Recently I’ve been working on building a routine for myself from scratch. In this current reality of uncertainty and change, there’s a lot of anxiety. I’ve felt my fair share of it. In the moments where I’ve been shaken the most, continuing some of my habits and routines have helped me stay grounded. For example, there was a period in my life where I couldn’t sleep at night. I wasn’t doing anything, either (no Netflix, no talking to friends, nada). I was just in my bed, thinking a million thoughts.
Before I knew it, I saw the sunrise without a lick of sleep for days on end. There was a lot of change and anxiety going on at that time for me. However, something that helped me eventually regulate my sleep schedule was the practice of journaling. Now, I’ve written about the power of journaling several times before. But really, this practice helped me go from sleepless nights to falling asleep with my pen still in my hand. More than that, it has helped me express myself completely and feel grounded.
I’m not saying that every action we do has to be planned out, habitual, or routinized. Life wouldn’t be fun without a little spontaneity, mystery, and gaps. I am saying that we can make things easier and more enjoyable for ourselves when we stick to a few routines. It also helps us focus our energy on things we can control rather than things we can’t.
I’ve decided to add a few things to my routine that have helped me in the past, like using positive affirmations. I also check-in with myself now at the beginning and end of each day to see how I’m feeling and what I need. It feels good to give myself that care and attention. Having days where I focus on specific aspects of my life, like Money Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays, helps me feel more control of what I can control. I can manage my relationship with my money and my relationship with myself. Having these weekly sessions remind me of that, and that feels empowering. It feels good to have checkpoints in the day and week that are familiar and help me progress, one step at a time.
Today I’m encouraging you to look at your routine (or lack thereof) and think about what’s serving you and what’s not. What helps you feel grounded on the daily? Here are some important things to keep in mind though…
The habits and routines you build should be based on things you ACTUALLY want to do, have, and accomplish. They shouldn’t be based on things you think you SHOULD want to do, have, and accomplish. Your journey in life is uniquely yours. It doesn’t matter what others – or your ego – is telling you that you SHOULD do. It only matters that you do good things that are in alignment with you and your best interest. So for example, if you don’t have the most Instagrammable and perfect morning routine? Screw it. The real question is do you have the best morning routine for you? And if not, how can you create a morning routine that you’ll love?
Secondly, when incorporating new behaviors into your life, try to do so one at a time. That means if you want to start meditating, reading, and eating vegetarian every day, you should probably start by dedicating your energy to one thing for a certain amount of time. Maybe you decide that you’ll start with meditating every morning for 10 minutes each day, for three weeks. Great start! After those three weeks see how you feel, and then you can build on top of that habit by adding in 15 minutes of reading after your morning meditation. Basically, pace yourself.
As someone who is used to taking on a million projects at once, this is sometimes easier said than done for me. However, I find that when my attention and energy is focused on one thing at a time – and building one habit at a time – everything feels easier. So as you build your routines, give yourself some ease and, more than that, be compassionate with yourself.
Now, this post wouldn’t be complete without some resources and questions to make you think soooo here we go!
Resources for creating routines and habit building:
Videos: the one habit that is changing my life: set systems rather than goals (Rowena Tsai), How to Build Habits That Stick (Lavendaire), Why I quit trying to build the perfect morning routine (Matt D’Avelia).
Here are some questions for you to ask yourself and grow from:
- What does my daily routine look like?
- What do I spend most of my time doing?
- What are the best parts of my day/week/month? Why? What do I get out of these moments?
- What parts of my day/week/month feel like a drag? Why? What do I get out of these moments?
- What activities feel grounding to me? (e.g., meditating, going for a walk, journaling, painting, etc.)
- What is one habit I want to add to my routine? What is my motivation for this?
I hope you take the time to truly consider these questions, and to consider yourself. Have a wonderful Wednesday full of wellness.