February 15 is known by some as "Discouragement Day" as people tend to have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions by this point. Others try to reframe it as "Determination Day" to confirm that they're on the right track.
I decided to use this day to take inventory.
At the beginning of this year, during a meditation, I was introduced to the concept of the Four Exhilarations and realized that they encompass most of what I want to focus on to build solid foundations for a happier life.
The Four Exhilarations are: eat well, sleep well, meditate, and exercise.
1. Eat well
Food can be a triggering subject, but the approach suggested in the meditation was pretty simple. What do you want to change in your relationship with food? Food for thought, I highly recommend the Sounds like a cult podcast episode about diet culture.
2. Sleep well
I know I cannot function well without 8 hours of sleep, and I'm also seriously considering adding an early afternoon nap to my schedule as I do not want to introduce caffeine to my diet in order to stay alert and productive in the afternoon.
I've scheduled an alert on my watch to remember to start my evening wind down, get to bed at least half an hour before the time I want to be asleep, and read a chapter or two.
I had never found a way to make meditation a regular practice. I would decide to meditate every day, download the Headspace app and forget about it after the free trial period.
This year, I gave Open a try and completed a 30-day challenge. Now I'm considering signing up for the whole year... Will I do it?
I have to constantly relearn that, for me, regular exercise doesn't necessarily mean a daily workout. My body needs breaks to recuperate, it needs varying degrees of intensity according to my cycle, and it needs variety in order for me to stay motivated.
So I usually alternate between yoga, core work, pilates, and strength training.
I simply have to remember that "What we do most days matters more than what we do once in a while" meaning that if I skip a day doesn't mean I gave up entirely. I should reframe it by saying that I exercise most days and didn't simply give up entirely.
For now, my body cannot sustain high-intensity training or cardio.
The one thing I need to do every single day, is to go on a walk. I usually pair it with catching up on my favorite podcasts. There's a trail behind my house that allows me to easily complete a 40-minute walk without even thinking about it.
If I don't go out at all during the day, my mental health is definitely affected. In the winter, I remember that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. My best "investment" of the season has been a pair of ski overalls I found at the thrift store that I simply wear on top of my outfit. Next summer, I'll have to remember to get out first thing in the morning before the temperature becomes so unbearable I can't go outside.
Now, with these four foundations firmly grounded, I'm thinking about other regular practices I want to add in my life:
- Practice a new language
- Swim in lakes and rivers
- Write letters
- Cook new dishes
- Say yes more often
- Be generous
What habits have you implemented into your life this year?