Starting a new self-care routine, or maintaining a routine consistently, can be challenging. You get busy, other people interfere with your plans, or maybe you realize that you don’t even like the self-care activity you have chosen. In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie discuss tips and tricks you can use to support you in sticking to your self-care routine and living a healthier life.
00:00 Introduction 00:52 Scenario 02:05 Jeremie – Don’t track self-care in your head. Physically track your successes. 06:00 Discussion 07:10 Indrani – Reduce self-care to a list of your favorite choices. 11:10 Discussion 14:25 Amy – Get help and support when you can’t do it on your own. 20:20 Discussion 22:10 Jeremie – Change your self-care routines until something works. 26:00 Discussion 29:50 Conclusion 31:41 Outro
There are far too many self-care practices in the world to list them all. However, if you are looking for something new to try this year you can listen to Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie as they share their own self-care practices from 2017. In this episode, part two of two, the ILF Team each shares new self-care practices they will be trying in 2018.
00:00 Introduction 00:35 Jeremie – a new self-care practice he is rebooting from his past 02:55 Indrani – preparing for a future self-care goal 05:44 Amy – holding space for your personal life after work is done 09:45 Discussion 17:35 Conclusion 18:49 Outro
I heard about gratitude journals years ago and brushed them off as a waste of time (I have a very “left-brain” background).
After starting my work with Indrani’s Light Foundation I would hear Indrani talking about her gratitude journal, but still filed it away as “something I didn’t have time for”.
Last year in October, I finally decided to give the gratitude journal idea a try but didn’t really have any idea how to get started. I knew that writing a traditional journal entry in complete sentences didn’t feel like something I would actually do, so I worked through a few ideas, and finally landed on something that worked.
Now, when I say “worked,” I mean that I successfully journaled for 17 out of 61 days in October and November before stopping completely in December.
You must get started somewhere right?
In episode 15 of the Caring for the Cargivers Podcast Indrani, Amy, and I discussed some of our self-care practices. One of the self-care practices I want to improve upon in 2018 is keeping a gratitude and success journal. When I started keeping my own journal in late 2017 I had no idea what I was doing, but over time I managed to find a system that works for me.
To kick off 2018 I thought I would share how I am using my gratitude and success journal in the hopes it might help you give the idea a try.
How to start a gratitude and success journal (the Jeremie way)
My template includes: gratitude, habits, and successful day.
Buy a journal – I found an empty journal we had sitting around the house (see the image at the start of the post).
Decide what you want to track daily in your journal – I track gratitude, habits, and successful days.
Create a template for your journal entries on the first page – or if you are less worried about structure skip this step. Remember this is YOUR journal.
Pick how often you want to write in your journal – I am committed to writing in mine every week day, if I make entries on the weekend that is a bonus. I also try to write in mine first thing in the morning before starting my work day.
Start using your journal – I am re-kickstarting my journal Friday January 26th.
Don’t beat yourself up when you get off track. Just start again.
How I use my journal
An example of my entry for January 26th.
Section One: Gratitude
I start each day’s entry by reflecting on the previous day and writing down three things that I am grateful for from that day.
I reflect on my previous day for a couple of reasons:
I find I am usually too tired before bed to properly reflect on my day and write down my thoughts. If I try to journal at night, I just don’t do it.
By writing these three things down first thing in the morning I get an instant boost of energy to my day.
Section Two: Habit Formation
This middle section of my journal entry is dedicated to forming new positive habits. Currently I am trying to go for a walk, drink 4-8 glasses of water, and take my vitamins and other meds every day.
To form these activities into habits I know I have to repeat them enough times that they become routine: actions I take without even having to think about them. By recording my success with each habit in my journal I am reminded to complete each daily task and eventually (hopefully) form a new habit.
Section Three: Successful Day
Every day I select 3-5 tasks from my much longer task list that, if I finish them, will make me feel like I accomplished something and made my day successful.
This section is super important to my day. In the past I have always worked through my day using a long list of tasks I need to complete. What I discovered was, even when I finished a lot of the tasks on that list, I wasn’t feeling very accomplished. There were so many more tasks on the list.
For the end of 2017, and for 2018 I have stopped working of my long task list. Instead, I record 3-5 tasks that I need to complete each day that will make me feel like the day was successful.
If I manage to get more tasks done…great! But achieving more than the five tasks listed in my journal is not a requirement. Only the three to five in the journal need to be finished for my day to be successful.
At the end of 2017 this tweak to my daily routine made a big difference. I found that, at the end of the day, while wrapping things up and transitioning to family time I was feeling much more accomplished and had higher levels of energy.
By limiting my expectations of myself (which usually were not very realistic or fair) I have set myself up to succeed and put myself in a better headspace for the rest of the day and evening.
Journaling every day
Right now, I have a one-day-in-a-row streak going for my 2018 gratitude and success journal.
I am hoping that I can make writing in this journal a successful part of my self-care routine. However, I am also not going to beat myself up for not getting this self-care practice “right”. I think that is an important piece of any self-care routine: if the self-care routine makes you feel worse because you aren’t doing it, then find something different to try.
A self-care routine that makes you feel guilty isn’t doing its job.
I am looking forward to getting better at journaling, and I would love your help. Let me know in the comments below what your gratitude journal (or any sort of daily journal practice) looks like.
There are far too many self-care practices in the world to list them all. However, if you are looking for something new to try this year you can listen to Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie as they share their own self-care practices from 2017. In this episode, part one of two, the ILF Team each share one self-care practice that worked for them in 2017, and one self-care practice they want to improve upon in 2018.
00:00 Introduction 00:57 Welcome 02:53 Indrani – Finding gratitude in the small moments 05:37 Amy – Communication your own needs 10:00 Jeremie – spend time with others doing what you love 12:47 Discussion about what self-care practices worked in 2017 15:58 Amy – yoga and meditation 19:14 Jeremie – keeping a gratitude and success journal 22:54 Indrani – restorative yoga practice 22:52 Discussion about what self-care practices need improving in 2018 32:43 Conclusion
If you aren’t setting clear boundaries, and communicating your expectations, you are going to find yourself in conflict. Indrani shares a personal coaching message about setting and dealing with expectations at work and at home.
In the last Brighter Life Bit you made a list of the different shame categories (the who, and what that cause you shame). The next question to ask is “why do these people and things cause me to feel shame?”
The answer is: Expectations.
The expectations of who you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to be compared to who you want to be and how you want to be.
Look over the different people, events, and things that you wrote down as triggering your feelings of shame, and beside each write down the expectation you are supposed to meet for each of these triggers:
Body image – I need to look like the magazine model
Money – I need to make more than $X
Teachers- you need to get more than 70% to be successful
Family – you need to take care of us, not yourself
To understand your feelings of shame you need to name it, and recognize that you are experiencing shame. Speaking (or writing) these expectations into the world is a big step towards changing how shame affects your life.
You can bring your own shame triggers, and the underlying expectations into the world by sharing them with the ILF community in the comments below…
I usually write in my gratitude journal right before bed but last night I came home late and was extremely tired. I decided to go to bed and I promised myself that I would write the entries when I woke up the next day. So here I am at the kitchen counter, the house is silent and my coffee is warm and welcoming.
I do a quick scan to remember the main things that I was grateful for from the day before and I easily access a few nice memories.
I wrote them down; happy to keep the promise I made to myself for completing my list.
Then, I pause and I scan my brain again and KAPOW!
All of the other things that I was grateful for all downloaded at once and my brain said “HELLO!”
It was a fascinating experience.
I wrote down all the items that I wanted to capture and then realized that something had shifted internally.
I woke up joyful… so that was not what had shifted.
I woke up grateful…so that was not what had shifted.
I woke up ready to exercise…so that was not what had shifted.
I sat back for a few breaths and finally realized what it was that had shifted.
I seemed to have been filled with hopeful expectation for this new day and wondered in a flash what great things were about to unfold.
Hopeful expectation for this new day!
Can any start to any new day be ANY sweeter?
I think not.
There were so many days in my past when I woke up with trepidation, angst and fear for what the new day would bring. I scoured my world for all the BAD things that would go wrong… and I would find each and every one of them. I found horrible things around every corner, just sitting for me…waiting to be discovered.
I painted my life with all the pain and the heartache I could find.
I coated myself with every single bad memory and bad experience I ever had.
I was miserable.
I could NOT enjoy the positives right before me.
I did not have the training to see the positives in my life.
It was this daily dose of dissatisfaction that finally brought me to me knees and the pain finally got large enough for me to seek help.
Help came in the form of:
1. Intense exercise that lead me to training for my triathlon.
2. Consistent meetings with an amazing therapist.
3. A decision to put the love I felt for my children at the beginning and end of every day and as bookends to everything I did for them during the day.
4. A decision to speak differently to my children. I spoke more softly and kindly. I treated them as the precious gifts they were.
5. I began to fully comprehend the short amount of time I had here on earth with the folks that I loved.
Yes, I did all these things simultaneously. I began to develop the skill of pushing the negatives out of my zoom lens of life and began to zoom in on the good that was all around me.
Now, I have the ability to scan my brain for great memories and they are immediately delivered into my conscious mind.
This is a life affirming skill.
I invite you to try it.
It is not easy but mastery will save your life.
Where should you start?
Go for a daily walk…even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Leave your cell phone at home and just walk. Notice the glory of nature along the way…even if you are in a city.
Even in a city you can hear and see birds and notice weeds popping up between the slabs of concrete.
Look for the messages that say, “You are here…and here is a good place to be.”
Please give this a try. You will be happy you did.
Love and light,
Give to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your support will be used towards covering the costs of the free one-day or two-day, in-person training the ILF Team provides to the advocates at domestic violence organizations across the United States. Your support has already paid for training in Texas, Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Illinois.