Rhythm and Routine

GretchenSelf-care

Morning Routine

This month’s extreme self-care challenge dovetails nicely with the overall premise of my work – developing healthier and happier habits. Over on my brilliant but poorly written blog, I’ve shared several strategies for developing new habits in the areas of sleep, exercise, eating, tasks, work, and fun. Making a healthy behavior part of our everyday routine is key to making it a habit.

When we feel frazzled and disorganized, routines create a sense of order and give our day a peaceful rhythm. They add stability to our lives and help us feel more secure. Much like the scheduling strategy, routines provide mental relief from managing too many responsibilities. When we repeat a routine over and over, we think about the steps less and less. They become second nature and happen with little effort on our part. Have you ever parked in front of your office and thought, “how did I get here?” Imagine if you had to think about every step involved in driving from home to work EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Here is your challenge:

Get focused

Close your eyes, sit quietly, and take several deep breaths.

Ask yourself what routine you need most

When you are feeling relaxed, ask yourself: “What one routine could I put in place this month that would improve my life the most?”

Go with what first comes to mind

Notice what first comes to your mind. Be sure you phrase your need in the form of an actionable routine.

  • I need more sleep = I need to go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am.
  • I need a cleaner house = I need a to go to bed with a clean kitchen.
  • I need to eat healthy meals = I need to cook and eat a healthy dinner every night.
  • I need alone time = I need 15 minutes of quiet time every morning.

Remind yourself

Write your routine down on several post-it notes and place them in strategic locations – bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, car dash, computer monitor.

Make a plan

Make an implementation plan. Let the people around you know what you are doing so they can adequately support you. Commit to executing your routine every day for the next month.

Evaluate

At the end of each week, make an evaluation:

1. Are you feeling more relaxed?
2. Do you feel less overwhelmed?
3. Are you more productive?
4. Does your life seem more balanced?

Don’t give up

If implementing the routine is frazzling you even more, try simplifying it down to just one or two steps before you give up on it.

Also, check out my blog posts on the strategies of monitoring, scheduling, accountability, and foundation for tips on how to make your new routine stick.

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