Some say it takes 7 days to form a habit, others say 21. At the beginning of winter, I posted a Winter Wellness Bucket List that included a few intentions that I easily wrapped into one. I spent 20 minutes each morning under a sun lamp listening to meditation music, drinking hot tea, and working on a jigsaw puzzle. The habit formed quickly, and I enjoyed the calm, peaceful morning ritual.
As Spring arrived, I was in the midst of wrapping up an important, intense project I’d worked on all winter. The last week or so entailed a few “all-nighters,” which through off my morning ritual and my sleep-eat-exercise patterns.
And I learned quickly that while it may take 7 days or 21 days or 3 months to form a habit – it takes no time at all to completely let one crash and burn.
Almost a month into Spring and two weeks since the project deadline and my sleep-eat-exercise and morning routine have not returned.
I’m not beating myself about it – but rather, I’m focusing on today’s word: Kindle
Kindle is synonymous with verbs like spark, arouse, ignite, encourage, excite, activate, pique.
And so, as the weather warms and I transition into new rituals and habits for the season, I watch and ask myself how I will kindle physical well-being, energy, productivity, and joy.
Physically, I try to be attentive to which forms of movement encourage more movement. Which sleep-eat-exercise patterns and habits make me feel alive and which drain me? What happens in my body when I eat too much, too late, or too little? While I can operate on virtually no sleep when I must, does this kindle joy and productivity? Is it more energizing to take long 5-mile walks at one time each day – or will it spark better self-care to break it up throughout the day?
During the week of the project deadline, social media and cable news took a back seat to everything else. I noted that, despite the deadline – I had more energy to handle the rest of life. I often use social media as an opportunity to zone-out for 10 minutes, to refocus and return to work ready for another hour or so of productivity. Evening news, which kindled an eagerness to make a difference in the world, has become redundant and deflating. What previously had piqued my interest and lit a fire in me, now saps my focus and frustrates my efforts to be productive.
And so, I remain attentive. As trees wake from dormancy and green returns to the garden, a welcome the smile of the daffodils and note – what kindles my curiosity, drives my productivity, encourages me to make a difference in the world?
While I can have the most physically fit body and the sharpest mind on earth, the bottom line I keep asking is – what kindles joy?