Iterating on self care

I spent the last month working on a new habit. Some of you may be thinking it’s because of the new year, but that was a coincidence for me, I’ve been adding in things here and there to my life to help me take better care and deal with the world.

Last fall I committed to running three times a week throughout the entire winter. The winter of 2018-2019 I’d done a horrible job of running regularly, using bad weather as my excuse. This winter I wanted to keep going, knowing it was good for my physical and mental health. And, except for one week where we had ice on the ground for a few days, I’ve done it. I missed only one run one week since the beginning of November. On top of that I’ve run much longer distances, each week I do a long run and they increased in length. It’s been good for me in numerous ways, but the most important is that I get a break and simply run. I know it’s good for my physical body, but for me the mental benefits out weight the physical.

Knowing that January was going to be a tough month with a huge project launch at work as well as the events of the world and my own government, I wanted to add something else in. This time I chose to commit to getting on the yoga mat each and every day of the month. I woke early on week days to do it before work and used a free thirty day program offered by Yoga with Adriene. I came to enjoy the early morning quiet as I got up, snuck out of the bedroom, walked through the house to the room with my yoga mat, and sat down taking in a deep breath. I kept the volume on the videos low and after they finished I sat in quiet for a few more moments.

It’s hard to put into words how much that addition changed things for me this month. I started my day off with easy movement and then three days a week I ran at mid day. My back, which troubles me in a particular spot, is not nearly as bad as it was in December. I was able to stop during frustrating moments at work and walk to the window and look out and take a deep breath, giving myself space before dealing with whatever was before me. I honestly had no idea how much this would change my attitude towards work and everything else.

I say all of this not to brag, but to remind myself that these things are important. The running along with the yoga are helping me cope in a time when that’s quite hard. It keeps me away from the news, keeps me away from work slack, and helps me focus some time on just being with myself. These times are hard, but there are ways we can get through them if we look for them and we try. If you like low-fi physical ways to start a new habit, I recommend Austin Kleon’s free PDF to cross off the days as you go on a journey of trying something new.