You do everything right. You have a daily regimen that includes things that you do for yourself. Things like taking care of your body, your mind and your soul. You are feeling great because you are taking the time to treat yourself daily to things that are helping to create the life you desire. Then something happens. Your in-laws come to visit, you have a party to plan or you are traveling for a weekend and have a million things to do to get ready. Or it may be something more serious like you or your loved one becomes ill, you have to move or you lose your job. Things happen…life happens! But when these things happen do you instantly drop your daily regimen that has been serving you so well? In times of stress, illness or turmoil it is more important than ever to take time to care for yourself. Dropping the things that normally feel good can make the hard times even harder to get through. You are used to these positive activities and stopping them abruptly can add to your stress, especially if some of your activities are stress relieving by nature like walking, exercising or meditation. Neglecting to do the things that are good for you during rough times may also make it harder to get your old good habits that you have worked so hard to instill back into your daily routine. It’s kind of like starting over and the first step is always the hardest. I have listed some of the normal life situations that can take me off track.
Some Things That Take Me Off Track
- An out of town visitor
- Preparing for a trip or weekend away
- An illness
- An argument with a loved one
- A hard time at work
- An injury
- A medical procedure
- Schedule changes (me or Smiley)
- Partying too late
- Planning an event or party
- Being involved in a project
That’s When Things Got Out of Control
Sometimes in times of stress, turmoil or despair we tend eat the wrong foods, or even forget to eat al all. We don’t get the proper sleep and we don’t take time out for daily walks, exercises or relaxation. Some of us “check out” and avoid the people we love, letting them know that we will have time for them at a later date “when the storm passes”. The book we are reading is left on the bedside table and our kids or pets beg for our attention. When things are haywire it’s easy to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves but the ironic part is that it is the most important time to do so. Maybe it’s not the best time to begin that new art class or spend an hour in the gym, but doing amended versions of your normal daily activities can keep you in check and not having to start everything over from scratch once things go back to normal.
Revise your Rituals
If you have Morning Rituals like I do it can be overwhelming to take the time to do everything when things get crazy. It can become burdensome to focus on things like meditating and to take the time to write in a journal. You may go into autopilot and slip into old habits like smoking or eating fatty foods. During these times your Rituals are more important than ever. If it’s too taxing to spend an hour taking care of yourself try a modified version instead. Skip a few Rituals or just take less time on each. Even going through the motions can help you. Use your activities to help you in your situation. For example, when you are up against a dead line, getting up a few minutes earlier to plan your meals for the day, or doing some breathing exercises in the car can help manage your stress until your schedule is back to normal.
Examples of My Revised Rituals
- When I am sick I can: do my breathing exercises, read my mantras and stretch.
- When I have an out of town visitor I can: get enough sleep and meditate for five minutes.
- When I am in an argument with a loved one I can: exercise, drink enough water and write in my journal.
(Just remember to re-use those zip locks!)
It’s easy to make excuses to go back to old bad habits during hard, busy or trying times. Having the willpower to stay on track with your good habits during all times can keep you even keeled, rested, healthy and on track. Caring for yourself, mind, body and soul can make a huge difference when you are out of your normal routine. And when things go back to normal you won’t have to break any new old bad habits!
Please share in the comments the healthy activities that fall to the wayside when things in your schedule change. How can you revise your behavior to stay on track until things are back to normal?