Healthy Habits Old and New
I’m finding the healthy habits I established both pre- and post-quarantine are becoming engraved in stone. I might think to myself, I’ll skip something like cleaning up the kitchen, or brushing my teeth before bed, or washing my face and brushing my teeth after breakfast before doing my Facebook Live for the day, but it seems I can’t do it any more. I can’t undo the habits I’ve been performing diligently for so long.
Heaven knows there are days I’ve tried. I’ll walk into the kitchen late at night and think: I’ll just leave this for tomorrow. There isn’t very much. Every time I even think about leaving dirty dishes in the sink over night, I’m overwhelmed by the feeling I get when I see a clean kitchen both before I go to bed, and when I get up in the morning. Needless to say, the task gets done every time.
It isn’t just the big things either. I was having trouble remembering to defrost a cup of blueberries for breakfast the next morning. I discovered if I refilled the little bowl right after I emptied it in the morning, I was more likely to remember than if I put it off until I did dishes at night. I was forgetting to take my second round of supplements until I incorporated it into my night time teeth brushing/face washing routine. Habits are more effectively solidified by a slight tweak rather than by beating myself up for forgetting yet again.
Establishing a New Normal
The first month of quarantine I let a lot of things slide. I realize now it was a kind of grieving process for things that were no longer available, and that I wouldn’t get back for an as yet unspecified amount of time. It wasn’t unlike the much longer process I went through after leaving my last full-time job.
I have a habit of wandering around aimlessly for a little while when something in my life changes drastically. It isn’t that I don’t like change. In fact, I embrace it. But I have to go through a kind of transition period between one lifestyle and another when, apparently, I don’t get anything done for a little while as I adjust to the changing demands (or in some cases, no demands) on my time. In both cases, I essentially had to reinvent myself and set my own priorities because there was no one in the outside world who was setting them for me.
Not only were trips to the gym removed from my schedule, but so were regular dance nights, running errands once a week on the same day, and even my daily walks. The last was a personal choice because there are too many people walking the streets in my neighborhood, and I don’t feel comfortable around that many potentially germy people right now.
Changes for the Good
It hasn’t been entirely bad so far. I spent the better part of one week binge reading seven Mercedes Lackey books on Kindle. My friend parked her motor home beside my house (my property has RV access) instead of where she’d originally planned on the street near her condo, because she works in a hospital and needed to distance herself from her significant other to protect his health.
The addition of a roommate, even if we’re not actually sharing the house has actually had a major positive impact on my life overall. It’s given me someone to talk to many nights, albeit from at least 6 feet away, I’m using my patio and porch more than I have in years, and we get a small group of people together once a week for dinner and some line dancing. In short, we’re making lemonade with the lemons life’s thrown our way (and I’ve even gotten a small Meyer lemon tree for a recently cleared area of my yard.
Speaking of yards, my friend and her S/O pulled some yard equipment they’d been storing in her mother’s garage since she moved to a condo, got the lawn mower fixed, and gave me the tools I needed to regain control of my badly overgrown yard. It’s a process that isn’t going quickly, but not only do I have the tools I need, but some help in whacking it all down and taming the persistent weeds and trees that were doing their best to return my yard to it’s natural state.
If Not This, Then That
Gym visits have been replaced by yard work, heavy house cleaning, and, just recently, twice-weekly ballet classes. There again, I’m surprising myself. I would have told you even a week ago that balancing on one leg was something I simply couldn’t do. The classes give me a chance to wobble around in the privacy of my own home (mostly) but to also discover that by following the instructions from my teacher, I can actually succeed where I was certain I’d fail.
My arabesques and other one-legged stances may not be anything close to perfect. I can’t raise my leg as high as it’s supposed to go, nor straighten my leg out all the way yet. Each session sees some improvement, and I’m left with not only a feeling of accomplishment, but a little more strength, balance, and flexibility. I can’t tell you how much those things are improving my self-image. An added bonus has been an end to persistent lower back pain I’d come to accept as part of my aging process. Whodathunkit?
Opportunities abound for those of us determined to maintain the exercise regimen we’d established, or even to start new ones. Whether it’s online yoga classes, line dance gatherings, or other forms of movement, all you need is the desire, and a little determination to stick with it even when you’re tired, or out of sorts. For myself, those are the times it’s most important to tell my inner child to shut up and get moving.
Acknowledging the Small Things
There are days I still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, yet if I look back on the day honestly and uncritically, I always find something I took off my plate, or something good I did for myself. Sometimes, it’s just washing my face, brushing my teeth, taking all my supplements, posting daily gratitudes and doing a Facebook Live but there was a time those things didn’t get done every day, and it wasn’t so long ago. More often than not, I get some writing done, or an administrative task crossed off, or another area decluttered.
Whatever it is I’ve done, I make sure to acknowledge it and compliment myself on the achievement. Some people will spend the quarantine continuing to work their old job, but from home. Others will spend it sitting around and feeling unmotivated. There are those who, like me, see it as an opportunity to try new things and stay relatively active (many are doing far more than me). It’s important you don’t compare yourself to anyone else. One person’s self-care isn’t a good fit for the next person.
If sitting around is what you’ve chosen, look closely at what you’re doing. It is as much a type of self-care as anything else. It’s entirely possible you’ve burnt yourself out running in seventeen directions at once. Your body, mind, and spirit are taking this opportunity to recharge. It may have only taken me a few weeks to find my stride, but I wasn’t overly stressed out by life. If it takes you longer, it’s because you need it. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to find your own new version of normal. There are no wrong answers.
Feeling Grateful Every Day
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for new opportunities to indulge in self-care and self-improvement.
- I’m grateful for all the instructors and teachers who have embraced technology to bring me classes and dance events that keep my body active, and even more limber than before.
- I’m grateful for long, quiet days when I can read, write, or do whatever I feel I need to do with my time alone. It’s all good.
- I’m grateful for friends who share inspiration and motivation and encourage me to do the same. Being there for others is the greatest kind of self-care I know.
- I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, silence, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, books to read, small gatherings with friends, new experiences, completion of old tasks, peace, health, balance, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward