Restoring Balance: Expanding Your Comfort Zone
Restorative self-care is not just about relaxing. It’s about restoring balance.
Most of us tend to associate self-care with slowing down and resting—returning to our comfort zones. The thing is… if this is the only type of self-care we are practicing, we run the risk of ending up sluggish and stagnant.
Sometimes the kind of self-care we need involves pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones… challenging ourselves… getting uncomfortable & tolerating the discomfort that we often pass through as we try to bring more vitality into our lives.
It doesn’t matter if you eat all nutrient-dense, fresh whole foods. If you aren’t also moving your body and getting your blood & energy flowing, you’re not going to look or feel healthy.
If you are still eating a lot of sugar (or refined carbs which your body processes as sugar), you are likely to end up feeling like a moody, unstable mess.
Do you have a comfort zone in your life that ultimately leads to discomfort? Are there habitual ways you get into unhealthy “comforting” patterns?
It takes discipline to consistently step out of our old, unhealthy comfort zones and embrace new habits. When we make a major lifestyle change like quitting sugar or becoming more physically active, it is hard at first. It feels like a lot of work. It is extremely uncomfortable.
Yet, when we are making disciplined changes that restore balance to our bodies and minds, the initial discomfort passes and we find ourselves drawn to the very things we used to resist. We start craving green juice instead of a latte… yoga or a run instead of mindless, sedentary activities.
When we make it over that initial hill of discomfort, we start to feel the effects of the positive feedback loops we have set in motion. The rewards set in. Our vitality returns and it feels amazing.
Once we remember what real health and vitality feel like, it’s much easier to resist the old habits that lead us back into our old, stagnant slumps.
If you’re ready to expand your comfort zone and make a positive lifestyle change, here are a few tips to make it easier.
Expanding Your Comfort Zone
- Clearly identify the old pattern. Write it down. Study it so that you understand how it works… What triggers the unhealthy behavior? What is the short-term gain? What are the long-term effects?
- Set yourself up for success. Set realistic, tangible goals that are achievable. Write them down. Post them somewhere visible so that you don’t forget your intentions.
- Remind yourself of the rewards. Keep your eyes on the prize. As you push through that initial period of discomfort, find a point of focus that helps you block out the distractions and negative self-talk.
- Replace your old habits with new ones. Your old habits probably have specific triggers (i.e. times of day, painful emotions, etc.). Decide in advance how you will handle these triggers and be prepared. If you are making changes in your diet, be sure to have a variety of healthy snacks with you at all times so you aren’t tempted to eat junk.
- Get enough sleep. I know this may seem off topic, but sleep is so important. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more drawn to destructive, quick pick-me-ups like sugar or caffeine. You are also more likely to avoid exercise.
- Ask for support and accountability. You are far more likely to be successful when you have someone holding you accountable. Ask a friend to check in with you often or hire a coach to see you through the transition.
- Celebrate each step of the way. Take time to pause and acknowledge your progress!