Are you any good at keeping them? What do you do when you go off track? Oh, I struggle with this one!
In order to maintain some kind of balance in my life, what I know for sure is that I need to practice certain things every day. I use the word practice because that's what it is - a practice.
When my practice slips, I don't function so well. My wellbeing suffers and this impacts my energy, focus and relationships. I don't know which ones have the greatest impact or why. All I know is that it works. I met a colleague for coffee recently in my gym gear, after a spin class. We had a chat about the benefits of exercise in warding off depression. There is plenty of evidence to prove that it works. Of European descent, he feels the black dog descending in Autumn as the seasons change in the southern hemisphere. During our conversation committed to getting back to some exercise.
I’ve had my own challenges with the black dog over my life. I’m a slow learner and I’ve discovered some strategies and practices that actually work for me. I’m the first to admit that we are all different. I like to think I can do it once and it will sustain me. Ha ha! Like showering, it’s a daily practice. These days, I no longer fight it.
I like to keep things simple. I know there are heaps of things I 'should' be doing. Pfft! Here's what I'm committed to, this list of seven:
Sleep Hygiene - Menopause has landed and made herself at home in my body for the time being. Sleeplessness is a side effect I am not enjoying. It was common for me to be wide awake at 4am cleaning out the pantry or preparing a meal ready to turn on the thermomix at a respectable hour. Ha ha! I now have a lovely sleep hygiene regime that is serving me well. I am exercising my will and staying in bed using meditation and body relaxing strategies when my mind is overactive. It was tough going for a few months. Worth persevering. I’ve been sleeping well and waking refreshed most days.
Exercise - I no longer have to think about it. It’s a practice that occurs every day. It is a combination of Fit 45, spin, yoga, pilates, walking or weights. It happens in the morning or early evening, usually at the gym and sometimes at home or in the park. I keep it flexible with the commitment to move every day for 45 minutes. This is a practice that serves my mind, body and emotional wellbeing in good stead. Easy. And …. I love it! I’m in my happy place with this one.
Meditation - First thing in the morning, I allow myself the gift of waking slowly and mindfully, breathing and reading a meditative text. Takes up 10-15 minutes of my morning before my feet hit the floor. A similar practice in the evening.
Journal - I write at night. Sometimes I vent, reflect on the day, review what worked and what needs improvement, what and who I’m grateful for. I never read it. This practice sets up my sleep routine.
Hydration - I keep a one litre jug of filtered water infused with fresh herbs, cucumber or lemon, whatever I feel like really. It gets refilled. I measure it so I can monitor my intake. Saves me guessing. Sometimes I track it on my fitbit and sometimes I don’t. I’ve noticed that if I’m tired, it generally has something to do with my hydration levels. Steel water bottles are great for the car. They keep water cool in summer and herbal tea warm in winter. Love these! I have different sizes to suit what I’m doing.
Nutrition - Balance, good fats and all things green. It needs to look good, be tasty and colourful to keep my interest. Six months ago I quit sugar and flour. After being diagnosed with an auto immune condition, my specialist directed me to drop weight. I took action. This has allowed 10 kilos to melt off my body. I found some muscle tone underneath. I knew it was there. I had it well hidden! After only one month, all sugar cravings subsided. I would not have believed it was possible!
Nature - I need time in it every day. It might be trimming my roses, picking at my succulent garden or extracting a weed. It may be a walk in the sun or rain. As long as I get out.
80% of the time, I reckon I’m on track. 20% of the time I’m not. I’m human. I stuff it up too. Seems I’m a work in progress. Not quite done yet!
What works for you? I’m curious...