I used to hate challenges; you know, those 7-day/30-day-read-a-book-a-day-type challenges. I’ve written here about my problems with them. But in the past couple of years I’ve found some ways they work for me. The 220 workouts in 2020 group has taught me a lot about how to use the experience of being in a challenge to examine, motivate, question and reshape how I do physical activity. A bunch of our bloggers are in this or similar groups and have written about challenges (most recently Martha’s post here).
My friend the New York Times has talked me into trying yet another challenge– their new new 30 Day Healthy Habits Challenge. It’s a combo of advice bits about movement, eating, social connection and mindfulness. (CW: it also suggests a form of dieting that may trigger some with a history of eating disorders, so do be warned).
One thing that keeps tripping me up with this challenge (and other such general self-care advice) is this: I’m supposed to do a whole bunch of things, many of them FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
Challenges are big on doing things in the early morning. It appears that, upon waking (or in my case, being lurched into consciousness by my loud alarm), I’m supposed to
- meditate while sipping my coffee
- use my newly-selected mantra for said meditation (which, if I had one, would be “I just need coffee now”)
- do gentle yoga
- do a short workout
- take some time to plan my day, arranging periods of quiet and reflection and physical activity and eating nourishing food in a mindful way and connecting with friends and family and taking a self-compassion break and developing a gratitude practice and reading a novel and taking a bath before getting in bed at 9:30pm
First of all, I am not a morning person. This is not me:
I’m more like this:
But seriously folks: self-care regimens are very heavy on first-thing-in-the-morning activity. But even for those who ARE morning people, there’s a limit to the amount of time we can devote to early-morning self-care. For one thing, there’s a limited amount of early-morning time, and we all have to get a lot done before heading to work, school, and other important things we do during our busy days. For another, we have other priorities– like writing or reading or housework or other important tasks that have to be done sometime as well.
So I’m asking you, dear readers: how do you decide what to prioritize in that precious period (whenever it is), first thing in your morning? I’d love to hear from you,