A few weeks ago, after RBG died, I sent out an email called "Something to Hold Onto" about finding our footing in the middle of a crisis—how often it feels like we're sloshing through life, tumbling head-over-feet in giant transparent spheres, crashing and rebounding off of unforeseen obstacles.
That note was about finding behavioral reinforcements, building a platform under our feet and handrails to hang onto to keep us stable, come what may. But it can be hard to know where to begin building those reinforcements when you're busy trying deep breathe through your face mask while performing a perpetual comedy of errors managing homeschool, work, and/or social isolation. So here is a quick tool I use with my clients...
These are the Ten Areas of Well-Being we traverse in The Habit Trip:
Time is the routine ebb and flow of how you spend your days.
Sleep is your daily reboot.
Food is fuel.
Fitness is any kind of movement that energizes you.
Space is your physical environment, inside and out.
Play is what you do for fun and how often you do it.
People are your partners in relationships of all sorts.
Money is work, career, and financial safety.
Spirit is grounding and peace of mind.
Voice is knowing what you mean and meaning what you say.
These areas curve and overlap in a series of slippery, irregular intersections, and your body is at the center of every one. It is the judge and jury that decides when one area is working just fine or when another isn't. Your neck and shoulders (or the pit of your stomach) will always let you know when something is being neglected. The interesting part is using that information to figure out which ones are out of whack and what can be done to make them better.
Which of these areas are working well enough for you set aside and not worry about them? (Try rating each one on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 being "Emergency Intervention" and 10 being "Hey-ya, I've got this.")
Which are in need of some TLC?
For the less-than-functional ones, which feels most urgent?
And what is one small step you could take to give yourself what you need in that area?
The Habit Trip gives you a fill-in-the-blank template to figure it out, but you can always start on your own with any small ritual that will make life easier. If it's small enough (and if it feels genuinely good), you might find it's pretty easy to stick with the change.One of the Ten Areas I struggle with most is Voice. It's ironic that words escape me as an author, but I'm much more comfortable writing down what I know than I am speaking off the cuff, especially when I'm wildly impressed with the people I'm talking to—which is most of the time because people are amazing creatures.
My latest inspiration for cultivating Voice is Arianna Davis' new book What Would Frida Do?. According to Davis, Frida "was an enigma, a magician, a woman who reveled in being misunderstood... She never shied away from capturing the darkest details of her life. Nor did she try to present herself as perfect or even likable." Frida Kahlo was unafraid of her own truth, including a crippled leg from polio, repercussions of an awful bus accident at age 18, and that infamous unibrow. I'll be meditating on this book as we traverse the coming weeks. Whatever comes, I'm fueled by Frida's relentless love of life—and more than ready to emulate that spirit.
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