Look, I realize we’re all struggling in some way right now. Whether it’s a sick family member, fear of getting sick yourself, the emotional strain of social distancing, fear of (or actual) job loss, having to push harder to keep your business alive, working on the front lines, or even not being able to go to your favorite places, life can seem uncertain, unfair, and plain old hard right now.
So, it’s normal and understandable to give yourself a little grace right now, and I’m all about that. If it means not waking up at 4am to crank out a crazy workout, or taking a day to really feel your emotions and even mope about a bit, or even downing a pint of ice cream on a particularly hard day – it’s OK. However you need to cope, if it truly makes you feel better, I want you to cope.
But I also know that there’s a huge difference between true coping – things that we need to get through our emotions and that eventually make us feel better – and skipping out on the things that work so well for us. I know the power of habit is enormous, and that sticking to the habits that make us feel great (whatever they are for you) is even more important in this uncertain time.
It’s when uncertainty is running rampant, when we don’t know what tomorrow holds, when our brain skips towards fear … it’s then that we need habit even more. Because habits help us cling to normalcy. They help us remember that we are in control of our lives, our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors. And when we do the things that make us feel great, even when it feels easier not to do those things, often times, we start to feel a little better. Would have rather stayed in bed and snoozed, but got yourself up and did a fun workout, and then notice a little pep in your step the rest of the day? Would have rather pouted and complained about what’s negative, but encouraged yourself to write a gratitude journal, and slowly realized that you have so very much to be grateful for? THAT is the power of habit.
I’m almost always a creature of habit, so some of these things may not surprise you, but I am reminded even more now that it is these things that keep me positive, keep me sane, keep me grounded. These are the 7 habits I’m sticking to right now. What habits might make you feel better?
- Morning routine. This is my “ride or die,” as the kids say these days. Without my morning routine, I am absolutely a less positive, less generous, less grounded, less present, and more anxious person. It is THAT powerful to me that I can’t remember the last day I’ve skipped it. In fact, during this time, I’ve made it even longer – adding a page of journaling and extending my meditation and reading time allotments. To read more about my morning routine, click here.
- During this time, I have been less rigid about a specific exercise schedule, and more open to doing what feels good to my body and mind on any given day. But there hasn’t been a day during this difficult time that I haven’t moved my body (don’t worry, when I need recovery, I’ll stick to a walk and a gentle yoga flow). I’ve noticed myself doing a lot more walks, because the weather in Texas has been gorgeous and it’s great to connect with Mother Nature, especially in times of fear. But I’ve also been loving running, biking, taking virtual classes at Grit Fitness (where I teach), The Class, and Instagram workouts (my favorites are Madeline Moves and Cindy Yu Fitness).
- Learning. It is my all-time favorite hobby, and I believe in upping things that feel good during times of instability. So I’m reading more books (here’s my 2020 recommendation list), listening to more podcasts (here are my top 25 recommendations), and attending more free webinars. I love learning, and it’s great to keep my brain engaged on something positive instead of letting it spiral to the negative!
- Meal planning and food prep. The first week of working from home, I thought I could ease up on meal planning and food prep. After all, my desk is now only steps from my refrigerator, and I saved time commuting! But I’m still working packed 12-hour workdays consistently, and with my morning routine and workouts in there, there’s little time left for prepping. So, for me, this habit is absolutely critical to ensuring that I’m continuing to fuel my body with what makes it feel great. For more ideas, check out my Instagram, Facebook, or this post of lunch prep ideas.
- Weekly goal review. I am a huge goal setter (see this post for 3 things I do before setting goals), and a critical piece of achieving my goals is consistently checking in on them. Even though the pandemic forced me to pivot a bit on how I’ll achieve goals, I refuse to let it be an excuse for why I won’t reach goals. I WILL reach them, and it takes a weekly check-in for me to do so. I’m checking in on everything from my social media time to my nutrition to my sleep and heart rate variability to the number of clients I served. The Excel spreadsheet is pretty intense, but for me, it helps me stay grounded and focused.
- Drinking plenty of water. It sounds simple, but when we’re out of our routines, water can be the first thing to go. I firmly believe that staying hydrated keeps me more energized, productive, and healthy, and improves digestion and reduces cravings. I have an electric tea kettle in my home office that I’m constantly using to heat up water for hot tea during client days when I’m talking 10+ hours per day, and I’m glugging down water the entire time. Be sure you’re keeping a big glass on your desk and staying hydrated, too!
- Connection with those important to me. I’m an introvert, so it may seem that connection isn’t as critical to me as some, but staying connected to those important to me is more critical now than ever. I’m very intentional about my Saturday night “in-home date nights” with Kevin (even though we’re at home together 24/7!), my Wednesday “lunch date” with my sister (even though that involves going for walks on separate sides of town while talking on the phone), and my Sunday time with my parents (even though that involves me picking up their groceries, and them standing inside their front door with the door open with me on the driveway 6 feet away chatting). I’ve connected with more friends and networked more than I have in a long time, and the connection (even virtual) feels good.
Now it’s your turn … Do you find yourself sticking to any habits lately? Which habits are you sticking to? Which habits might you want to recommit to?