Just two months ago, I felt like I was really struggling to put into the place the basics of what makes me feel my happiest and healthiest. This was, of course, midwinter, and my inner hibernating nature really took hold and my mental wherewithal was as sluggish as could be. My movement and exercise fell by the wayside for months. Food cravings started to creep in every day. My supplement and morning routine was often completely ignored. Every time the cheerful voice of wellness piped up, my louder voice of overwhelm and laziness piped up louder and I often made every excuse to listen to that louder voice. It was a ridiculous struggle, and I started to succumb to the daily guilt of not doing my best. This all was especially troubling because I literally create care plans for other people every single day, stressing the importance of routines, rituals, nutrition, herbal therapies, self care, and making their health a priority. Why was this so hard all of a sudden? (Hint – creating a care plan for yourself is inherently a difficult task, and I think I figured out why.)
I realized that one of the biggest struggles for my clients is their sense of overwhelm. Not their day to day grind, but the overwhelm of how many health changes they wanted to make all at once. They get in their own way, and feel like if they can’t do it all at once, why bother doing one thing? This was exactly how I felt, too. In my head, I wanted to exercise more, eat more plants, take my supplements every day, cook more, read more, have less screen time, perfect my evening routine, learn more things, take Gromit for our 3 mile walk every day…the list goes on and on. It was so jumbled. So disorganized. So much.
Fast forward two months, and I finally worked it out. I took a lot of intentional time creating a care plan for myself, and it brought so much into perspective.
1. Take intentional time to check in. Sit quietly. Breathe deeply. Calm down. I took one whole evening to turn everything off, and just sit quietly with this enormous task.
2. Journal it out. Make a list of what you want to change and the practices you want to put in place. This might be three things. It might be thirty. Once it’s on paper, everything becomes more clear. Get it out of your head and into the physical realm.
3. Prioritize. Put the simple things at the top of your list and more challenging or time consuming ones at the bottom. I put simple things at the top of my list like, “Morning routine: a) apple cider vinegar + 6 ounces water first thing, b) probiotics, c) fulvic trace minerals, d) protein rich breakfast” (with exact recipes listed). At the bottom of my list, I have things like, “Lifestyle: a) read 1 educational book every month, b) start morning with 20 minutes of yoga/exercise/movement, c) shut off all screens after 6:00pm.”. In between, I have my daily goals, like walking 3 miles a day with my pup, practicing mindful eating and cooking, 20 minutes of combine stretches, weights, muscle toning exercises throughout the day and rock climbing 4 days per week. I also wrote down, hour by hour, how I want to manage my time in the evenings and elaborated on my evening tea ritual (evening tea is SO AMAZING, FYI).
4. Be honest. Seriously ask yourself, “What’s getting in my way? Why am I not doing this?”. The answer is really important, because it’s the mental blocks that are the hardest to acknowledge and remove. You’ll catch yourself saying the same excuse immediately after your realize it for the first time, and it’s easier to move past after this.
5. Start with two practices every week, and start at the top of your list. Implement the simple daily habits first, then work your way down. You have to do something at least 15 times to form a habit, so repeat, repeat, repeat before layering on more new habits. Your care plan should, above all else, be sustainable. Moving slowly through your goals helps make this a lasting reality.
6. Have someone hold you accountable if you can. Show someone else your list, or verbalize your goals and have another person check in with you every day, or every week.
It’s so much easier to see someone else’s life from the outside and pin point the areas that they could use improvement and see and hear why they’re not implementing these. It’s so much more difficult to do this for yourself. That’s why actually going to see someone, whether it’s your doctor, nutritionist, acupuncturist, friend etc is really helpful to get that outside perspective and get out of your own head. We all know what to do for ourselves. I can’t stress that enough. We just get caught up in our own stories and our own sense of wellness overwhelm. But I can say for a fact that every little thing really makes a difference – every single one.
For you – Set aside some time this week to begin to make a care plan for yourself. Identify your areas of struggle and the areas where you excel. Journal it out, and share. We can all use some support with this!