Second nature self care
Last month I wrote about lowering your standards so self care is an invitation, not an obligation. For example, rather than resisting an hour of yoga, offer yourself one pose. If more happens after that one pose, awesome! If it doesn’t, you’ve still practiced. The purpose in lowering standards is to offer yourself an invitation to self care that’s easy to say “yes” to. The more often you accept that invitation, the sooner you’ll find yourself with a steady habit that can grow with you and is less likely to get chucked out when things feel busy. I like to call these daily invitations “self care micro-rituals.” In a minute or less they can re-orient you to your commitment to yourself. These little rituals remind you that self care isn’t just a scattered grab bag of health habits and affirmations. Self care is a mindset, a lifestyle, and a loving commitment. Today, let’s build onto the idea that we can create steady self care rituals from seemingly tiny actions. There are thousands of little habits we carry out comfortably every single day. These actions, like brushing your teeth or zipping your pants, are so commonplace you rarely notice them. There was a time, however, when these little habits didn’t come naturally. You had to practice them before they became automatic. Have you also ever noticed how many of your daily habits are naturally attached to other habits? For example: you finish breakfast, then you brush your teeth. You put on your pants, then you check your zipper. You have dinner, then you take the dog for a walk. The conference call starts, then you open up Facebook. (Just checking that I’m not the only one who does this, right?) One action now follows the other like clockwork, no second guessing or overthinking. With practice and patience, our self care micro-rituals become second nature and low-maintenance, too. Here are some of mine: After I start the coffee, I step onto my yoga mat. Before I turn a door or car key, I take a deep breath in and out. After I feed the cats at night, I open up my journal. Self care micro-rituals aren’t about dazzling the world with your willpower (which is kind of a myth anyway, and a topic for another day)! They are simply invitations to re-affirm your commitment to yourself. Want to create a self care micro-ritual? Make it irresistibly easy and attach it to something automatic. Here’s a way to experiment with it: 1) Think of an already daily action. For example: getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, or letting the dog out. 2) Add onto that action the world’s smallest, simplest self care practice. This micro-ritual is just about creating an invitation, so challenge yourself to make it so easy it sounds borderline lazy. For example: if you want to hydrate more, just focus on filling up your water bottle. Hey, some days you might even drink it! Then hit reply to tell me what self care micro-ritual you’re going to try for a week, so I can cheer you on! I’m excited to hear your invitation. Self care takes tending, exploration, and compassionate inner work. If you want more support, let’s schedule some time to talk.