This post was written by the facilitator of the Pause. Reboot. Recreate Your Life retreat, Kim Roberts.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits and then beat ourselves up when we realize we’ve done so. One of the best things about retreats is coming together with a community with the intention to develop or fall back into good habits. There is something about group energy that helps us not only forgive ourselves for whatever infringement we accuse ourselves (too much cake! No daily exercise! Not taking care of ourselves!), but also to ride the collective energy to form healthy new habits.
Why do we disconnect from what we know to be true?
Do any of these resonate?
1. You can’t live without your phone or computer for one whole day (or even an hour)
2. You can’t remember the last time you took some time off (or walked in the woods, or read a book, or had a really good night’s sleep)
3. You’ve been trying to find a solution to the same problem for months or years or decades, without success
4. You’ve been hard on yourself and irritable with others
5. Your self-care routines (and your life) have fallen into chaos
6. You feel tense, sluggish, uptight...decidedly not radiant
7. Your mind is so busy you can’t keep track of everything
8. You’ve just experienced a major life change and need to figure out how to digest everything and re-adjust
9. You find yourself getting irritated for no good reason
10. You spend more time surrounded by cars than trees
11. You’ve stopped exercising or doing your yoga practice
12. You feel overwhelmed by the pace of life
13. You're fed up with the maddening world news
14. You're not sure you are on the right path but don’t know how to make a change
15. You feel anxious, exhausted, depressed and stressed out most of the time
We all fall out of well-intentioned habits occasionally. Part of taking care of ourselves is learning what trips us and when to ask for support.
When you change your daily habits without awareness—you start eating more sugar, having that extra glass of wine in the evening, or start the morning with e-mail instead of a walk, a yoga practice or picking up your pen or paintbrush—then the tone of your day is set. Combine a string of days and the tone of your life is set.
Self-help is nothing more than taking care of yourself. When you make space to listen to your inner wisdom, you affirm it. This relationship is like any other--it thrives when we make it a priority.
Emotional wellness is more than just the absence of stress - it’s about actively encouraging a stable mental state. Through various practices, it is possible to strengthen your capacity to tolerate the emotional storms that arise.
Practices for Emotional Wellness
The way to interrupt bad habits that cause suffering is to first become aware of them. In practicing mindfulness and awareness, we learn to identify habitual patterns. Once we are able to see how bad habits cause suffering, we can apply antidotes and make corrections. A regular sitting meditation practice can create the foundation for this awareness.
We start to see how relaxing the body and deepening the breath affects our state of mind. Eventually we start to see how every thought, word and action sends out waves that affect the subtle details of our environment, relationships and emotional balance.
When you feel out of balance and need to find your way back, try this three-fold approach:
Create a gap where you can take stock of the situation. Take a deep breath. Repeat.
Sometimes we develop habits of striving toward certain goals or invented deadlines, even after we discover those goals are not satisfying.
When you take a time out, you give yourself an opportunity to re-evaluate your goals. Devote some time to doing what you love.
Often we don't know what we love because we have those preconceived ideas dictating what we think we should be doing. Or we let endless distractions hijack our attention and sabotage our awareness. This is truly a tragedy.
Turn off and restart. Let data assimilate and integrate so that you can start fresh. Notice the underlying feelings around the habits you’d like to change.
Where does your heart tell you to go? Sometimes we derail ourselves because we know we need a change. Can you give yourself permission to do what you’ve always wanted to do?
Create space for something new to arrive. And P.S: Do you really need to work so dang hard all the time?
Where have you fallen into unhealthy habits that don’t support your well-being? How would it feel to start out on a new foot, rebuilding from the foundation? Imagine re-orienting your life around a new theme or set of circumstances.
Then take one small step in any direction. Just one step, for now.
A life-changing journey begins with one small step. Adopt one new habit and commit. Tell someone so you are held accountable.
A New Life Starts With A New Attitude
It is as simple as changing our daily habits. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Start small. Notice habits that nourish you and those that don’t. Your body knows. Then commit to one small change and notice how other aspects of your life fall into place to support that change.
These simple practices provide the base to develop a strong and grounded connection to your mind and to your experience. When you develop a sane relationship with your mind, you can then maintain a healthy relationship to your world.
To transform your life under my guidance in the magical setting of Lake Louise, join us for the upcoming retreat from October 29 to November 2, 2018.