What Holds You Together? (How habits can help the lows not be so low)...
Anyone who has experienced the cycle of depression or anxiety or even chronic illness would have some experience of the highs and lows. Even without depression and anxiety or chronic illness, life can go through these cycles. For me, I know that I have gone through periods of my life where everything is awesome, I’m feeling on top of everything and I am kicking some serious goals… Next minute, life gets that little bit more difficult, slowly things start getting harder and I feel sluggish and worn down and then I get tired and eventually slide into that old familiar territory of not having the energy to do anything, feeling terrible about myself, not feeling like things are worth trying for and I get myself into a funk. I start playing the old tapes in my mind; thoughts like “I’m not good enough, I can’t do this, I will fail, I’m afraid”, start coming back… they creep in through the cracks and start pulling me apart from the inside, tearing down the hard work that I have put in. It’s like high tide and low tide and if either of them are to the extreme they can drown me if I don’t have something to hold onto.
In business, the things that hold the business together are the systems. The operations. The little things that get done every day that make sure that over time everyone stays on top of things. In life, the very same thing can apply. Rather than waiting for the tides to sweep me up and overpower me and leave me at rock bottom again and having to build myself up from scratch each time, I can put systems in place that help me to notice where I am at and keep me on top of my needs well before they become ‘symptoms’. I can stay on top of my physical, emotional and spiritual well being if I have a system and a plan that I stick to.
Now the thing is, that we all, already have a system - it’s just the functionality of that system that differs. If for example, you didn’t eat every day it wouldn’t take long for your body to break down. If you didn’t get out of bed and shower it wouldn’t take long for you to stink and feel like crap. So to some extent, in order to just function at a really basic level you have to already have some systems in place.
Over the years, my systems and habits have changed. Because of this, so has my base state. So for example a decade ago, my base state would have been one of heightened anxiety, I was pretty depressed most of the time, I was angry and agitated and not really enjoying my life. That was actually my base state. The systems and habits that I had at that time were very poor. I smoked like a chimney, I drank like a fish… I stayed awake to ridiculously late hours and then I slept half the day. I ate shitty food and treated my body like crap and didn’t exercise enough. I was a mess. I had systems but they were not very healthy ones and they weren’t exactly conducive to living a healthy, happy life. Fast forward to now, and my base state is very different, in fact my base state is one where I feel pretty good about life, I have no anxiety, and I’m on top of things. BUT that’s because the structure and systems in my life are so different. If you change the systems and the habits and the structure - you will change the way you are. There will be highs and lows still, but like for me, the lows are no where near as low, and the highs aren’t quite as manic and I don’t lose sight of my goals when I’m super happy which is what used to happen. So before, for example, I would have a high and get these massive ideas and get so motivated I would start working and working and working, I would lose all sight of balance and then BAM come crashing down. NOW, even if I have a new idea, I put it into my ‘ideas’ bank, and stay focussed on my current tasks and throw my enthusiasm into where I have already been placing my effort. I also, ensure that even though I am super motivated, I stop work at a certain hour, I deliberately disconnect from social media, and I chill out. I keep to my regular routine and I go to bed at a decent time. This means that this ‘feel good’ part of my cycle goes for a lot longer because it’s sustainable. It also means I don’t come down with a crashing thud. I just slowly transition into a different state because that’s pretty much life really, but THEN when I am in a low-tide, what I do, instead of letting things really get me super low because I’m not doing what I think I should be able to do and then judging myself too harshly, I stick to my system. Part of my system includes daily affirmations. I tell myself good things about myself and my life. I speak into my life deliberately every single day and the power behind that is huge. I am saying positive things to myself before the negative voice even gets a chance to make its appearance! Because when I am going into low tide, while I used to just get swept away by it and forget to look after myself properly and neglect all the things that keep me on top of things, now I have a system that holds me. I don’t have to keep coming up with what I need to do and what I don’t need to do, and I have a bare minimum of what I will accept from myself even when I’m sick and tired and don’t feel like doing anything at all. This system, built from adding onto my original good habits and modifying them over time, keeps me moving forward, even if it’s just at a slow easy pace, one foot in front of the other style, while I wait patiently for my energy and motivation to return. It means it’s not so hard for me to get back into things because I haven’t had to go through this time where I’ve not looked after myself, I’ve neglected the things that keep me well and I’ve been talking myself into awfulness and negativity. So then, I don’t have to wait so long before the tide starts transitioning again.
When I first work with a client one of the things we look at is where they are at with their health and their habits. What does their normal morning routine look like? What do they do, every single day without fail? Why do they do those things? Then, when we look at their goals and where they want to go with their life, we look at how we can fit some small adjustments into their normal routine… make some tweaks, add some stuff, take some stuff out, and over time keep adjusting until they have a system of habits that truly work for them.
Where are you at with this? What does your morning look like? What do you know you need to do to stay on top of things? Do you have a system that holds you in place while you’re not feeling well? Do you have habits that keep you on track even when you feel like you’re falling to bits? How do YOU stay on top of things?
If you don’t know these answers, it might be time that you sat down and had a look. If you keep falling into the same cycle, falling into the same old traps and having life just slam you around each time your own emotional tides change, perhaps its time to build something you can hold onto. I am working on a course at the moment that starts where you are at, and builds relevant, transformational structure that can help you get on track, and stay on track regardless of what tide you are in. I know that the things I have learnt have helped me to do this so much and I think it will help anyone who is trying to get back that sense of balance and keep their life in a more even space. If you find yourself falling into a funk every now and again and taking ages to un-funk yourself this is definitely the course for you.
The course starts July 1 and will cost $399 in total for a 10 week course. It includes a one hour discovery session with me. If you’d like to do the course, head to transformationalpersonalgrowth.com/course and register today. Early-bird registration will allow you to buy the course for $197. This means that you will save over $200 and you still get the one on one session with me so technically you’re getting a 10 week course for $47. But that’s only for early-bird registrations which run out once the course goes online.
I don’t want you to think that today’s episode is all about selling you something. I truly believe that having the right systems and structure in place to hold you in a good space is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. If you don’t want to work with me personally to help you to create that, there are ways that you can do that for yourself. Start looking at people who you know consistently maintain a good sense of balance. Look at what they do as part of their regular routine. Start looking at integrating that into your own life - find what works for you. Start small as well. Trying to implement a whole new way of life overnight won’t be sustainable so build on what you already have. It might be as simple, as as soon as you get out of the shower that you have every morning, you write a list of the things you’re grateful for. It might be adding a glass of water to your bedside table and drinking it before you get out of bed. Adding small things, over time, begins to have changes that all add up. One of the most important things that I personally do as part of my morning routine is I look at my long term goals, my fortnightly goals, and then I make a list of things I need to do today. When I have my long term and fortnightly goals fresh in my mind, it makes it easier to stay consistently moving towards them. It also reminds me that right now is not my final destination and helps me to stay motivated. The other part, is when I have my values and affirmations so clear I know that one of the most important things I need to schedule for myself is down time so I don’t run myself ragged. I do believe working through all these things with someone is the best way to do it but it doesn’t have to be me. There are plenty of life coaches out there and you can even do it with an accountability partner. Find someone you know that wants to start creating changes in their life and meet once a week - look at progress and hiccups and challenges and have a little think tank about how you can overcome the challenges and begin to build on your progress. Obviously I will talk more about ways to do this sort of stuff via the podcast too, it’s just the course is a fantastic way to stay on track and get the information and downloadable resources to help you to tailor the program to your own needs.
That’s it for this week, I hope that you have found something of value in this week’s podcast and if you have, I ask that you please share it with your friends and family and leave us a comment on the blog or on the facebook group. Join the Transformational Personal Growth Community if you haven’t already - you might be able to find your accountability partner there! That’s it from me, have a super week, build on your good habits and I will see you next episode!!!
xo - Michelle