If you’re anything like me, at some point in your life, you made a New Year’s Resolution or a declaration of some sort to make a change: “I’m going to start working out,” or “I’m starting my diet tomorrow.” And even though one of my favorite quotes is “every moment is a chance to begin again,” I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment and failure if I missed a workout or ate a cookie.
I am a serial over-achiever, over-tasker, and have always expected nothing less than perfection from myself. As a mother of two incredible daughters, a wife, a yoga instructor, a daughter, a trainer, and a career law enforcement officer, I have a lot going on. I now know, looking back, that I simply expected too much of myself, and it took a toll on my mental and physical health. This became even more apparent as I got older. For instance, regardless of how tired I was, if I’d worked a long call out, meaning getting called in late at night or on the weekend sometimes going 17-24 hours straight, I’d guilt myself into waking up at 4 am to workout. This overtaxing of my nervous system probably contributed to some long-term stress related health issues I have now. The grey hairs I have accumulated not only represent my 52 years on this earth, but a little bit of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.
Now when I’m tired, I sleep. A novel idea! Over the past several years, I have delved into all things wellness. I have become a bit obsessed with finding the best options to enhance my physical, mental, and emotional health. I noticed things really began to shift for me after I regularly started practicing yoga. Fast forward 12 years, and I have learned to choose habits which leave me feeling energized and refreshed, not depleted and exhausted (the 4 am workouts). Although it is an important foundation, I now know that wellness isn’t just about eating right and exercise. Meditation, hydration, sleep, spending time with those people who bring me joy, and doing what I love are a few of the others that help me build resilience. All those things together help me build a strong immune system and a resilient life.
In my quest, I have learned my resilience is directly related to my ability to adapt, my immunity, and the habits I instill in my daily life. When I want to start a new habit or want to make a positive change, I take it in stages. I consider what I want to do and more importantly WHY I want to do it. For instance, if what I am trying to work on is getting more sleep, my “why” would be something like “so I can feel more energized throughout my day which leads to increased work productivity and having the energy to bike ride with my kids in the evening.” This is not easy in my house, which leads me to the “how.” Every night at 9pm, I hit the hay. I may read or meditate before I fall asleep, but since the rest of my household is on quarantine time, they don’t get up as early as I do. This can be a challenge, but I have trained my family to support this habit, plus they know I’m a cranky mess if I don’t get sleep and I’m no fun to be around.
By taking this approach, I have accumulated some really great habits. I am a constant work in progress and definitely fall off some days, but I come back to the mantra “every moment is a chance to begin again.”
What small, incremental change can you make? Start with one small habit; get good at it; notice the ripple effect it has; wait 30 days and add on. If you can be just a little bit better every day, it adds up over time!!
Don’t know where to begin? Try one of the three M’s below and learn more about each one on September 17th at 2pm during the Women in Public Service webinar.
- Meal Prep