Autumn is here. The changing colors of the leaves is a good reminder that shift in our routines and habits are worth revisiting. This is a great time to shift our food habits from cold to warm as we also upgrade our closets with fall sweaters and turn on the switch for the heat in the house. With US election season right around the corner - how are you feeling? Tensed? Anxious? Stressed? I voted early - about two weeks ago and now I am just waiting! I am staying away from news to befriend my own nervous system. So much goes on around us that impact how we feel! Not to mention the continuing pandemic may have at times left you feeling frazzled or unsteady. I have certainly had those days – where I felt scattered not aligned - not feeling too eager to face the world and felt my days slipped by leaving me feeling unaccomplished! With COVID-19 and the pandemic still in place, having all three children at home and the little one under 3 - finding a balance in my routine and incorporating a daily sustainable self-care practice has been a challenge. I went through phases of trial and error to see what worked and what did not. Not to mention that the time that is passing feels quite different than it used to. However, what I have realized after almost 6 months into the pandemic is we have to do the best we can to find joy in our every day life by cultivating a little awareness. I have also realized that self-care is so essential to stay grounded.
At times, we may feel trapped in how we feel and we loose sight that:
i) This too shall pass
ii) There are things we can do to change the pattern of our thoughts - only if we bring some mindful awareness to our though pattern.
One thing I have realized in my own path to find ease and lessen suffering is: for these times of uncertainty when we struggle to find the ground beneath us - we need to craft a consistent practice of self-care so it can tether us to what is. We cannot do much to control all that happens around us but we can certainly control how we act, react, and respond to the situations life throws at us by keeping our nervous system regulated. Self care is such an essential thing to keep our nervous system healthy and our brain happy. Yes! Self-care plays a significant role in regulating our emotions and thus our nervous system and how we interact with our surroundings and show up in the world.
So, what does a sustainable self-care routine mean?
A sustainable self-care routine is one that feels nourishing to your mind, body, and soul. It is something that helps you recalibrate from the daily stress and anxiety and helps you rejuvenate. It keeps you tethered to some form of normalcy and structure. Your self-care routine is unique to you and can be very different than someone else. If you feel like your self-care is missing because you would rather spend a day in the spa or have an entire evening out with friends or none at all – it’s time to pause and revisit that idea. A little self-care can go a long way! Especially considering our relationship to time these days and it being so scarce, we have to squeeze in any bits and pieces of self-care whenever we can. It does not need to be long; but certainly needs to be consistent and intentional. If you are too busy to integrate self-care and self-love in our daily routine – you will be left depleted and exhausted mentally and emotionally. Just as vitamins and minerals are considered essential minerals for the body; daily dose of self-care is essential for the well-being of your entire being - that encompasses mental, emotional, and physical beings to reset and reenergize you. It helps you reconnect to your purpose and find meaning in the daily mundane activities life. As you create some time and space for yourself, it will give you a sense of control over your routine so you can design your day and implement it accordingly instead of letting the day control you. One little trick to feel more in charge of your day and time is to accomplish even the little tasks that you set for in your daily routine.
What does a sustainable self-care routine look like?
Transformation that happens with small shifts is more sustaining and meaningful. We all make new years resolution to eat healthier, workout harder, and turn life around with big changes. We try hard! Instead - try easy! Baby step! To put it in practice, if you are trying to eat better or reduce sugar from your diet start with skipping the sugar in your tea or don’t give into that tub of ice-cream every night; if you want to walk for an hour - start with 15 minutes of walk initially. If meditating 20 minutes feels overwhelming – start with 5 minutes of meditation a day. Just as our physical muscles need to build strength and endurance over time, our mind needs little doses and short practices to build resilience. All we need to do is to show up for practice – the rest will follow. Self-care is an agreement to yourself to develop a loving & kind relationship with your whole self - not just one or two part - but the whole part and with deep reverence!
In this path, show enough grace to yourself when you are unable to keep your agreement. Be kind to yourself. Life happens. Part of the journey of this life is to acknowledge that not everything is feasible – some days we have to make peace and let go. The goal is to simply enjoy the journey without feeling defeated with the small setbacks and continue to show up. So, whether you are thinking to start or restart a morning run, journaling, yoga practice, sit for meditation, spiritual reading, or go out for some nature therapy – commit to it by keeping it small, simple, and consistent. Remember slow and steady wins the race? Also, kingdoms are not built overnight. It takes time to build and develop something grand – a resilient self does not develop overnight either. It takes practice, patience, and time. You will know your self-care routine is working when you find joy and recharged from those small acts, respond to the big and little events of life with calm and presence, and are able to stay grounded in the present moment. When this happens know that your nervous system is well regulated and your brain is happy - which means your self-care routine is serving you well!
The Black Panther/ King T’challa a.k.a. Chad Bostwick (may his soul rest in peace) said – “you want to be the hero of your story”. I know deep in your heart you desire to be the hero of your story – take small steps. You are worth it! This pandemic has been quite a journey! Did any of this resonate with you? How you are staying sane and keeping your nervous system regulated with so much happening all around? I would love to hear - please share! And please remember to carve out some time in your daily routine to do something that fills your well!
Until next time…. Peace!