Three Good Habits To Get More Grounded

I drove myself all over the state of New Jersey and way up to Boston in a flurry of five days last week, so you can bet I was feeling a little disoriented come Monday.

I love being in constant motion. It makes me feel alive and vibrant, the opposite of stuck and stagnant, and I thrive on it. But it also creates some chaos to my habits and patterns that help me feel more focused and grounded.

So once I got back home, I started doing three things that always help me get my feet under me. And maybe they’ll help you, too, if you’re not already doing them or needed a reminder.

  1. Prioritize sleep. From all the driving around and late nights and different sleeping arrangements, my rhythms got thrown off. And sleep deprivation or disruption is a recipe for decreased immune system which can lead to getting sick. Since I already got sick three times this winter (!), I am not having more of that. So as soon as I could, I reestablished my sleep schedule and put myself to bed on time. I also changed my sheets which ALWAYS guarantees a great night’s sleep for me.

    Sleep is the best medicine: it’s cheap, free and extremely effective to help our bodies heal themselves.

  2. Eat greens. When I’m on the road like I was last week, it was hard to find enough greens to meet my daily goals. Greens include kale, spinach, broccoli, etc. and I’ve gotten pretty good at getting at least two servings of them in each day. But last week I got all thrown off from the choices available to me, so I immediately bought myself two big containers of greens and have been gobbling them up the past few days. Greens cleanse the blood, increase our alkalinity and are just generally great for good gut health.

  3. Practice breathing. The frenzy of running from one thing to the next is fun! I love it! I was so impressed how I pulled off such incredible feats of time management to squeeze so much in! I made everything work perfectly time-wise, including a full coaching schedule and lunch meetings and meals with friends. I did screw up one time and overbooked dinner plans with coaching sessions and had to disappoint myself and my friends. But we pivoted and will reschedule for another time. Can’t do it all perfectly, of course. But I noticed when the frenzy tipped the scales a bit and I started forgetting things because my brain was just fried. So I immediately forgave myself and started to practice breathing. The breathing brings in more oxygen and actually helps my brain calm down so I’m not in flight/fight/freeze mode (even in GOOD conditions, the brain just reacts the same) and can think more clearly and consciously. Just breathing helps me practice mindfulness to make the next best move.

Those three habits always help me get more grounded, even if I haven’t been running all over the place like I was last week. Life demands pull us out of alignment constantly and it’s up to us to practice good habits to find balance from one moment to the next.

See if these habits help you do this in your life. Which one can you practice starting right now? Taking action is always the best way to get grounded ASAP.

What happens now?

I’ve always had a thing for Jodie Foster. Well, since puberty hit, I guess.

I went through a phase where I watched virtually every movie I could find, one of favorites being the original Freaky Friday. I didn’t know it then, but I was especially captivated by her androgynous teenage character. I almost "knew* she was gay even before she came out decades later. I could totally relate to her, even when she didn’t even know herself, or share herself, in that way yet.

In the movie CONTACT, Ms. Foster’s character, Ellie, travels to outer space and on the edge of a major part of the journey into the Great Unknown, she says breathlessly, “what happens now?!”

Matthew McConaughey’s character says the exact same phrase in INTERSTELLAR, another one of my favorite outer space/sci-fi films. Fun fact! Mr. McConaughey also played a major role opposite Jodie Foster in CONTACT. ;)

I’ve been especially drawn to this phrase “what happens now?!” as I’ve intentionally veered off the straight-and-narrow (pun!) path in every aspect of my life, for most of my life. I just recently put together a presentation about living in 25 different homes in 19 years. And that’s just the past 19! I’ve had more than that in my 40 years on this planet.

As I put together that presentation, I realized the guts and glory it took along the way to pull that shit off. I sat at my computer, watching the pictures scroll by and realized the epic courage it took to do what I’ve done. And the more details you know about my story, the more it may dazzle you.

I don’t come from old or new money. I was raised by a single mother who never attended college. I went to school on full scholarships. I left my career due to homophobia in my early 20s. I’ve weaved in and among many different careers including building my own business as a coach and writer and speaker for the past 10 years. I came out as queer in my early 20s and then again as trans in my mid-30s. I put myself through the grad school at the same time I began my transition. I left the long-term relationship I’d been in when I realized it had served it’s true purpose for me and then moved around to find and figure out what Home meant to me ever since.

And along the way, through all those meanderings, I’ve often asked myself when the going got tough, “what happens now?!”

And the answer I’ve learned to hear and trust is: whatever you want.

What happens in our lives is completely dependent on us and our choices and our decisions from moment to moment. It may be why so many people play it “safe” and stay with what’s familiar. There’s a false sense of security when you live your life like that. But you also stay the same, perhaps to a fault that doesn’t serve you to your highest potential.

“What happens now” feels like it’s out of our control, which it often is, but we do have plenty of agency in what happens next. External factors may influence our means and methods but if we let ourselves fall victim to that, we’re in dire straights. When we empower ourselves to act with whatever we have in the moment, we find our way, sometimes one fingerhold at a time. And if you’ve ever tried to plan something, like a wedding for example, you realize how imperfectly Best Laid Plans may actualize.

I think that’s why I loved the movies I mentioned earlier so much, besides my major crush on Jodie of course, because they show just what happens when we choose our own adventure and let go of what happens next. It’s a dance between choosing to act, choosing to see, choosing to try and releasing our grasp on how it will unfold.

Both characters intentionally choose to go into Deep Space with no idea what will happen to them and no idea who they will become or if they will even continue to exist.

I’ve done that so many times in so many ways, my transition being one of many decisions I’ve made, my moving around the Northeast of America being another, and what I’ve learned from the process is how scary and thrilling and wonderful it is to leave the familiar and learn who you become as a result.