Out of Practice

We are all starting to heal, albeit at different rates and levels, from the major trauma of COVID-19. One of the things I lost during the pandemic was my daily practice. I’ve been working on rebuilding healthier habits again, though I am sorely out of practice.

Healthy habits are the first to go

Out of Practice 
Image shows the word "practice" repeated on a white board, with a woman in a lotus position on a beach in the lower foreground.

It’s a sad fact that when stress levels rise, healthy habits are the first to be cut from our routines, just when they are needed the most. Meditation, journaling, exercise, and healthy eating are all sacrificed for quick energy, more sleep (though not necessarily better sleep), and usually anxiety.

At different times in my life, I have had different daily practice habits. Some of them include:

  • Daily meditation of anywhere from 30-60 minutes
  • Writing in my journal
  • Tarot or oracle card pulls
  • Writing affirmations
  • Yoga
  • Prayers and devotion to deity
  • Writing gratitudes
  • Stretches
  • Reading, both for self improvement and fun

No motivation

The pandemic has caused me more than a little challenge to my mental and emotional health, which I have shared about. Mental health issues like depression can cause a severe lack of motivation to do anything, especially taking care of myself.

There are days when getting out of bed and turning on the computer to log in for work is the most I can do. And there were a LOT of those days the past year plus. I was always tired, and worn out.

Granted, there were days scattered here and there when I would feel a burst of motivation, and do one of the things on my list. Once. Or, if I was really feeling good, twice in a week (though not necessarily twice in a row).

Out of practice

Now that I am starting to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally – well, except for today, because I had my second vaccination yesterday, and didn’t sleep well last night – I have the desire to resume my healthy daily habits.

Turns out, that is easier said than done. My habit muscle is WAY out of shape.

OK, that’s not ENTIRELY true. I’ve been focused on my physical health – eating nutritious foods, drinking lots of water, and exercising 5-6 days a week.

Using that positive momentum, I’ve gained more mental clarity. I have been reading before bed at night, instead of zombie scrolling Facebook, or playing games on my phone.

Now I want to add in more spiritual practice, and I feel stuck on my choices. Which one is going to serve me best? What is going to be the easiest practice to rebuild?

As I told the people in my course recently, start with baby steps. Setting an intention in the morning, and saying three things I am grateful for at night. Bonus points if I can find an ordinary moment that brings me joy. That way, there’s no pressure to keep up a lengthy meditation practice, or feel like I HAVE to write in my journal even if I have nothing to say.

And remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. It takes practice to build healthy habits. What habits are you working on?