Find your baseline: Because it's hard to get back to normal when you don't know what normal is.
So this past weekend when I stowed all the clutter and cleaned every surface, I had to take a pic of the clean counters and clean floors, my baseline.
I mean it's such a rare occurrence, that I felt the need to document it.
I plan on having the pics on hand for future visitors so I can say, "This is what it actually looks like, underneath all the clutter and crumbs."
The reality is that I love my clean kitchen. I love clear counters and clean floors and all, but my family of 5 lives in this space. We cook here, eat here, learn here, talk here, argue here, and visit with friends all in this space.
So most of the time it looks very lived in.
Half-finished projects on the island, coffee (wine) drips on the counter, mail, receipts, and grocery bags cluttering up the table, Cheerios on the floor.
You see the dirt, the mess, and the clutter, it just creeps up incrementally.
Lots of odds and ends like change, receipts, lids, mail, containers of food...at first they grow slowly, but then exponentially.
Same with the spills, crumbs, drips....
If I don't take the time intermittently to get back to zero, then my standard changes, the clutter and dirt grow layers and if I want to get back to my kitchen in it's original form, then it's SO much more work to get there.
The same sort of phenomenon occurs with our health and wellness, right?
We rarely dive into drinking a bottle of wine a night or eating a pint of ice cream a day.
No, one glass slowly turns into 2, then 3...
It takes a few weeks for our ice cream treat to become more of a staple.
Same goes for movement.
We skip one workout, then another, before we know it it's been a week since we consciously moved our bodies.
This is why it's good to know what our baseline is with nutrition, movement and kitchen cleanliness too I guess, so that we can check in and be aware of where we are in respect to that.
The baseline should not serve as something that makes us feel bad.
For example, I have weeks sometimes where I take a break from working out, but I know that my baseline is exercising 3-4 times a week.
That's where I feel good.
That's where I live most of the time.
I endeavor to be as good about maintaining my kitchen baseline as I do my exercise baseline, but something has to give, right?!!
Anyways, my point is that we have to get better at taking these nebulous feelings of "I should be doing more" and create goals and plans for our lives, targets at which we can actually aim.
Targets that are designed to make us feel good about how we live our lives.
My baseline for exercise is now 3-4 days a week, but it used to be 1-2.
And even in that, there's wiggle room when it comes to what that exercise looks like.
Sometimes it's an hour of training.
Sometimes it's a 20 minute metcon.
Sometimes it's just doing some pushups and squats throughout the day or yard work or a hike.
Just like my kitchen baseline, my exercise baseline makes me feel good. Gives me clarity and helps me to feel on top of the wave.
I do the same with nutrition.
My baseline is a large salad with lots of protein, veggies, and crunchiness every day, eggs with some sides piece of gf toast, turkey bacon, bacon, or maybe fruit or veggies) for breakfast and protein veggies and a starch for dinner.
Two to three tablespoons of good quality fat in each of those meals as well.
I eat 60-100 grams of protein a day and drink about 2-4 alcoholic drinks a week.
Treats and other indulgences as desired, but they stay in the area of 10-15% of my diet, with protein and veggies making up most of what I eat.
Do I get away from this baseline some days and weeks?
But this is where I feel good so I check in with myself intermittently to see how far off I am from there.
So today take some time and think about what you want your baseline to look like!
How many days a week do you want to exercise? Move?
How do you want most of your meals (not all of them!) to look?
What routines and rituals make you feel great? What things in excess make you feel bad?
Knowing that life is imperfect, knowing that there will always be ebbs and flows, channel any feelings of guilt and frustration about all that you're "not doing", and start working on getting that baseline.
Join my Inner Circle for more tips on how to do this!
Sarah Smith is a personal trainer and lifestyle coach working with busy women in-person and online to help them feel confident and content in their bodies and their lives.