Mindset

How to Take Care of Your Wellbeing While Navigating a Major Life Change

Grand canyon in the review mirror of a car

Emily Williams

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Do you remember the last time your life took a total 180? 

Perhaps it was the time you moved to a brand new home (or city), welcomed a new family member, or quit your full-time job to finally pursue your true passion. Or maybe it was a more sudden, shocking, or sad type of change, such as a health event, redundancy notice, or having to say your final goodbyes to a loved one.

Whatever the specific circumstances may be, and regardless of whether it brings positive or negative outcomes, change by its very nature disturbs our day-to-day, and takes us away from the stability and security we need and crave. The idea that change is the only constant in life has been passed down through generations, stemming as far back as ancient Greek philosophers like Heraclitus, Buddha, and Darwin. And much like stress, it’s something we can never escape (nor should we try to)—but what we can do is learn to manage it in a way that doesn’t cause total chaos and throw our lives completely off course.

Since you’ve landed here, I’m going to take a wild guess and say you’re probably going through some sort of transformation right now (either positive or negative). But the problem is, your physical and mental health is taking the fall, and you could use some advice and guidance so you can stay sane through the sea change. Keep on reading to find out how I’ve learned to stay balanced at times when my life feels anything but—and pick up some of my top tips and tricks for navigating each of the twists and turns life throws your way.

Because here’s the thing… I’ve navigated too many life changes to count.

From turning the car around mid-way to grad school and deciding I wouldn’t go, to moving halfway across the world to London (where I knew no one and didn’t even have a job lined up), to deciding to take a leap of faith and start my very own coaching business back in 2014. Even as I write this post, I’m in the middle of a cross-country move to Austin, Texas, where my husband James and I are building our dream home. 

(I remember reading recently that 64% of Americans believe that moving is one of the most stressful life events they’ve ever experienced—higher on the stress scale than relationship breakups, divorce, and even having children. I’m inclined to agree, seeing that our cat has been keeping us up at night, we’ve already had to move to another interim rental, and our movers are delayed!).

For the past few weeks, I’ve been surrounded by boxes and busy saying my goodbyes—and by the time you read this, I will be settling into a temporary rental home as we wait for our keys. And while I’m literally and figuratively walking into a new chapter right now, I’m making it work for me. My clients are being served, my team knows exactly what they’re doing each day, and both my businesses are not just surviving but thriving. (I’m even in the middle of my Luxe Mastermind launch!) Best of all, I feel less stressed than I ever have during a move, and it’s all thanks to the routines and rituals (as well as the practical systems and processes) I’ve been putting in place for years to support my wellbeing through any kind of life change.

Here’s a little insight into what they look like.

1. Not neglecting my health 

While I know it can be tempting to let go of your regular health and wellness routine during a life change (particularly one that throws your mood for a loop), this is exactly when your mind and body need it most. In the weeks leading up to our move, I put an extreme focus on self-care as I found myself experiencing some weird health reminders (I don’t use the word “issues”) and extreme tiredness. Hustle and grind may work under normal circumstances, but they certainly aren’t sustainable during a life-altering change—which is why I gave myself permission to be instead of do, slow down, and take as much time off work as I could. I also introduced rituals such as deep-tissue massages and lymphatic drainage, made sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night, and above all, made an effort to move my body every day (even if that just meant hopping on the Peloton for 30 minutes before my workday began).

2. Knowing (and sticking to) my non-negotiables 

One of the ways I stay grounded and balanced is by making space for the constants. That’s why, no matter where I am in the world, I bring my morning routine with me. Whether I’m staying at The Ritz in London or my family home in Ohio makes no difference—I do my best to wake up early and run through my morning ritual first thing. That way, I’m able to find inner peace before I allow the chaos of the outside world to take over—and ensure I’m set up for success no matter what the day brings. My morning routine has changed and transformed over time, but these days, my non-negotiables are movement, nutrition, meditation, learning, and morning coffee. Then and only then do I allow myself to check in with my project manager, and start my working day. If you’d like to hear about it in more detail, check out episode 150 of the I Heart My Life Show, where I talk about all of the things I do as soon as I wake up, and why.

3. Prioritizing my needs over others

There are times in life when we absolutely deserve to be selfish—and moving across the country is one of those times. Back in the day, I might have put other people’s needs ahead of my own, said yes to events and projects I didn’t have the capacity for, and ultimately suffered the consequences of overtasking and overbooking myself later. Maybe I would have felt the impact on my health, or been a lot snappier with my husband. But the way I see it now is, why add fuel to the fire? There’s only so much time and energy to go around, and this is the time to cut out all of the things that aren’t top priority and go for the most convenient options—yes, even if that means pre-cooked meals for the week. (My favorite right now is Trifecta Nutrition.)

In my case, being in business helps, as I’m able to lean on my team and delegate all of the tasks that don’t need my immediate attention. (For example, I recently put my podcast on pause simply because I felt it was important to take a hiatus and come back stronger than ever before. If you haven’t yet heard that episode, click here to check it out. I think it’s got exactly the advice you need to let go of the reins and little, and give yourself permission to take a break from certain things to put your focus elsewhere when needed or when things don’t feel 100% aligned.) And whilst I know that you might not have the same luxury if you’re working a full-time job, the same principles apply: be extra mindful of the things you say yes to, and when in doubt, don’t be afraid to say no.

4. Leaning on my support system

I’ve always been an incredibly self-sufficient person, and usually, work best as a lone wolf (yes, despite heading up the entire IHML team). But even as an independent woman, I’ve learned to keep my support system close at times of crisis. In my experience, trying to tackle everything alone only amplifies my fears and anxieties—and bottles them up for later. Besides, I’ve come to understand that your nearest and dearest want to be a part of your life (not just in good times but also in bad) and to feel included in these life-changing moments. So don’t be afraid to reach out for support, communicate your needs clearly, and lean on your friends and family now more than ever. After all, that’s what friends are for.

5. Being gracious with myself

The thing about massive life changes is that no matter how much you may map things out, nothing is ever going to work out 100% to plan. Your luggage could get lost while you head off on the trip of a lifetime, your baby might not be sleep trained in time for you to come back to work after maternity leave, and the movers may just break your favorite dresser. It happens. So rather than beating yourself up about it (or getting angry at the Universe), allow yourself enough time and space to process, heal, and adjust to your new reality. That’s what I’m trying to do this time around with my move, and although it’s easier said than done if you’re a perfectionist like me, detaching from the outcomes and allowing things to unfold will take a huge weight off your plate. (I recently pulled a card from my favorite deck that instructed me to “surrender”. I had to laugh at that one as it was spot on.)

6. Checking in with my priorities

Both before and after a life pivot, I always check in with my goals and priorities. Many pivotal moments in life feel like a turn for the worse at first—for instance, ending a long-term relationship or leaving the security of a job in pursuit of your passion. That’s why it’s so essential to check in with how you’re feeling throughout the process of change, so that you can assess, reassess, and remind yourself of your priorities—and the reason why making the change is important in the first place. Otherwise, you’ll continue to feel as if you’ve lost rather than gained something. As with many things in life, your mindset counts most, and reframing your attitude will help reveal the positives in the situation much faster. 

Whatever change you’re facing in life right now, I hope these tips and thoughts help you to hold space for that transformation—and support your health and wellbeing every step of the way there.

Love, 

Emily xx

Written by Emily Williams.
Founder of I Heart My Life and the Emily Williams sister brand.


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