LUCID HABITS + MINDING YOUR WELLNESS
Learning About Our Lucid Habits with Lucia Vazquez
illustration by Perla Sanchez @perlyblooms (used with permission)
What we do informs what we get done. Sounds obvious, as it should also be a no-brainer that if we want specific things to get done, there are specific things we should do—It isn’t enough, after all, to collect the ingredients to elderflower lemonade, place them in a big mason jar, and give em a good shake till we get the intended outcome--The recipe requires specific considerations: steps and preparations that if performed a certain way, will express the cool, refreshing beverage. Our goals work similarly, they require ingredients no doubt, but without taking certain habits into consideration, our lemonade might just end up being water with a bunch of stuff in it.
But even outside our goals, our well-being is at the constant mercy of our habitual activity. What we eat. How we sleep. The media we consume. How we work: stand, sit, or just ignore cues from our bodies asking for rest, all these stamp an effect on our mental and physical wellness. So much so that if maintaining wellness isn’t already a goal, it very well should be. My friend, Lucia Vazquez, creator/writer of the lifestyle blog, ‘Lucid Habits’ would agree. As a holistic healer and self-development enthusiast, she has made it her mission to inform people why habits matter.
For more than 10 years, Lucia has been on a journey of self-healing and learning. This includes treating her stomach ailments, balancing her diet, utilizing meditation, and reading tons of books. She practices reiki, divination readings and more recently, worked as a massage therapist and is now also an herbalist. She’s the mother of three, a wizard in the kitchen (or behind a camera) and lowkey one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, as us Bronx kids tend to be.
It was through her own experiences, while identifying her own “bad” habits that Lucia saw the connection; the integral role habits play in our daily lives. Via email, I asked her a few questions about her work and ways in which we may consider our habits more closely and why. One thing she pointed out early on was a suggestion to the language--That replacing “bad” with “hurtful” can help remove any shame we might associate with the habit. When we say hurtful it’s less about judgement and more about accountability.
Makes sense as these hurtful habits are those which cause us physical or psychological harm, and by extension, harming our intentions; the plans we set and our ability to then show up for ourselves.
AE: During the time you worked as a massage therapist, in the recent pre-pandemic past, what are some of the hurtful habits that often led people to see you professionally?
LV: The number one reason people came to see me as a massage therapist was treatment for aches, pains, and tensions--Due to sedentary lifestyles. Things like sitting at a desk, not stretching or exercising, etc. In short, lack of intentional movement.
Stress plays a major role as well. While stress isn’t really a habit, the responses to stress can be. Most people came to me due to stress related illnesses that they pretty much tried to ignore until it led to anxiety, tension and even pain.
AE: But how we respond to stress can be very unconscious and likely flows naturally into our daily routines. How do we course correct, toward helpful habits? Especially if some of these habits are hurtful enough that they might require physical therapy down the line?
LV: Awareness is the key to leading a more conscious life. That is literally all...Just being aware of what and why you do what you do. What you put into your body, (mentally and physically). Just overall awareness of all your habits. Getting out of autopilot--This doesn’t even have to be a spiritual practice.
That’s worth considering, that it’s just a matter of being as mindful as one tends to be while walking on a sidewalk and not straying into traffic. Or mindful to dress for the weather/occasion, or to not drift into deep water if you can’t swim. We already utilize this kind of mindful logic in other areas of our lives, Lucia is only suggesting we use it on our habits. Or in her words, as a light shining on our daily actions in an introspective yet non-judgemental way. This is the concept behind Lucid Habits, where like in lucid dreaming, the subject becomes conscious of their experience, reclaims agency and authors their individual actions.
I also asked Lucia about her own activities, how she managed her time between her physical healing and herbalist practices, blog writing, business running, family, and her own self-care.
LV: I know it really sounds like a lot of titles but a lot of those merge together so I’m not really juggling too many hats. However, being a parent/significant other and having an at home business it really comes down to what I like to call, flexible prioritizing--Along with being aware of my daily habits, I really have to bring awareness to what my priorities really are, and then take turns on what gets my attention each day.
This last year I got really into planning and making my own planners--I noticed listing the important things that need to get done throughout the week helps me more than a daily list. It allows me to be more flexible with my time.
One day my priority might be my blog, next day could be rest, and the next day is a family or rest day. It’s all about choosing who or what gets my attention that specific day. Sometimes it’s planned, most times it’s not. And that’s where the flexibility comes in.
Since I made the decision that my family, health and business are all top priorities, It became easier to make one the main focus today, so long as I know one of the others will get that top spot another day. And during busier phases of life, I like to utilize time blocking, a method where you plan your day down to the hour. You put everything in a time block, even a break. Using the time allotted to focus on the agenda. It seems intense but it really helps me stay on track on the days I need it.
The key is to let go of the idea of a (mandatory) consistent schedule. Also the idea that one thing needs all my attention at once. Sometimes stepping away from things helps me clear my head and I come back refreshed anyways.
Overall, i don’t push myself too much to work too hard on any specific thing. Above all, my health has been a number #1 focus so that comes with knowing i cant always do it all and be there for everyone. I have to be there for me first.
AE: What are some useful habits you practice in your daily life?
LV: A few habits I always suggest are the habits centered around the first hour of waking up. What most refer to as a morning routine:
As soon as you wake up, take a few deep breaths and feel gratitude...Just soaking in the fact, you woke up...As soon as your feet touch ground, say something to the effect of, ‘today is going to be a good day…’
Also making your bed (I don’t know why, but this one really makes me feel like I have my stuff together and gives me a nice healthy dopamine rush). I avoid checking my phone until I’ve done all the above. Then drink at least 16 oz of water and stretch, it doesn’t have to be too long, just enough to bring some intentional movement throughout your body.
AE: For those of us who suspect we might have a few hurtful habits already lurking about and desire more actionable solutions beyond simply deciding to change--It seems Lucid Habits is already offering a good way of shining a light on our daily actions through the printable ‘Habit Tracker’ on the website. How did that come about?
LV: I started the habit tracker as a way to offer something valuable to those who follow my blog. It was something I’ve always done on my own and really helped me notice how my lack of consistent habits were, in a way, hurtful. The tracker helped me hold myself accountable and became part of my rising (morning) ritual.
I thought since it helped me get my habits together it would only make sense to make one for people to easily print and use for free as a thank you for checking out the blog. The tracker has inspired me to begin work on a guided journal. 90-days of guided journaling aimed at helping to ritualize daily wellness. There are a few things out there like it, but nothing with the focus of ritualizing the habits. I think some people might really appreciate it.
As do I.
To read Lucia’s writings on the importance of setting habits, and how to lead a wellness-first, intentional lifestyle check out Lucid Habits. And to stay connected or to simply say hello, follow @lucidhabits on instagram. The Lucid Habits Ritual: A 90-Day Journal to Help Ritualize Daily Wellness is now available for purchase here.