Stop. What are your non negotiables?


A cup of coffee first thing in the morning? A glass of wine at the end of the day?

Time before bed to watch your favorite TV/Netflix show?

You can do better than that!

Clearing your calendar to attend all of your kids’ sporting events?

Attending, maybe even hosting, Sunday dinners with the family?

That’s better, but it’s still not what I’m talking about.

If self care sounds too self indulgent to you, join the club! But I’m not talking about what you would do if you had all the time and money in the world.  That’s a wish list.

What I’m talking about is akin to what you hear from the flight attendant before your plane leaves the ground. You are instructed to correctly put on your oxygen mask before you try to help others.  Every single time.  It’s a “non negotiable.”

What I am referring to are acts that are not complicated or expensive, but they belong to just you.

I first heard of this concept a few years ago from my favorite traveling yoga teacher, Seane Corn.  Seane is on the road, all over the world, much of the year, leading yoga classes and retreats.  To live an authentic yogic life (more on that some other time!) or maybe just to avoid constant burnout, Seane came up with her own list of non negotiables.  Her list includes things like eating well, getting enough sleep, doing yoga, prayer, meditation….

Not difficult ideas to grasp, but doing them every day? Part of her success is to clearly define each non negotiable. For Seane to give it her all, she knows she has to stick to the list.

I’m not saying that I’ve got this, but I am saying that it makes a lot of sense.  Some of us may feel like we’re supposed to put on the proverbial oxygen mask a lot, without ever getting on a plane. But we don’t get around to it.  We all know what happens next. Burnout, resentment, maybe even illness.

I got off to a good start last week by re-introducing a regular yoga practice into my life.  The practice that makes me most accountable to myself is to do my yoga with community on a regular basis. I’ve scheduled it so it’s doable and my family notices the difference when I do it.  Just ask them!

So take a minute to stop and think about your non negotiables. Try not to think of this idea as making resolutions or coming up with one more diet or exercise plan that you don’t feel you can stick to. What is it that you need to do for you? And what if making sure that  happens means that you show up for others more rested, focused and happier? It’s not rocket science, but just maybe it will reframe the “I should” narrative in your head.

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