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The habit of self renewal – or, letting our souls catch up

The habit of self renewalSelf renewal.

This habit is very close to my heart, even and especially as I am learning the importance of applying it.

I wrote here a while ago about the need to have time to let our souls catch up, and this is the essence of Habit Number 7.

Without appropriate time for renewal, in body, mind and soul, we cannot sustain the way we live, and our attempts to live out the preceding habits will eventually fail.

I have also written here about Burnout, and the dangers of doing doing doing to the extent that we forget to be, and ultimately we lose who we really are.

The final habit in the Seven Habits book by Dr Steven Covey is the habit of self renewal. There are four basic dimensions to self renewal, and this is my whistle stop summary, to outline what for me is significant about each one:

  1. Physical – looking after our bodies: food, exercise, rest, sleep. What would make the biggest difference to how you feel about yourself, and to the life that you live? Exercise is important – we all know that in theory – but we need to choose to be proactive and make time for it. Every little helps. When it comes to exercise, what do you love to do, and how do you love to do it?
  2. Social/relational – Who are the people who matter most to you? How often do you see those people and really connect with them (and I don’t mean on Facebook or to say “It’s your turn to take the bin out.”) What relationships feed your soul? Who are the people in your life that nourish you, make you laugh, inspire you, ask you about how you are and not just what you are doing? What would make the biggest difference to how you invest in these key relationships?
  3. Spiritual – this taps into who we see ourselves to be, and includes any expression of faith that we may have. What gives you serenity and peace? What renews you spiritually, in the broadest sense of the word? Again, the key here is knowing yourself. Taking time to understand yourself, and enjoy being that person is a good start.
  4. Mental – this is a broad area and covers everything from learning a new skill, reading stimulating literature, music, all kinds of creativity, on-going learning and mental development. What stretches and inspires you? What does being creative mean to you – if like me, you can’t draw and are not very artistic, you might need to reclassify and broaden your idea of what being creative means. Exploring the creative side of ourselves, and giving ourselves time to do this, taps into our right brain functioning and allows us to switch the left brain off – the structured, organising, to-do lists, practical parts of us. In so doing, we often gain a different, fresh perspective.

If all four areas of self care are in balance and being exercised properly we create an upward spiral of restoration.

…More physical exercise gives us more energy, we are more alert, fitter and learn the benefits of being proactive.

…More mental energy gives us more space to engage in mental stimulus, expands our world, stretches us and gives us a sense of achievement.

…Time to be reflective, gives us space to understand and accept ourselves, our values and priorities.

…Thus we are more able to give of ourselves in relationships with others because we are more secure and comfortable with who we are.

So….what to do.

What would make the biggest difference to your own self renewal, as this year gets under way?

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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