Nourish Yourself with the 10 Daily Habits

by Melodie on March 12, 2010

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Life coaches are all about helping people find balance in their lives. Yet it’s a huge challenge to regain equilibrium when you have cancer, are caring for someone who does, or are slowly recovering your health. The 10 Daily Habits can help.

We are all creatures of habit. The British mystery writer Agatha Christie became famous for crafting plots in which Miss Marple and Detective Poirot uncovered murderers by recognizing their idiosyncratic ways. She said, “Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.”

We may be completely unaware of our habits, many of which drain us of energy and health. The challenge is to incorporate actions that nourish us instead. And that is the beauty of the 10 Daily Habits. These are not a bunch of “to-do” actions you dread. Instead, they are things you will anticipate with joy. And there is not one master list that is right for everyone. But each person’s list will share some characteristics. Here they are:

1. The 10 Daily Habits are customized by you and for you.

No doubt you’ve seen a lot of lists spelling out how to be well – drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, exercise at least 30 minutes. Oh, and get a full 8 hours of sleep. You won’t find those things in your 10 Daily Habits – unless you want them there. Instead, I want you to think up your own list by asking yourself: What energizes me? What inspires me? Nourishes me? What helps me take the next step in my day?

Write down your ideas, making sure they are activities you could do each day no matter what your circumstances. Even if you really want to “lie in the sun on a beach in Bermuda,” you’re not going to be able to do that every day! But you could “Sit in my comfy chair by the window and watch birds at the feeder each morning.”

2. The 10 Daily Habits nourish, uplift, relax and energize.

As you consider what habits to bring into your life, you may find the “shoulds” creeping in. “I should eat a green vegetable” or “I should walk a mile each day.” Banish the thought! Instead, I want you to think about those things you want to do that encourage and uplift you.

One of my daily habits is to sit down after my children are in bed at night with a bit of Ecuadorian dark chocolate and a cup of herbal tea. It gives me time to relax, visit with my husband, or just be quiet. This is something I want to do and is good for me, so I look forward to it all day.

3. The 10 Daily Habits change as your needs change.

As you walk the cancer journey, many parts of your life are in flux. You may at points be fatigued from treatment, experiencing pain and spending much of the day in bed. There may be times when you have regained your energy and are busy with work and family responsibilities. Whatever your circumstance, you can adjust your 10 Daily Habits accordingly.

My habits have changed a lot according to my need. When I spent most days in bed, I kept my daily habits simple: “Take a shower with a deliciously scented soap” or “Drink a tall glass of ice water with a twist of lemon.” These were activities that didn’t take much energy but that had an element (the sweet suds or citrus zing) that made me feel good and gave me an energy boost.

4. The 10 Daily Habits fit your schedule.

It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for this. It’s all I can do just to accomplish what I have to do each day.” But I want to challenge you to think about how to incorporate the 10 Daily Habits into what you’re already doing. If you have to drive to the store for groceries or to the hospital for a treatment, why not take some deep healing breaths at every stop light. You’ll be amazed at how much calmer you’ll feel when you arrive at your destination. And it doesn’t take any extra time.

One of my habits is embedded into a daily task I have to do: take the dog out before bedtime to do her business.  So I spend the minute I’m out on the terrace with her looking out over the railing at the twinkling city lights, the fog rolling in over the valley, or a jet on its approach to the airport. I pull in some deep breaths of crisp night air, whisper a prayer of thanks for the day, and head back inside to bed. What a quick but powerful habit this has been for me.

5. The 10 Daily Habits are intentional.

Agatha Christie was right about our not thinking much about our habits. And that’s why we are intentional about the ones we want to keep. Once you have your 10 Daily Habits written out, put them where you will be reminded to practice them – on the bathroom mirror, in front of the kitchen sink, on your desk. Look over them when you wake up and before you lie down at night.

Now … enjoy and be rewarded!

What delightful Daily Habits will you begin today?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alistair McPherson March 9, 2010 at 3:09 am

Dear Mel,

What a lovely, clean and crisp site indeed! The colors are crisp and pictures inviting. Very nicely designed! Well done. I shall recommend this to any whom I think shall benefit. Also, perhaps we can put it on our church website? Let me know what you think?

2 Melodie March 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm

My desire is to help those with cancer become survivors, so please post or publicize the blog/website where you think those who could benefit will see it.

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