I've found it can be hard to introduce new habits for self care, even small ones. I know I should be doing more meditation and yoga, and I know I feel better during and after both. However, it’s more challenging than I thought to make room for them day to day.
I am trying a new strategy of linking these habits with other parts of my week. I'm going to try to do a five-minute meditation every other evening, after I put my daughter to bed. I'm also going to try to do ten minutes of yoga on Wednesdays. I picked Wednesday because it is between my two Orangetheory workout days, and I think my body may need yoga the most on these days.
The psychology behind linking a new healthy, habit to a certain day or time is that it is easier to remember. You can also tap into some associative learning techniques. For me, I hope to soon see “Wednesday” as “yoga day,” and to then know that meditation follows, after I put my daughter to bed.
How do you think this could work for you? Maybe you want to connect the time after dinner with taking your vitamins, or Sunday mornings with going for long walks? You could try linking with chores, or carving out time for your passion projects. Eventually, your brain will remember that Tuesday evening is for vacuuming or Saturday afternoon is for your art projects.
I think linking habits works even better if you can link something you like with something you don't like. I see it as the thing I like being hot, and the thing that I don't like being cold. When I combine them, I get two things that are warm. An easy example of this: getting up early in the morning can be made easier by looking forward to coffee or tea. If you know your reward is a beverage you love and getting some energy from it, it makes it easier to start your day. Another idea could be: when you organize your closets, you could pack up items to donate and then you could go shopping for a few new things afterward. You are rewarded with less clutter and some new clothes!
When we make what we need to do more appealing, or we find a way to make it easier to fit into our days, it becomes feasible to add these new, healthy habits to our lives. The key is to start slow and do things in small increments. If possible, I recommend adding one healthy habit at a time. You will find yourself feeling proud and happy after you add something new to your life, and you can build on that success by adding more! Remember, you are doing these things because you are trying to take care of yourself. You will have off days and falter, and it’s okay. You are trying, and that is what matters most.