Self Care Practices for Grounding through Transition and Change

Dr. Julia Christensen, ND

Fall is upon us and while this signifies the cooling of the air and an array of colour in the trees, for many it can be a significant time of transition and change. Perhaps you have a child going to school for the very first time whether that be kindergarten, high school, or college. Perhaps you have a new job in a different city and you will need to pack up your home and move to a new city. Perhaps you have lost a loved one and will be honouring their memory and grieving the loss. Perhaps you’ve achieved menarche for the very first time. Perhaps you have had your very last period. Perhaps you have become a mom for the first time. Perhaps you have entered into a new relationship or a long-term relationship has come to a close.

There are so many monumental events that happen in our lives and all of them can impact us in a variety of ways. We may have the production of “symptoms”, little flags or signs that our bodies give us as a way of communicating that something has shifted. These shifts may be perceived as positive or negative and when it’s something we have not experienced before it can feel a little alarming.

Pema Chodron writes so wisely in her book When Things Fall Apart “We might feel somehow that we should try to eradicate these feelings of pleasure and pain, loss and gain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace. A more practical approach would be to get to know them, see how they hook us, see how they color our perception of reality, see how they aren’t all that solid. [They] become the means for growing wiser as well as kinder and more content”.

To give you an example, some women experience changes in mood before their periods and some women experience a constant flux of mood changes as they transition from regular monthly cycles to the cessation of their period. It can feel like you have lost control of how you interact with others and you may do or say things that surprise you. Sometimes this can be an expression of something you have been holding and it may come off a little brash. The questions I encourage you to ask yourself is “have you spoken your truth” and “have you trusted that niggling feeling called your intuition”? All too often we can suppress these intuitive feelings we have. It may take some practice to find your footing and speak up but please trust that this is part of the process of embodying your essence and what you know to be true for you in this moment.

Below, please find some practices that I feel are of benefit at all times and specifically through times of change and transition. Please feel free to share the practices that you find to be grounding for you!

 Grounding practices:

  1. Belly breathing – lay on your back and place one hand over your heart region and the other on your abdomen.   Take long slow inhales and feel your hand on your belly rise as you fill it with air and then take an equally long slow exhale. Repeat 10 times. This is one of the most effective ways of shifting your body into a rest and digest state
  2. Find your community – finding a group that share a similar set of belief patterns and values can be uplifting and grounding for your soul
  3. Nourishing food – eat whole foods as much as possible as these are the foods full of vital nutrients that fuel our bodies. If you are going through a particularly difficult time, foods such as fruits and vegetables, bone broth, eggs, avocados, and nuts and seeds are especially nourishing
  4. Therapeutic touch – if you think back to when you were young and you fell down and scraped your knee – your parent or guardian may have embraced you tightly and told you that everything was going to be ok. There is something so powerful about skin to skin contact and we observe this in the connection between a mom and her new babe. As adults, our nervous systems are craving this soothing and healing touch, which can be immediately settling and calming. This could be in the form of a hug, massage, reiki, shiatsu, craniosacral therapy, and head massage for example
  5. Epsom salt bath – the magnesium in Epsom salts is a natural muscle relaxant and is a great home treatment when used in a bath (use 1-2 cups). It’s also a great place to practice belly breathing
  6. Walking in the forest or near the ocean – being in the natural elements is incredibly grounding and restorative for your nervous system. It’s also a great place to contemplate and reflect the transitions you may be going through.
  7. Take in a sunset or sunrise – there is an incredible community in Vancouver called Catching Sunrise – it’s a group of people who encourage others to live each day to it’s fullest and to appreciate and explore the beauty that is all around us – especially in BC J
  8. Laugh – share funny stories with friends or check out an improv or comedy show – laughing is an incredible medicine for the heart
  9. Journal – expressing your thoughts on paper can be cathartic and a great way to process any feelings and emotions stirring inside.