I always thought habits were important. Sort of like my body on auto-pilot while my mind is free to think other thoughts. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a habit as “an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.” I could go through my morning routine without ever thinking about what I was doing – make breakfast, check my email, brush my teeth, shower, get dressed, make the bed, etc. Every morning the same tasks in the same order for years. I didn’t have to think about it. I never ran out of the door without putting on deodorant or forgot to brush my teeth – I was on auto-pilot.
It sounds kind of boring, but it was freeing. Instead of thinking of every morning task and trying not to forget things, I was free to think of more pleasant things. Creative ideas for work, fun things to do on the weekend, or what color I wanted to paint the living room. Have you ever driven to work and not remembered how you got there? You pulled into that parking spot and realized you had been daydreaming the entire time. That’s what I’m talking about.
Habits save the day
Last year was a heck of a year for me personally. I started the year sick – I woke up on January 1st feeling like a truck ran over me. Before I even got over that, my mom received an unexpected diagnosis and passed away a few weeks later. My body was weak, my heart was broken, and I was an emotional wreck. I was working two jobs and trying to handle everything. My world was turned upside down.
But my habits got me through it, even if it wasn’t always pretty. That is until I did something drastic.
Recreating the wheel
My husband and I and my brother decided to sell everything and move to Costa Rica. We were burned out from the year and life in general and decided to change everything. In December, we sold our homes, cars, and personal belongings. We quit our ‘day’ jobs and flew to Costa Rica!
We woke up this year on January first in a new country and a new life before us. And with this new life, a whole new set of expectations. This was our chance to redesign our lives the way we wanted. I expected to feel invigorated and free, but the reality was a bit different.
The first week or so was about recovery. We gave ourselves time to sleep in and take care of ourselves in a way we didn’t get a chance to the year before. Healthy food, sunshine, and daily swims. We allowed ourselves time to decompress.
What happened after a couple of weeks? We were still tired. Exhausted actually. But why?
Our routines were completely disrupted.
We didn’t have a schedule to stick to or habits to fall back on. Nothing was the same here. There were times when I forgot to brush my teeth or wash my face. I hate to admit it, but there were days that we actually forgot to shower! What!? How do you forget something like that? I felt even more tired than the year before.
Habits. I lost all of my habits. Suddenly, I had to think about every single thing I did. I had to consciously think about brushing my teeth [do I brush my top or bottom teeth first? I don’t know. Did I forget one? Guess I have to brush them over again to make sure I didn’t miss any]. I had to create a schedule and relearn all of my habits. No more ‘day’ job to dictate my schedule – I was free to make my own. But without intentionally setting one, I was floundering.
All this got me thinking about resetting my habits with a focus on self-care. Self-care is a way to ground yourself and find peace in your life. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be big (Costa Rica is not a requirement). It just has to be made a priority.
Over the next month, I will share my favorite tips on creating new habits around self-care. Scheduling self-care can seem daunting, but its benefits make it worth the little bit of effort that goes into it. It is the act of taking care of one’s physical, emotional, and mental health. The goal is to improve your life by making time for healing and growth.
Taking some time out every day to do things like meditate or exercise can help you live a happier life and improve your outlook on life! We’re going to start really going into some practices you can work into your routine that will eventually become healthy habits.
Download my free eBook now to get started: 5 Simple Ways to Do Self-Care eBook. Then follow me on Instagram for daily tips and motivation.
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