Many people don’t have self-care practices simply because their expectations are too high in the beginning, so they never get started.
Do you ever find that because you’re not a perfect yogi or a serene mountain top meditator that it’s not good enough so you practice even less? This goes for decluttering your home and making space as well. You’re not a perfect minimalist, so why even bother trying?
My yoga practice has suffered for great lengths of time in the past because I didn’t meet myself where I was in that moment. Instead I shamed myself for not going to hour long yoga classes multiple times a week at a studio, so I never got on my mat at all.
Pressure to meditate perfectly can have the same effect, the inner shame and comparison game can have you believe that you’re not doing enough. This can be fueled by the ever present barrage of magazine worthy perfection we are fed on our social media feeds.
We see perfection, we shame ourselves for not being good enough, and we continue without growing on our path.
There’s got to be a better way.
If you’ve read through any of my past posts (such as this one and this one) you know that I believe perfection should never be the end goal.
Giving up on perfectionism means you don’t have to be a hardcore yogi or minimalist to learn from these practices and apply them in your own life. You can be you, learning and growing, slowly incorporating life improving practices into your life, at your own pace, in your own time.
When you let go of perfectionism, you make way for a supportive, healthy and ever-changing practice. This is where real growth can happen.
Below I share some practical ideas for you to get started with three of my favourite healthy practices.
Meditation is such an amazing practice. There’s science to back up how good it is for your brain, it can be a completely free practice to take up (you literally only need yourself to do it). There is a huge amount of different ways to practice, and yet so many people that know of its benefits struggle to maintain a practice. Why?
Meditation can feel hard, and it can bring up lots of self judgement. Here’s where the perfection thing comes into play. You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon the day after you started jogging would you? Same goes for meditation. Let go of how long you think you “should” be able to meditate for.
Try this instead:
If you really want to develop a meditation practice for yourself, you have to start somewhere. So start simply.
Start with one minute a day.
Find somewhere comfortable and quiet, turn the ringer off of your phone and set an alarm for one minute. Close your eyes and breathe. When the alarm goes off, slowly open your eyes, take one more breath and move on with your day with purpose.
Try and do this for a month. At the end of the month, you will have meditated for 30 minutes! That might be longer than some will ever have meditated in their entire lives.
During this month, notice how your mind reacts to its one minute rest a day. Do you feel any different? This will be supremely personal, and you’ll only know if you try it.
At the end of the month, see where your meditation path takes you.
Yoga will look different in your body compared to anyone else’s, but we get scared we aren't "doing the poses good enough". While the poses in your typical yoga class give a framework for the shapes you take on, they are that way to offer healing benefits, not to look an exact certain way.
Often fear of not looking good enough or being flexible enough while practising keeps too many yogi hopefuls from spending time on their mat.
Try this instead:
Practice at home, for 5 minutes a day.
Start with any simple poses you know. Peaceful cat cows, stress releasing forward folds, even powerful warriors.
To turn yoga into a practice, you have to let go of expecting yourself to look a certain way. Be brave and practice at home instead of the studio.
Get to know yourself through your yoga practice. This is magic. This is the power of yoga.
It seems scary to develop a home practice, but you can start with simple, safe movements that will allow you to get in touch with how your body is really feeling every day.
Minimalism (or Simple Intentional Living) can easily become a comparison game. If you think you have to own under a certain amount of possessions or live in an empty, lifeless home to be a minimalist, you’re missing out on the multitude of benefits this way of thinking can bring you.
Try this instead:
Focus on your own life, your own space and look for an item that you truly have no need for. You don’t use it, you don’t plan on using it. It’s just … there. Then donate it.
Do this every day for a week. One item a day for week.
Remove seven unneeded and unused items from your home in a week.
Reflect on the fact that another human may come along, purchase one of these items and get great joy from it. Isn’t that better than it lying around your house?
At the end of the week, how do you feel? Do you notice that you or your home feel any different? Do you want to keep going?
Small, actionable steps in your path to more intentional and healthy living will serve you more than unattainable perfection.
Through our smallest actions, we build confidence, we make progress, and we grow.
Leave a comment below if you give any of these achievable actions a try :)
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