Creating a Daily Rhythm in the Face of Adversity

3/18/2020

Let’s face it: Nothing today looks and feels like it did last month or even last week. Not in our communities, our nation, or our world. Yet somehow, we each must find a way of existing in this unpredictable time. Besides a quick run to the grocery store, the only other time I have stepped outside my home lately is to walk in nature. What a respite it has been to escape outside and breathe among the trees, smell the thawing earth, and greet an occasional animal who appears to be as happy to see me as I am it. 

Back at home, I find myself longing to create a rhythm and structure during a six-week break from teaching classes and meeting with coaching clients at Kripalu. The fridge and I are becoming a bit too close—this is one friend I will surely need to practice physical distancing with!

Developing a rhythm can support us in being homebound and navigating close quarters with family members. By working to build a healthy rhythm for yourself, you influence others around you to do the same. I dearly love my husband and sons, but I can see old habits sneaking up—if I am not conscious about it, I will soon be taking on the role of the cook and maid for these adult men. 

Tara Brach recently said something that really resonated with me: “How you live today is how you live your life.” I don’t want to live my days feeling exhausted, resentful, and unhealthy, no matter what adversities I’m facing. Therefore, I must be willing to take responsibility for the choices and decisions I make each day in this new normal, or I will end up feeling depleted.  

Building Rhythms to Fill Our Well

I have decided that, at the end of this, I want to feel empowered rather than defeated. In coaching, we know that it is not enough to have an intention—we must marry an intention with action in order to realize our goals. 

I am making a commitment that every day, I will get up at my regular 6:30 am hour and honor my quiet mindfulness time. As we have four adults all living together, I will ask for help with daily chores. I will spend some time working in my office and ask for privacy. When making my lunch, I will give myself permission to not always ask them if they want something, too. 

I will move my body every day, by going outside or doing yoga (maybe both). I will have a meaningful daily connection with a dear friend or colleague and nurture my creativity in some form. The project I am looking forward to accomplishing the most is decluttering three significant areas that I’ve been procrastinating on. I will also prioritize offering help and support to someone in need. And, I am not going to wear makeup if I don’t feel like it!

This time of uncertainty is an important time to invite habits and practices that support each of us in feeling calm, nourished, and even productive, despite the challenges. We will get to the other side of this—humans are resilient! 

Three Tips for Creating a New Rhythm

Start now. Be conscious about the habits that you invite during this first week, because once we create a habit, it’s hard to break it. 

Begin with an intention. The best way to create an intention is to decide how you want to feel at the end—at the end of the day, the week, eight weeks. Then commit to actions that can support your intention.  

Do something every day to nourish yourself. We can get caught up in the fear and spend countless hours worrying and self-sabotaging, or we can take advantage of this unplanned downtime and do something every day to fill our well and maybe also help others. This is the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves and for the world. 

Izzy Lenihan is a certified life, career, and wellness coach who has helped thousands of people make changes in all stages of their lives for more than 25 years.

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