I recently asked an audience of about 100 people how many of them practiced or had ever tried relaxation training and/or meditation. Approximately 10 people raised their hands.
This is not an anomaly, it’s the usual response I get. It’s similar to the response I get when I ask groups how many of them would say that they:
1) Get enough sleep on a regular basis
2) Eat 3 healthy meals per day, with lots of fruit and vegetables, reducing caffeine, saturated fats and salt.
3) Exercise 3-4 times a week
4) Take breaks during the day to refuel and just chill out
Last time I asked this question, one person out of 150 said yes.
For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you know that I feel very strongly about the importance of eating healthily for many reasons (cancer prevention, keeping diabetes at bay, increasing our immunity, weight control, the list goes on) but I am also very aware of the many obstacles we face: time crunch, financial constraints, food dislikes to name a few.
The exercise piece is tricky. A lot of people say to me “I’m not in good enough shape to go to the gym, I feel very self-conscious” and I totally respect that. A friend of mine (who went on to lose a significant amount of weight and run a marathon) could not walk around the block with me without having to stop to catch her breath. But she persevered, walked a bit faster each week, then started alternating running with walking (10 minutes of running, one minute of walking), an approach to running that is highly recommended by coaches at running clinics. It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but she started out small and eventually the results were life-changing.
Isn’t that always the best way? To take small, realistic steps?
I invite you to reflect on the four categories above and see whether there is an area that you can celebrate. Is there something you are feeling particularly pleased with, in terms of self care? These can be very small steps (increasing my vegetable intake by one serving, taking 5 minutes off each day for the past week, etc.).
What would you commit to working on that is realistic and achievable for the week to come?