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. And as you said, it’s a good idea to “schedule” self-care time into your day because otherwise the day seems to slip away from us. It’s should be a commitment to ourselves as serious as the commitments we make to others. Keep that appointment with yourself!

  3. I love these self care tips and I am beginning to start going through the list now life is not as chaotic – I have 3 who have fled the nest so have 2 left at home (aged 11 & 13).

    1. I understand being torn. The good thing is that the kids just keep going through stages that are exciting to watch as a parent. Keep up that self-care!

  4. I totally agree – I think self-care is something that is often ignored especially when responsibilities of family and work take over! I started consciously indulging in Hygge when things started to get a little difficult and it has made the world of difference!

    1. In the past few months I’ve read more about Hygge. I’m all for wellness and comfort and think it’s fantastic. Glad it has helped you. Thanks for the comment!

  5. I look at exercise not as something I do for fitness but something I have to do for me. It is a slight mindset change, more like doing laundry if you want clean clothes, exercising daily for less aches and pains and better attitude. That said I have embraced outside bicycling for 30-40 minutes daily. It gets me outside in fresh air with only the sounds of outdoors.

    1. That’s awesome! A healthy attitude makes everything better. Biking is good for the mind and body. Keep up the good care, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Your list is wonderful. My husband and I do walk at least 5 days a week. And for me, writing and reading is self-care. Yes, sometimes what I am reading increases my blood pressure, but I find a way to use it to reach out to others. Gardening and tidying my house also add to my list of stress reducers. Thanks.

    1. Hi Beth, way to go in your self-care routine! Sounds like you have some really good activities to keep your mind and body strong. Thank you for the comment, I’m sure others will find it inspiring as I do.

  7. Women are caregivers to everyone but ourselves. Good for you for using this time in your life to put yourself on the list. Hopefully you’ll find something that works for you and you love to do. Brenda

  8. I LOVE this idea of starting/trying to commit to even as little as 10 min a day for self care. If as a busy mama, I think I can’t manage that much – well, then something has to give somewhere because is 10 min a day REALLY too much to ask for myself? Seems like it shouldn’t be! Thanks for the inspiration/motivation!

  9. I’ll preface this by saying, when I remember to do it, I have found mediation is very helpful to clearing my cluttered and frantic mind. Like you it hasn’t completely become habit yet. I’m still trying.

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