What does Compassionate Homeostasis in Mental and Physical Health mean to you?
Is it eating food that's good for the soul? Is it going to the gym? Is it walking the dogs, making time for rest, or balancing income goals with days off for meaningful restoration? Maybe all of the above?
I signed up for a gym membership and intentionally avoided the transformation challenges and body scans. I didn't want to know my numbers. I just wanted to feel strong and move freely.
My goal as I made this decision was this: establish a daily structure that makes me feel good.
It started with understanding my version of feeling good. For me, that meant being excited about what I was doing in some capacity, being productive enough to sustain my lifestyle financially, but in a way that replenishes me instead of draining me. It also meant nourishing my body, but not depriving it of the things that bring it joy inside and out.
I wanted to be productive in the mornings so I could relax in the afternoons. I wanted to get strong at the gym so I could do more in life physically, and I wanted to do all of this while catering to the inherent needs of my body and mind.
What I'd set my sights on was my own personal interpretation of Compassionate Homeostasis: the balance of health, fitness, soul food, productivity, and meaningful rest.
"If you look at the bigger picture of your goals, which is this Compassionate Homeostasis of non-restrictive behaviors that support your overall version of health, you'll see that eating the foods that are good for your soul are a part of the bigger goal, and therefore, a step toward that goal."
Finding a daily structure that makes sense and replicating its attributes as circumstances fluctuate.
I can't say it enough: this will always look different for everyone, and we all have different goals.
Here's what it looked like for me.
The First Step: With the help of that trusted therapist and a little intuition, I was able to establish that my best hours in the day happened before 2:00 pm. By "best," I mean the time in which I felt productivity was most comfortable and accessible to me. I am most focused in the morning, and enjoy being productive in this time. My mind feels the clearest. My body isn't tired yet. I'm not overwhelmed yet. I am ready, maybe even excited, to take on the day's tasks.
The Second Step: Determining the environments, activities, and tools I would need to feel productive before 2:00 pm. Going to the gym helps my body to feel energized throughout the day. It lifts my mood and helps me to focus, so I like to start with that (on the days I don't start with the gym, I walk the dog, visit the local gardens, or just rest in bed!). Then, I find my version of the most supportive environment for getting work done. This could be a library, a cafe, or a home office.
The Third Step: Test these formulas out. What's working and what isn't working? Why does one thing work and not the other? What needs to be prioritized and how can I adjust to those needs?
The Fourth Step: Adjust! On days when the ideal formula isn't accessible, how can I reinterpret that formula to fit the circumstances of the day? If I can't go to the gym, what's another activity that involves movement and feels nourishing to my body and mind? If daily movement isn't the goal, is it compassionate rest?
Though this structure will fluctuate, shape-shift, and sometimes disappear altogether, it feels good to intentionally focus on working towards building a daily structure that meets the most important needs of my body and mind at this time in my life. Whether it's something I implement continuously or not, I've learned what works for me and what definitely does not work for me, and can prioritize from there. We have to learn the rules to break them, and build the structures to shape them, right?
Have you tried this in your own life? Share your experience in the comments below or on Instagram, where we've shared this post in the feed.