The little things matter.
It can feel so easy to fall into a downward spiral health-wise— into a negative synergy where one little thing leads to the next and together they build and before we know it we feel crummy, less motivated, have a new or exacerbated diagnosis, or some kind of health wake-up call. Or we witness a loved one go through this.
Then we feel discouraged at having gotten to this point in the first place and it feels overwhelming to think about what it will take to get out of the hole we're in. Pile on a little guilt, shame, and impossible societal expectations and this can feel like a pretty rough, stuck place.
BUT, synergy goes the other way too.
Small, positive steps start to build momentum.
An upward spiral.
A positive synergy.
They really do, I promise. I've seen it over and over working with folks as a home care RN and as a health coach. Just like those little things added up to bigger things and dragged us down, the small steps in a healthful direction also add up and build on each other until we are spiraling upward into more energy, feeling better, feeling good in our bodies, regaining abilities we may have lost, stabilizing indicators (like blood pressure, glucose levels, etc.).
As this positive momentum builds, it can be easier to shed some of the emotional baggage (the guilt, shame, embarrassment, overwhelm, etc.) that may have been weighing on us. Which makes it easier to take the next small steps and feel that they are possible and powerful and feel excited and motivated about them and about our ability to keep taking one step and then the next. And round and round we go.
When we go walking, even for just 10 or 15 minutes, especially outdoors, we get fresh air, time to ourselves or with friends, we feel better and more upbeat. This supports us to sleep better, have more energy, feel more motivated to do more physical activity (walk longer/further, or run, or...?). After awhile it potentially lowers our blood pressure and improves symptoms we might be experiencing. Better circulation, better sex drive, who knows? We start to feel a little excitement, or at least curiosity, about what would happen if we tried adding something else. And it feels more possible to do that.
So we start cooking and eating more at home, which means we eat better, maybe have more quality time with loved ones, enjoy the satisfaction of having created something with our own two hands. Maybe we experience decreased heartburn or reflux at night (because we're not eating as much of the highly processed, sugary, salty stuff), we sleep better, maybe our LDL ("bad" cholesterol), blood pressure, and glucose levels go down. We feel better, have even more energy, and maybe feel more motivated to walk or cook more, or take a class, join a health challenge with a friend, explore meditation or mindfulness, or or or....
Now that we have more energy and feel better, we're able to play with our kids or grandkids more actively again- at least a bit. Which makes all of us so happy.
But it can be hard to know where to start and to get going.
So start with something that meets at least one of these criteria:
It interests or excites you or sounds fun. Bonus points if it really lights you up and makes your heart sing.
It's something that moves you (even in a tiny way for now) toward a feeling, experience, way of being or state of health that is deeply important to you. (For example, moves you toward being healthier and avoiding health complications now or in the future, or toward being healthy and strong and able far into your future, or enables you to play with your kids/grandkids again, etc.)
It is VERY easy in terms of time and effort. Maybe just walking 5 or 10 minutes to start, or setting an alarm to go to bed 20 minutes earlier one night a week, or finding one simple recipe you'd like to try, etc.
It's easier to maintain a habit once it's formed, but changing habits to begin with can be tricky on our own. It's important to start with changes that are fun, that make something deeply important to you more possible, and are easy to actually do.
It also helps SO much to have an ally to support you, cheer you on, keep you accountable, keep you company, and to just HEAR you.
If we could've done it on our own we probably would have done it by now.
We have to be ready to change, but once we're ready, having support often makes all the difference. Who could you enlist to be a partner or support person in your efforts?
I've talked and worked with SO many people who struggle to get that momentum going, who feel overwhelmed by what it's going to take to get where they want to be, who know what they "should" do but can't seem to bring themselves to actually do it on their own, OR who aren't sure WHAT they want but fell a yearning for something more, different, deeper.
That's why I created my Seeds of Change coaching package— to support folks who are ready to dig in, but need some support to figure out where and how to start and lay the foundations of those healthy habits.
I support folks to find that "way in."
I support folks to find a way to get started- to find where to dig in to start building that positive momentum, that positive synergy toward the life they want to live and the health they want to have.
Together we create a vision of where you want to be that lights you up and motivates you and feels doable and a bit of a stretch at the same time. We start building that positive momentum bit by bit. I provide totally non-judgemental accountability, support, skills demos and teaching as needed/requested, resources, etc.
Those small steps are so important. They can feel not big enough sometimes, especially at the start. But success breeds success, and we need to be careful not to over-reach and feel let down.
We need to find the next doable, right thing— take the next tiny step and do that thoroughly and feel good about it.
Celebrate it! And then move on to the next tiny step. And the next, and the next.... and before we know it, we're looking back at a series of steps that have steadily brought us to a place of greater health, peace, clarity, calm, energy, power— whatever it is we are working toward.
And then we take the next step....
What's one small, easy, fun step toward something meaningful that you could take this week? Who could support you in doing this?