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January 01, 2023

A Balancing Act: Approaching new routines with self-acceptance

Setting boundaries with ourselves can be such a useful tool to keep us feeling grounded; our routines and practices offer us a place to return to for comfort and self-resourcing when the world feels chaotic. Having grounding practices helps us respond to the world in the ways we want to. At the same time, pressures to have a perfect routine or aspirational-looking day can detract from our overall sense of worthiness and enough-ness as we already are. If you’re navigating this balance between self-discipline and self-acceptance, we are with you! Maybe you’re looking to set boundaries with yourself around phones and consuming media (doom scrolling, Netflixing, etc.), schedule a restorative pause in your day or week, or make sure to eat breakfast before leaving in the morning. Whatever your new intentions might be, we’ve compiled some of the best ways we know how to approach updating our routines with this paradox/tension in mind!

Get creative— Creating space for a mindfulness practice helps create an intentional break in your day. May it be meditation or journaling, try different options to see what works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mindfulness. If you don’t like journaling in the morning, what about putting on a song that suits your mood and moving with it as a way to process what you’re feeling? Similarly, if sitting up while meditating is keeping you from trying it, try meditating while laying down with a heated blanket or an extra-soft throw. You might even try lighting a candle or incense to help set the mood to get to work, clean, etc.

Remember the “why”— Write down why you want to introduce a change or something new to your routine. Keeping a copy of it on your phone, ready to reference when you meet resistance, can help you stay consistent while implementing something new, until it becomes more routinized.

Letting self-compassion lead— Extending compassion to ourselves can help us to know whether to push ourselves or just rest and relax. Self-compassion leads us towards the best decision for ourselves; it urges us to rest when that’s what’s best for us, or to push ourselves through temporary discomfort for long-term benefit when we’re resourced enough.

It might be the routine, not you— If it’s not working, if you’ve been trying the same thing for decades with no success—it might not be the right approach for you right now. It might be too much, or just not at the right time. Taking small, incremental steps, makes the process of integrating something new into your routine easier and makes it more likely that you’ll stick with it.

Note: Making the goal smaller necessitates leaving behind hustle culture and a sense of urgency—give yourself a long arc of time. What if your goal for the entire year was just one small thing? Remember you can always build on it!

If you’re looking for ideas on adding rest rituals to your routine, we will be exploring some best practices on our journal next week. And if one of your goals this year is to reduce your personal waste and/or consume less, we’re starting a series on mending your textiles to give them the longest life. Be on the lookout for this series on our instagram and journal coming soon!

Lastly, we leave you with a reminder from Mary Oliver:

You do not have to be
You do not have to walk on
your knees
for a hundred miles through
the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft
animal of your body
love what it loves.

-excerpt from Wild Geese