In a rut? Sometimes you just need to kick your own butt.
with Alyssa Kerbel, Founder of mini mioche
This winter was tough. I’m pretty sure I’ve always suffered from some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but this past January and February felt different – like a new level of low. I felt tired, unmotivated, unfocused, anxious, cranky and just generally unwell. Between the cold winter weather, the grey days, the kids at home 24/7, and the never-ending negative news stream, I found myself struggling to get through the days.
A few weeks ago though (on Friday, February 26th to be exact), I made a decision. I decided that enough was enough and I was done feeling like crap. I recognized what I needed most was just to kick my own butt. So I took a little time that weekend and made a list of some of the things that I know make me feel good. Then I made a pact with myself that starting that Monday, I would do them – no excuses.
This is what I committed to:
I would say I’m a pretty regular meditator – having done some form of daily practice for years, however I felt like I’d just been going through the motions for a while – meditating for the sake of meditating (basically to check it off the ‘to-do list’), instead of focusing on the actual practice and the benefits it gives me.
I committed to doing an online mediation course called Ziva Meditation, to help inspire me and kick start my practice again. I made sure I had an accountability partner going in because I know myself and that this is key for me to stay committed to something, and we checked in with each other daily to help us both stay motivated and on-track.
(P.S. The course is fantastic and breaks everything down in a really easily digestible, non woo-woo format to help you not only develop a sustainable practice but to truly understand how and why you need this in your life – totally worth the investment! However if you want to try something free to help kick start your own practice, Deepak and Oprah are currently offering a 21-day online meditation challenge).
I had been doing my best to stay active throughout the pandemic – doing short at home workouts and online videos here and there, knowing that movement and exercise is key for my stress management and mindset but again, it kind of felt like I was just doing it for the sake of doing it and not really enjoying the process.
I committed to moving my body for a minimum of 30 minutes every day – no exceptions. I signed up for a new site/app to kick start my practice (currently I’m using Melissa Wood Health and venturing into the world of Pilates based movement for the first time), combined with regular walks and light runs.
I know that movement is not only key for lifting my mood, clearing my mind and helping to reduce stress and anxiety but it creates energy in and around me. I know that when I’m feeling low and lethargic, the cure for me is to move more.
Daily outdoor time (ideally with a friend):
The timing of this pact with myself was actually perfect with some nicer spring weather finally on the horizon. Sun and warmer temps make a huge difference for me, it’s like an instant happy pill and I realized that during those long winter months there were periods where I didn’t leave my house at all for days.
I committed that I would get outside for a walk every day – even just a short one and ideally with a friend. I only realized recently just how much I truly missed seeing people and being with friends and family in person and walking was a great way to tick three boxes at once (movement + outside time + social activity) in a safe way. I started booking ‘walk/talks’ with different friends a minimum of 3 times per week and downloaded the Strava app so I could track my time/distance (which is just an added motivator).
Mindful phone use:
I had gotten into a very bad habit of opening my eyes in the morning and immediately checking my phone. I know that this is pretty much the worst way to start my day. I committed to not looking at my phone (or computer) for the first hour after waking up and also to limiting social media time in general (max of 45 minutes/day), recognizing that I didn’t always feel good after spending time scrolling and that it definitely wasn’t give me energy.
Alcohol free Monday-Thursday:
I have always enjoyed my wine but I realized that I had started cracking open the bottle almost nightly and that wasn’t necessarily making me feel better. So I committed to limiting wine and cocktails to weekends only and it’s definitely helped me stay on track with everything else throughout the week.
We all go through times when we feel off, low, stressed or depressed and that’s ok – especially right now with everything going on and all that we’re managing. I do my best to be kind and compassionate with myself – to remind myself that it’s ok not to feel ok. However, I also realize it’s possible to change how I feel simply by making a decision to change my thoughts and actions and by committing to doing the things that I know help me to feel good.
Three weeks later, I can honestly say I feel like a different (happier, more energetic) person.