• Charli

Wellness Matters 19.02.2021

Last week I engaged with BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits to develop and refine 3 positive habits for myself.

My intentions were to breathe deeply, stretch effectively and keep my desk tidy. In order for these habits to have a chance of becoming a change for good, a recipe is attached, so, for me:

  • After I put on the light in the morning, and before I get out of bed I will have a big stretch.

  • After I hang up Jilly’s dog lead I will take 3 deep breaths.

  • After I rise from my desk to take a break I will clear one thing from it.

The stretching wasn’t the easiest one to establish because initially the recipe was too vague: after I shower I will stretch. I tend to shower in the morning, the evening and after swimming and I really only wanted one good daily stretch. I refined the recipe which has made it more sustainable and has become my morning habit.

Taking 3 deep breaths also required adjustment in order to get right: after I return from dog walk I will take 3 deep breaths. By refining my action to hanging up the lead I was able to focus on my breath with intention.

I was coached during the week and was reminded to celebrate my small wins and as soon as I did the habit instantly became easier to maintain.

However my greatest achievement as a result of last week’s endeavours is that my desk has never been clearer! I can be a messy worker, I accept that, but now my files are organised, pens, pencils and notebooks all have a home and I feel happy when I sit down to work. One tiny habit has created a bigger change for me.

Try it yourself: it is free and there is no obligation to take it further.

I love this quote from Ghandi which is often misquoted as ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Be patient, change doesn’t happen immediately and we have all had to endure and absorb a radical adjustment to life that we could not have predicted 12 months ago. However, as a race, we are resilient and we have adapted accordingly. I believe it stands to reason if we can accept the change done unto us, we can make change for ourselves. Start with one small intention to bring about the change you want to see and keep celebrating every tiny milestone, engage in self-reflection and coaching to refine your goals.

For all those working from home, be sure to prioritise breaks and time outdoors. Nothing is as important as your physical and mental health. Step back awhile and allow events or situations to settle. Create a to-be list with such items as:

  • Take a morning break away from the desk.

  • Step outside at lunchtime.

  • Go for a walk before the evening starts, as you might if you were commuting.

We have all learned so much about the human need for connection during this pandemic and that is borne out by random acts of kindness, community support, fund-raising and mental health awareness. We still have a long way to go and I sincerely hope that, as with tiny habits, these positive elements can be absorbed into our lives so that we become less ego-centric and more community minded.

Spring is just a month away, and is the perfect opportunity to declutter, open windows, look for new signs of life, as well as setting good intentions for post-lockdown. So many people are talking about not wanting to return to life as it was and that really is up to us. I have made a conscious decision to reduce the amount of fruit and vegetables I buy wrapped in plastic. I used to have blueberries every morning with my yogurt and have now swapped for bananas and pears so that I am reducing my ‘single use plastic’ footprint. I stew frozen fruit which is cheap and delicious and make my own muesli and flapjacks Scott’s Porage Oats recipe is foolproof!

Remember to celebrate the small wins, whatever they are.

There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments Wangari Maathai

Having changed my career and chosen one that is ostensibly home based, I know that when restrictions start to lift I will have to re-visit my wardrobe: comfortable as I am in jumper, jeans and slippers, this will not be acceptable when meeting prospective clients. I have an array of work clothes collected over the years, and look forward to wearing them again. It is beholden on us all to be mindful about shopping when ‘non essential’ retail opens up and to take responsibility for how and when we shop. On the one hand we need the economy to pick up but equally our planet needs protecting and we cannot allow consumerism to dominate our return to society.

As the positive impact of vaccinations begins to be felt, the only thing to spread around the world, uninhibited should be kindness, beginning with our immediate community.

You can begin to action the change you want to see globally. You have to be brave and take an initiative. You have to believe that what you do will make a difference.

Final thought:

This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of an extraordinary teacher, husband, father and friend who left this world far too soon. Rest in peace, Chris.

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