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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Goff

Creating New Habits

Have you found yourself struggling to adapt and cope during COVID-19? Rest assured – you are not alone! So many people I have spoken to since “lockdown” started, expressed how initially they struggled with the lack of routine and meaning in their day, not being able to do certain things, go certain places and spend time with certain people. Add in the pressure of working from home or not working at all. I myself initially struggled to adapt but quiet quickly I found that having a routine and adding meaning to my day has made this all the more bearable and at times, even enjoyable. But I have to admit the structure of my day changed completely during lockdown and I just hope that I can incorporate and maintain the new aspects into my life even after lockdown.

Sunrise: The start to the day is and always will be the most important. I continued to set my alarm each morning (on weekdays!!). I then took 10 minutes to meditate, before getting out of bed. I found this helped me to relax and ground myself, making it easier to cope with the challenges that lay ahead in the day. I then took some time to journal, using this time to write down the three things that I am grateful for and listing my three priorities for that day. After journaling I read for a short while, increasing my knowledge and again giving myself a focus for the day ahead. Finally, I would make my bed. In a podcast that I recently listened to they stressed the importance of simply making your bed each day because, if you achieved nothing else in that day, then at least you had achieved that. Once I had found my little morning routine I felt like it didn’t really matter what else happened during the day that I had started the day off right at least.

Sunset: Same goes for winding down at night time. I try to switch off my phone at least one hour before I plan on going to sleep. I then like to spend some time thinking about my day and I ask myself two journal questions; how did I grow today and who did I positively impact. I find that this encourages me to focus on the positives, as so often we go to bed thinking of the negatives. Finally, I like to read, to help me switch my mind off everything that happened in the day, which is really important before trying to go to sleep.

I cannot stress how important it is to set yourself daily tasks that are achievable and realistic, and if you find yourself struggling with these daily tasks then don’t beat yourself up, it just means you may have fallen out of habit. That feeling when you haven't completed a task you aimed to complete can almost put you off doing any task. The feeling of incompletion can de-motivate you. Just like when you go to a personal trainer for a session and he pushes you too hard and all your thinking is “I'm never doing this again”. This is why good personal trainers ease you in so that you don't get disheartened. And this is what we must do with our daily habits!

We must ease ourselves into good habits and become 1% better each day. Don’t try to up the pace by 50% in your first week. Yes, you might be able to run 5k every day for a week but how many of us can continue to stick to that? I know I sure haven't! The key to healthy habits is not the intensity of the rep, it's how many reps you do.

Remember learning to drive? How difficult it seemed - and now you can go from one end of the country to the next without even thinking about what gear you need to be in going around a roundabout. This is the goal for your healthy habits. You want to have done that many reps that it seems effortless and automatic.

How many of you forget to brush your teeth in the morning? Exactly! You can make habits seem effortless if you just put the reps in!

Atomic Habits: If you are a person who struggles to implement habits, a good place to start would be by reading the book; ATOMIC HABITS, which suggests that improving your daily habits by even 1% can lead to a huge impact in many areas of your life! Perhaps start by adopting the two-minute rule;

The two-minute rule:

· Instead of aiming for 10 pages of a book, aim for 2.

· Instead of 5km do 1km.

· Instead of one course do the introduction to the course.

· Instead of a 40 minutes treadmill watch a ten-minute ted talk on the treadmill before breakfast.

· Instead of 15 minutes meditating do 2 minutes.

· Instead of doing all your emails aim for 2 emails.

· Instead of a whole workout aim for 10 reps.

The key is to master the art of showing up and the habit will soon place itself in the automatic part of the brain.

Remember this too shall pass and I hope that we all can see the light today, in even the smallest of places, be it a cup of tea, a hot shower, a friendly smile or a shoulder to cry on. No matter how you feel today, try remember that behind the darkness lies a great a wonderful light and no matter how bad or challenging we feel something is, it too shall pass and the light will re-emerge. #thistooshallpass #therewillbelight

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