Anchors

I have been existing in a pattern of behaviors and emotions.

I have been stuck, on pause, waiting for a return of normalcy.

And doing what felt good in the moment was fine.

Then, the announcement came that there are a minimum of at least five more weeks of life as we currently know it in my state and I knew I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing for much longer, let alone weeks.

I was stuck in the same pattern of resolving to do better than last week on Sunday, doing alright Monday, slightly less alright Tuesday, drinking away my feelings while drowning them further in Netflix by Wednesday night, and then just writing the whole week off. It was like clockwork.

Wednesdays, for some reason, seem to be the days where life, that I think I can tuck it into a nice little bow, unravels at warp speed.

I knew I needed to find some way to moor this untethered raft. Rules don’t apply. Logic doesn’t apply. Default operating systems and coping strategies don’t apply.

And so, I sat with the following question: “What do I want to feel like, and what can I do that is within my control to help me feel that way?”

What are the anchors in your well-being? For me, they are:

Drinking water. Two glasses when I get up, two more before lunch, two in the afternoon and two between dinner and bed. That was the routine that worked for me when I was at my most successfully hydrated self, so I fell back on that dusty habit.

Eating better. Focusing on foods that fuel me and fill me up versus foods that just feel good to eat in a moment where I become overwhelmed or stressed or just plain sad. I wasn’t eating well enough at lunch, which was leading to some serious pantry diving around 4pm, when the day starts to weigh heaviest.

Movement. 30 minutes or more every day, and recognizing that I could just take a walk and meet that goal, I didn’t need to burn 500 calories to feel satisfied with my effort.

Managing a very stripped down version of a to do list. I am a list person; if you’re not, this one likely isn’t going to ring any bells for you, but this was a game-changer for me. Typically, I chart out my week and list off all of the things that need to happen each day. Now, I’m building a list of one or two things in the morning that will make me feel accomplished if I can cross them off by the end of the day, and not looking forward any more than that. On some days that might be the laundry, it might be the dishes, it might be simply making my bed.

Finding things that I could do for myself that bring me joy. I repotted my indoor plants. I applied lotion (seriously, made me feel not just human, but pampered even). I made frothed milk for my coffee. I connected with my friends. I looked for ways that I could brighten others’ days in fun, creative ways. Not all of these things every day, just one or two as the flow of the day allowed.

And finally, the most grounding thing that I could think of was to return to my nighttime routine. I was never good at the morning routine. It never clicked for me. But a nighttime routine? That is where the magic is for me. I get ready for bed with my youngest, put my phone away, dim the lights, practice my daily gratitude and then read. Simple, yet effective. It sets the foundation for me for the next day like nothing else.

These things all make me feel nourished, and more human. They add energy and purpose to my days. They make me feel accomplished and satisfied. And they compound; typically, when I’ve made the effort to move and drink water, I’m not inclined to pour myself a glass of wine or veg out on the couch, I’m more inclined to get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up and do it all over again the next day.

I put a post out on social, asking for a suggestions on what others were doing that made them feel like they were handling life in its current iteration. Folks offered back things like loosely structured schedules, movement goals, time outside, manageable checklists, doing one single thing a day that makes you feel good, showering, putting on real clothes and getting ready for the day as normal, shunning the pressures of “productivity”, trying something new, leaving consistency at the door, and not overthinking this season that we are in.

I share all of these bits and pieces with you so that, if you’re feeling stuck in this cycle like I am, you can take what you want and leave the rest.

Find the anchors that can slow the drift if you find yourself too far from shore.

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