In this episode of the Feel Good Effect podcast, we’re talking about building sustainable wellness routines and self-care practices into your daily life with a science-backed framework and three mindset shifts to overcome wellness barriers.

How to Use the 4R Framework to Create Sustainable Daily Mini-Wellness Routines

Imagine a giant kitchen mixing bowl.

Imagine putting the bowl in the sink, below the faucet, and turning it on so there is water gushing out of the faucet, quickly filling the bowl.

Now imagine that flowing water coming out of the faucet as all of the stress and responsibility in your life. 

As it flows, those expectations and anxieties quickly start to fill the bowl.

Pretty soon, the water will overflow the bowl and spill over the sides because the bowl was made to only hold so much; it was never made to hold an unending stream of stress, expectations, anxiety, responsibility, and worry.

Now, instead of a bowl, imagine placing a colander under that same stream of water. 

Unlike a bowl, a colander has hundreds of tiny holes in it, through which the water will escape so it won’t overflow.

None of these holes are huge and it’s not an absence of a container, rather, dozens of ways for the stress and anxiety to get out and through.

Then, think about those small holes as self-care or small, mini-habits and wellness routines that you create throughout the day. 

By doing so, you create a life in which the stress and worry have a way out and through instead of filling up and spilling over.

How do you do this? 

We’re talking about the 4-R frameworks and mini-wellness routines, a science-backed approach to wellness.

Download the free worksheet to plan out your day with the 4-R framework.

The 4-R Routines Framework

The 4-R Routines Framework was designed to help you create essential micro-wellness routines throughout your day so that you can create those metaphorical holes for the stress to flow out.

These are micro-routines, rather than one big hole, because most of us don’t actually have an hour for a morning routine.

You can get the same (if not more) benefits by making your wellness routines smaller and more frequent.

The 4-R’s are: (1) refresh in the morning, (2) revive in the midday, (3) reset in the afternoon, and (4) rest in the evening.

It’s shifting a routine from one long one in the morning to short routines throughout the day.

Tips for making it work
Make it stick

One of the things we know about habit formation is that it’s easier to form a habit when you stick it to something else.

In this case, we are sticking a new habit to a time of day.

As you’re mapping out your 4-R routines, think about a specific time of day to stick those routines to.

For example, start your refresh routine after having your morning cup of coffee, add some movement into your day for revive around 10:30, reset with a walk around 3:00, and foster gratitude for rest before bed.

Part of this is embracing the idea that every little bit counts; you don’t need a full hour to have wellness in your life.

Quote on what counts as wellness by Robyn Conley Downs on the Feel Good Effect Podcast #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #motivationalquote #positivityquote #inspirationalquote #wellnessquote #perfectionismquote #realisticquote #healthquote

Use cues

The other part is having another habit to hook the wellness habit to. 

For example, going upstairs and getting ready for bed can be a cue for an evening wellness routine.

This can be yours, customizable to your life, and flexible to your needs at this time.

Use the worksheet to write down the time of day and habit or cue you can pair your new wellness habit with. 

Plan ahead

Decide what you’re going to do ahead of time to reduce decision fatigue.

Check out the Essential Guide to Daily Wellness Routines resource for a menu of ideas.

Listen to your life, to what you need, and then decide on the time of day and what you’re going to do.

Small shifts create big change.

Quote on small shifts for big change by Robyn Conley Downs on the Feel Good Effect Podcast #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #motivationalquote #positivityquote #inspirationalquote #wellnessquote #perfectionismquote #healthquote #growthquote

Quote on having kindness for yourself by Robyn Conley Downs on the Feel Good Effect Podcast #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffectpodcast #motivationalquote #positivityquote #inspirationalquote #wellnessquote #perfectionismquote #realisticquote #healthquote #kindnessquote #selflovequote #selfcompassionquote
Mindset shifts

There are three science-based barriers to routine success: perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, and comparison.

Barrier #1: Perfectionism

Practice self-compassion instead of perfectionism, instead of trying to do it perfectly.

Have the kindness for yourself to know that to make mistakes is human.

Doing it the best that you can is enough.

Barrier #2: All or nothing thinking

So many of us have been conditioned by the wellness industry to feel like we need to have an hour for a wellness routine or it doesn’t count (which isn’t true at all).

Instead of all or nothing thinking, try to think flexibly or find the power middle.

The perfect example is switching out a less sustainable hour routine with these four micro-routines throughout the day.

If you can do one minute four times a day, you are doing amazing!

You will likely build behavioral momentum and increase the length, but even if you don’t, four minutes a day is better than nothing, period.

It adds up to a lot over time.

Barrier #3: Comparison

Maybe this is comparing yourself to someone online with a magical routine that doesn’t work for you or maybe this is comparing yourself to a version of yourself in the past.

Press pause on the comparison and step into your life, the one you have now, the version of yourself now. 

“Find a way for wellness to work in your context and own it. Who you are and what you are doing right now is exactly who you are meant and what you are meant to do and be”.

It really is as simple as it sounds.

Make it happen

In sum, the 4-R routines are about creating micro-wellness routines throughout the day so you can handle that stress and anxiety with more ease so that you have those holes that let it flow out and to let it be.

As you start to do this, let go of those mindset barriers.

Let go of perfectionism, instead, leaning into compassion.

Let go of all or nothing thinking, instead, leaning into the power middle.

Let go of comparison, instead, leaning into owning your life with gratitude.


Join the Feel Good Effect Ambassador Team 

Free 4-R Framework worksheet

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