Karen's 7 Things for Self-Care In Midlife

Karen is new to retirement. Here’s her short and sweet guide to figuring out how to care for herself in this new slice of life, sift through changing priorities, and live well. Actually, this one is for all of us, no matter the moment or milestone.

  1. Slow down. Stop and think, don’t just react. Take time to look around—literally. For me it’s looking at the ocean every day. Also just taking a barefoot walk on the beach as often as possible and soaking in the physical environment around me.
  2. Exercise. The one thing I’ve been trying to do is my stairs every day. It feels ‘self-care-y’ because I don’t like the gym, and this is a way I can feel at home in a space I enjoy while still moving a bit. There’s always injuries and other physical things that change my routines and interrupt my other activities like tennis or what have you, but this works for me! Another thing is walking (again—outside and connected to nature), especially with another person. And this brings together self care elements—connection to people, plus movement. 
  3. Connect with friends. Every week, I look ahead and I ensure I’m connecting with a friend for coffee, someone else for a walk, and at least hosting one dinner on the weekend. Because I’ve retired now, I know the onus is on me to keep connections with people—work friends, family, etc. It’s important.

“I think I’m on the cusp again of starting new things, especially in my home.”

4. Ensure you feel rooted. Focus on what’s important and less of the noise around. This could mean quiet time, prayer, reading, limiting external noise like social media. Whatever works to keep things grounded.

5. Figure out what brings you joy and do it. Walks with my husband, toes in the sand, laughing with the people around me. Going back to my creative world and noticing the things I do that are creative—planning events, like a daughter’s wedding. I think I’m on the cusp again of starting new things, especially in my home. Decorating, enjoying my space. 

6. That said, start something new (or again). Learning something is actually part of self care. I haven’t played the piano in a while—maybe it’s that. Or painting.

7.  Probably just have fun. That’s up there. I suppose that’s the same as the joy piece but a little more simple. Fun often looks like doing things that my kids suggest we do—bucket golf, go karting, laughing a lot.

“Probably just have fun.”