by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I took a major leap of faith to make a big transition into launching my second career as a 50+ single woman. I left a stable music education job, sold my Florida home, and moved to my Kentucky home-state to be in place as my mother’s caregiver (fulfilling a promise I made to my father on his deathbed in 2014).
Now I have the chance to work from home as I pursue my life-long dream of writing, composing music, and creating online products and courses (stay tuned!).
Going down the path to my dreams isn’t easy. I’ve had some crazy, unanticipated obstacles. People have disappointed me in ways I never saw coming. I’ve made mistakes. Some things failed entirely. I’ve gotten worn down by the constant juggling of entrepreneurial, caregiver, volunteer, and creative tasks.
My Closest Companions, Fear And Doubt
During the first 18 months of this transition, my closest companions were my overwhelming self-doubt and fear. My tendency toward insomnia escalated dramatically with my nightly battle against anxiety.
The switch from my steady teaching job to being a caregiver and entrepreneur in a new living scenario raised my deepest doubts. This constantly interfered with my sleep patterns and stunted my wisdom to make decisive, appropriate business decisions. I often felt paralyzed with my self-doubt.
In fairness, I’ve battled my self-doubt my entire life. I’m a worrier, a deep thinker, and have tremendous perfectionism and OCD tendencies. But this new chapter of my life tapped into my inner fears more deeply than ever.
Wrestling my negative feelings head-on, I’ve pulled out all the stops to win over them. I’m gratefully making wonderful progress with overcoming insomnia, and with winning over my mental angst.
Read more suggestions on how I’m defeating fear and doubt here.
Guard Your Sleep Routine
I’ve discovered the power of a regular routine. I vigilantly guard my night routine. As a deep thinker, it takes effort to stop my mind from swirling. I can’t sleep if I’m thinking!
Early Versus Later
It takes me more than one hour to get to sleep. If I don’t go to sleep early enough, I think all night at the sacrifice of sleep. I’ve learned that going to bed earlier helps me sleep more. If I go to bed late, my mind starts twitching and I end up tossing and turning all night.
Consistency helps train my body and brain to get more rest. As I maintain my early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine, I’m getting more restful sleep. The more I protect my regular sleep and morning routines, the easier it gets for me to relax into sleep. There is power in a regular routine.
Get Outdoors & Move
Regular exercise helps wear me out enough to overpower my mind with pure physical exhaustion. I aim to walk or cycle every afternoon. This helps alleviate the muscle tension from sitting at a computer or piano keyboard all day.
Exercise also refreshes my state of mind, gives me a dose of fresh air, inspires me with the beauty of nature, and often gives me a second wind to keep working after dinner.
In my blog, Why Taking Care of Yourself Is The Best Thing For Others, I share how research has proven that when people take breaks, they refuel creativity and are more productive at work.
Getting outdoors for some quiet reflection, a vigorous walk or bike ride, or participating in an outdoor sport are all ways to give yourself a break from constant mental work or a sedentary lifestyle. Doing so helps balance your emotions, refresh your productivity, and help your body relax.
Shut Things Down
When it’s time for sleep, I must deliberately close down electronics, work, and even social interaction to give myself time to wind down toward rest.
Here are my Top Tips For Winning Over Insomnia:
As unoriginal as it sounds, exercise, healthy diet and a steady daily routine do wonders for your overall wellness. One of the best bits of advice I received, was to establish a consistent daily rhythm. Having a morning and evening routine helps set the tone for my day and paves the way for restful sleep at night.
Developing a daily routine while vigilantly training my brain to see my best self has been helping me achieve more as I continue forging my new adventurous path. I plan to keep moving forward toward my dreams as I challenge myself to fulfill my potential.
I hope my strategy for sleep is helpful to you, too. Please let me know in the comments below if it is, or if you have any questions or other topics you’d like me to explore more deeply!
I sincerely pray this content inspires YourCreativeChord!
CLICK HERE for some wonderful resources I use and recommend for best sleep, music, yoga and wellness!
SIGN UP HERE for more strategies for creativity, piano, caregiver and spiritual wellness!
How To Use Self-Care To Feel Happy
5 Ways To Use Music & Nature For Self-Care
Defeat Fear & Doubt with Your Courage & Capability
How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
To Climb Again My Kilimanjaro
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins. Photos, music, video content by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
LISTEN to the podcast here.
We know the importance of balancing our lives with self-care. There are research-based blogs, news, videos and magazine articles stressing this point everywhere you look.
The benefits of taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy, play, relax, rest, or simply do nothing are powerful. Studies prove that doing nothing or taking time to play games or just relax leads to better productivity, inspired creativity, and greater wellness overall.
How To Change Your Old Habits With New Proof
However, getting more accustomed to taking a break for yourself takes practice for those of us who aren't used to it. For people like me, changing old thought processes can feel counterproductive. But I am challenging my mindset habits like thinking, "doing nothing is lazy" or "will cause me to fall behind", because science proves the opposite is true.
Proactively Look For Easy Self-Care Opportunities
Both the success of my entrepreneurial life and my mother's health depend on me being in the best shape. So I'm becoming more proactive toward finding more opportunities to take care of myself.
The truth is that when I feel good, I have more positive energy, take better action and am more compassionate for others. So self-care is becoming more of a priority.
5 Self-Care Ideas To Try
I've found several things work for me. Perhaps some of these suggestions will be helpful for you to embrace a bit of self-care in your life, too.
1. Pool or Garden. When I lived in Florida, I found relaxing in my saltwater pool while enjoying my tropical garden of flowers, fruits, plants, butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies brought me great relief. Now that I've moved back to my Kentucky hometown as caregiver for Mom, I enjoy the pool here only during summer months.
If you have a chance to swim, whether in your backyard, at your condo or apartment, a local YMCA or gym, take advantage of it. Swimming is great exercise, and even better if you have your own oasis to enjoy while floating in your pool.
2. Cycle. Here in beautiful Lexington, I have found cycling on the Legacy Trail to be another self-care practice. If you are able to ride a bicycle, find a local trail or even just cycle around your neighborhood to refresh your energy.
Pedaling gets your heart rate up, and the fresh air against you while rolling forward feels great. If you're lucky enough to have a beautiful greenway like Legacy Trail, or Tarpon Springs and Dunedin, Florida's Pinellas Trail, take advantage of the adventure.
3. Take A Walk. During cold winter months (when there is no ice or snow on the sidewalks), taking a walk outdoors has become my short, meditative practice. It's tempting to avoid going out into the cold weather, but every time I take a short walk I come back invigorated.
4. Be Still With Yourself. Meditation is another form of self-care and can include anything from watching the sun set, listening to a guided audio meditation, reading upon first waking up, sitting silently with your thoughts, or chanting. For me, just being in nature is meditative.
When I lived in Florida, meandering through my tropical private garden, looking for Monarch eggs or caterpillars, weeding, harvesting pineapples, squash, lettuce or kale, or planting new wildflowers was my meditation.
The quiet of the morning, with the sun just rising, surrounded by greenery and colorful plants eased me into the day. Nature's abundance and life cycles never ceased to encourage me.
5. Explore Creativity. Nature or meditation often may lead to self-expression through a creative outlet. Creative expression is good for the soul and often considered another form of 'play.' Creative play boosts wellness, cognitive function and productivity.
Time in nature inspires me to create. Nature walks and my cycling adventures led me to start taking nature photos with the simplicity of an iPhone button push.
Explore creative outlets like playing a musical instrument, composing music, drumming, taking photos, painting, knitting, writing a poem or a journal entry. Taking an acting class or experimenting with stand-up comedy, or a dance class are all fun options for tapping new creative paths.
Standing Still With Yourself Inspires New Creative Energy
When I take time for nature's beauty, I'm inspired to create music and take photos. Initially, I gratefully absorb the textures, sizes, colors, lighting, shapes, silences, and sounds from the wind, animals, and in the environment.
Being still with my spiritual core while experiencing fresh air and taking in nature's vibrations and visual stimulation, fills me with appreciation and calms my thoughts. This does wonders for stress relief.
Take A Moment To Relax With Nature And Music
Below is a nature video I made as a kind of self-care meditation for you. Even in the coldest of wintry elements, nature is abundant with pleasing, meditative, healing force. Take a moment to relax while watching my nature music video below.
Click on the play button below to enjoy my winter scene nature video and hear my original music, "Moonlight In My Heart".
If you enjoyed this blog, please share or let me know in the comments below!
My Pinterest spiritual wellness and caregiver boards have more self-care ideas. Please check them out and let me know if you've found any of my ideas helpful.
You may also find some lovely nature photos at my Instagram account here.
For a list of self-care resources and products I recommend, click here.
For a list of music resources and products I recommend, click here.
In my Spiritual Wellness blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.