Life Coaching Tip: Self-care practices, such as eating healthy and getting plenty of rest, typically aren’t as exciting as treats, and usually require effort which our brains are hardwired to avoid. Self-care requires discipline, and your mind will sometimes try to keep you from the activities that will help you to feel the healthiest. When this happens, remind yourself that you deserve to live a healthy life, and choose well for yourself – one decision at a time.
As I was heading out for my walk one cold and rainy morning last week, I was not feeling it. The air was damp, and my bed felt extra warm and snuggly. I was still talking myself through my objections as I laced up my sneakers and walked out the door.
What usually inspires me to get going, and I use the word “inspires” very generously here, is that I remind myself that good self-care starts with one decision at a time. When I begin my day doing something to promote good physical and mental health, then the rest of the day seems to flow more naturally in a healthy direction.
It’s interesting that once I get going on my walk, no matter the weather, I always feel better and think, “I’m really glad I did this.” This has happened to me more times than I can count, but still my brain must take me through the same drill – one decision at a time.
When I talk with my life coaching clients about developing a self-care routine, they often think I am referring to activities such as taking a bubble bath, getting a pedicure, or planning a vacation. And although these types of activities are great, they are treats and not necessarily self-care practices.
Self-care practices typically aren’t as exciting as treats, and usually require effort which our brains are hardwired to avoid. Some examples include:
- Spending a Sunday afternoon prepping healthy meals for the week.
- Journaling after dinner.
- Stopping at one cocktail and ordering a glass of water.
- Shutting down your laptop and phone and going to bed on time.
- Saying “no” to things that don’t align with your life-plan and saying “yes” to things that do.
- Driving past the fast-food restaurant and going home for lunch.
- Skipping the elevator and taking the stairs.
Self-care requires discipline, and it is easy to get off track. If you’re like me (human), then your mind will sometimes try to keep you from the activities that will help you to feel the healthiest.
Interestingly, this can even include ones that you enjoy! At a very primal level, our minds want to keep us safe in our comfort zone, expending the least amount of energy possible.
If you are finding it difficult to maintain good self-care habits, ask yourself: “What’s happening in my life when I feel the healthiest?” Then, consider how many of those things are you actually doing on a regular basis.
If your answer is not many, then it’s time to create a self-care to-do list, making these things your priority.
Now I should add, just because you have a list doesn’t mean your brain won’t try to talk you out of it. However, now you’re on to yourself!
And when you start to make excuses to stay in bed (like I did) on a cold and rainy morning, you can recognize it for what it is and get yourself moving.
Remember, sister . . .
Just one decision at a time!