So you’ve set your new year's intentions, and you want to make more time to prioritise good health and wellbeing in 2021. Hooray! This is a big step on the journey towards taking better care of yourself moving forward. It will also come in very handy as you continue to build your own personal pathway to joy this year.
The pandemic brought much of “normal” life to standstill last year. 2020 was a rollercoaster year for most of us, and especially so if you led a very active (outdoor) lifestyle before the first lockdown back in March. It’s never too late to regroup, and to redefine how we want to take better care of our overall health. This is especially true now, as it might still be a while until COVID-19 is a thing of the past.
So how do we begin to create a personal practice for good health and wellbeing that works even in the middle of a pandemic? The following guide should help you get started when you’re ready.
1) Out With The Things That Don’t Spark Joy
The first step in creating a new personal practice for good health and wellbeing involves letting go of the activities that don’t spark joy for you anymore. These might be activities that worked before the pandemic, or activities that worked when you were setting new year’s resolutions, rather than intentions.
So many times, physical activities are tied up with a belief that we need to look a certain way. This outlook has very little to do with how it makes us feel. Anybody can run 30 minutes a day on a treadmill, but why do it religiously if it doesn’t bring you any actual joy. Explore alternative physical activities (like yoga!) that might make you feel a lot happier. The aim is to find something more suitable (even if it is also strenuous) than just plugging away at a routine because of a strict goal to burn x amount of calories each day. The more you love how an activity makes you feel, the more you'll want to do it, the more you'll actually do it!
2) Acknowledge What Has Worked For You Before
Once you’ve let go of the activities that are no longer serving you, also have a think about the self care activities that have actually worked for you in the past. These should be related to all facets of life, and can be anything that makes you feel good, safe, comfortable and joyful.
I’m talking about something as simple as taking a bubble bath once a week, carving out time to listen to your favourite podcast, or journalling if that is something that helps you to order your thoughts. If it’s given you a mental health boost in the past, you should keep it around. As a collective, these activities will eventually start to shape your new routine (more gently than if you set an agenda!). All you need to do in the meantime is to commit to making more time for these activities, and the rest will follow.
3) In With The Things That Ignite Your Curiosity
As you go through the process of creating a new personal practice for yourself, observe the things around you that ignite your curiosity. Maybe you’ve recently watched a tennis match on television, and are hoping to pick up a racket and take (socially distanced) lessons this year. Perhaps you’re being called to a creative activity, like painting, piano or sculpting. You’ll know you’ve been putting it off for too long if you’re feeling guilty about not getting going on something you’re interested in.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life can be very short. If we hold off on trying the things we want to do until later, we may never get the chance to try them at all. Get curious. Allow yourself to play! This will lead to new interactions, new experiences and will help to push you out of your comfort zone just a little bit.
4) Check In With Yourself Regularly
Are your needs being met? This is one of the most important questions to keep in the back of your mind as you establish your new practice. If you find yourself answering “no” at any point, pause and evaluate the things that are troubling you. It might just be that you’ve overcommitted on a specific activity, or that you’re not enjoying a component of your new routine. You might also just be having a bad week! Adjust, try a new approach, and reassess as you go. In no time at all, you’ll find a combination of activities that not only slot into your lifestyle and meet your needs, but also allows you to bring more joy into your life.
Hopefully, you’ll now have a better idea about the things that will help you to create a new personal practice for good health and wellbeing. Remember, think less rigid, and more self (care) serving.
If you think you might need a bit of extra help to solidify your new practice, consider holistic health coaching this year. In 2021, I’ve set a new intention to carve out more time to offer remote holistic health coaching to anybody on a mission to find and follow their personal pathway to joy. I’ll share more on this soon, but if you think you might be interested,