Sometimes all it takes to make a big difference is a small change. I mean, there’s a lot of big stuff in life we have to deal with, right? If you’re an empty nester, you’ve dealt with all of the adjustments the empty nest brings, from changing relationships with your kids to learning to cook for two. If you’re a woman over 50, you’re also dealing with the changes that come with aging, including a slowing metabolism, hormonal issues, and more. Sometimes I feel like all I’m doing is dealing with and responding to the changes that come my way! Do you relate? It can feel like we’ve lost all control! If you feel like a victim sometimes, I get it! Aging is about adapting, and there are some small changes you can make that can really make a big difference in your life. Today, I’m sharing a few.
In Your Thought Life
- Take negative thoughts captive and replace those thoughts with truth and positivity. So much in life can be tempered by how you choose to look at it. This takes practice, but eventually happy thoughts will become your default.
- Cultivate a heart of gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal and thanking God for your blessings as you fall asleep at night.
- Remind yourself of your “why.” It’s easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, but take a step back and remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Stress can take its toll, and chronic stress can even put your health at risk. Things like exercise, creative hobbies, and getting out into nature can help, but for me, sometimes just admitting and logically identifying why I’m so stressed about something can help the most. I acknowledge it, try to understand it, then do my best to move forward. I probably repeat Joshua 1:9 to myself ten times a day! (We’re using this book to study the book of Joshua in my Bible Study this year, and I am loving it!!!)
- Think “better, ” not “younger.” We can get so carried away with trying to look younger! But aiming to look and feel “better” rather than younger will probably lead to taking better care of yourself, which almost always shows. 🙂
For Your Health
- Doctors agree that the best prescription for a longer life is exercise. Even as little as 10 minutes of walking can help. Once you do 10, push it to 15, then 20. Start slow, but start.
There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do. It benefits your brain, heart, skin, mood, and metabolism.”
-Dr. Claude Bouchard, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
- If you’re able, take the stairs. Researchers found that taking the stairs instead of the elevator reduced the risk of dying prematurely by 15% and shaved six months off your “brain age.“
- Fidget. A recent study found that, although sitting for 7 or more hours a day increases your risk of dying by 30%, active fidgeters saw no increased risk!
- Use antibacterial wipes to wipe down the airplane tray table, armrests, and seatbelt buckles when you fly. And wash your hands after you go through security! It’s gross, people.
- Stop squinting at the computer! Try computer glasses. If you’re like me, your computer screen is farther away than you typically hold a book, so your regular reading glasses won’t work. Instead, try cheaters with half the magnification as your readers.
- Having trouble sleeping? Add more tryptophan at dinner (that’s the amino acid that makes you sleepy after eating your Thanksgiving Day turkey).
For Your Waistline
- In his book Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think, Dr. Brian Wanskink says to cut the clutter in your kitchen. A cluttered kitchen makes you eat more because the chaotic environment cues your mind to feel out of control, leading to overeating.
- According to Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, we should eat at the table instead of standing up at the counter.
- Start your day with protein. Recent studies showed that eating protein at breakfast will make you feel fuller and decrease snacking the rest of the day.
- Carry a collapsible water bottle everywhere you go to encourage you to drink more water.
For Your Home
- When the kids leave the nest, take back your home! When ours left, we immediately repainted and replaced the tired carpet. At that point, we didn’t know if we’d be moving or staying, but we knew those two things would be a good investment either way.
- When you feel ready, replace the kids’ artwork and school pictures with images that you enjoy.
- Empty Nester and Certified Professional Organizer, Anita Sisler says that when you’re downsizing or organizing, you should “keep only the items that you deem useful, that you love, and that make you smile.” Read more of her tips here.
For Your Leisure Time
- Commit to reconnect with your spouse by learning more about each other’s hobbies and interests. When our boys were still at home, Bob shared his passion for football with them. So when our nest emptied, one of the things I did for our marriage was to learn more about the game. (For more tips on getting closer to your spouse in the empty nest, check out this post.)
- Plan a trip! It can be alone, with your girlfriends or mom, or with your spouse, but make yourself do it. It may seem like a hassle to get it all planned and executed, but once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! For ideas, check out my friend Suzanne Stavert’s excellent travel blog, Adventures of Empty Nesters. She’ll be my guest for a Facebook Live next Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. CST! Be sure you’ve liked and followed the Empty Nest Blessed Facebook page, and you’re signed up for my email list to get instructions on how to join us.
- Not sure how you want to spend your extra time now that you’re an empty nester? Check out a few of these posts for inspiration.
Are there any small changes you’ve made that have made a big difference in your life? I’d love to hear about them, so leave me a comment and share, okay?
This dress is perfect for this time of year with a faux suede, faux leather, or even an Old Navy denim jacket over your shoulders to ward off a chill. (Read more about why I think Old Navy makes the best denim jackets in this post.) I paired it with the Toms Elba booties, which I feel like I’ve worn almost every single day this month! Since Toms makes them, they have a soft, cushy insole and a flexible sole that makes walking and standing for even long periods of time oh-so-easy. The block heel and adorable tassel tie at the back complete the look. #love
For my accessories, I wore one half of this darling (and inexpensive) two-piece bracelet set, and ivory Tory Burch logo earrings. (I just bought them in green to wear to football games, because our college team’s colors are green and gold!)
What’s up for you this weekend? I hope the temps are cooling down where you are, and you can get outside!
I’m heading to New Orleans for my 35th high school reunion! I haven’t been back since high school, so I’m excited and nervous at the same time! Be sure to watch my Instastory for BTS snaps of my weekend!
Poor Bob is holding down the fort at home, because Becca’s coming in for Texas/OU weekend and bringing a bunch of friends with her! Pray for him!!!
Photos by Megan Weaver.