A question I’m curious about is how do you create a plan that works WITH your body, in kindness , to gently bring some life back into this area?
To me it’s all about the intentions set, and being flexible with my expectations. I always failed at developing routines before (unless by toughing it up in unhealthy ways) because it’d go like this:
- Having a blast during the first days/week, high motivation
- First disturbance in the system I set (more tired that day, new external stressors, physical symptoms) => I decide to take a day off
- A day off becomes 2, then 3, etc. => I end up in an “all-or-nothing” mindset and give up.
So I need to:
- Not having a day without taking in account how I feel emotionally and physically before taking action
- Not having a day with doing absolutely nothing – something is better than nothing instead of all or nothing mindset
Something that I’ve learned over time is that planning something as if every single day is going to be the same just doesn’t work for me. I can’t have the same expectation all the time. So I’d like to try out a system that was once shared with me, which is to have to choose between 3 options each time I’m going to walk or do yoga, each option being a level of difficulty. For the goals I’ve set it will look like:
- Low – Principle of “something is better than nothing”
=> Walk = Minimum of 10 min walk
=> Yoga = Minimum of 5min of yoga/ 1 posture
- Intermediate – Principle of “don’t underestimate, but also don’t oversweat”
=> Walk = Complete a 30 min walk
=> Yoga = Complete a short yoga session (10-15 min)
- High – Principle of “embrace the momentum”
=> Walk = reach 5500 steps.
=> Yoga = Complete a long yoga session (25+min).
Before each activity I’ll just have a mini check-in with myself/meditate to be aware of how I feel and choose an option accordingly. I’m also curious to ask myself during those moments, if the limits I feel are physical or emotional. From there, there will be lots of combinations possible. I’ve set a specific time for walks, and one for yoga, which will work as a break mid-day, and closure after work. I want to keep track of these and see if I learn from it, because it really goes in hand with what I’m exploring in therapy. Like seeing at the end of an activity: did I overestimate, underestimate, or chose the right option? I want to get better at 1- acknowledging my body’s needs/sensations, etc. , 2- respecting its limits and embracing its abilities. Basically, seeing over time: am I getting better at idenfying what I can/can’t do and making decisions accordingly.
What is the first win you’ll be able to celebrate, and how will you celebrate it?
Tough question! Celebrating is always hard for me, but it is a key part of this process. Reading your question, I think I will do the following on a weekly basis:
- Edit the first post here to share a weekly milestone (new reach or cumulated, doesn’t matter).
- Pick one item in a list I’d create – List of activities and things I want to do, but that I’ve been constantly pushing away because joy-creativity-play are almost never a priority or inducing guilt. I have very simple tastes, but things that are “normal” for most can be turned into self-care practices to me, and enjoyable rewards in some way. For example even just going outside and taking some fancy coffee in a bar while reading a book is a big “treat yourself” thing to me, and something I do really enjoy. So that would be the spirit of this list. I’m all about gamifying things like this (action plan).
I need to be overly generous with myself when it comes to celebrating and acknowledging, even if I overdo it at first, because it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory to me, while knowing rationally that it is okay.