In one way or another, your routine has changed. Your work routine has changed, your kids are home, your spouse is home, you’re no longer able to go to the gym or meet your friends for dinner. Maybe you find that you no longer have a routine at all.
Routines are important, and not just from a stay-on-track-with-your-eating importance (although routines are extremely important to be successful with your health and fitness goals). Routines are important for your mental health. Routine helps us cope with change. It helps us stick to healthy habits. Most importantly, it helps reduce stress levels. Routine creates certainty, one of our core human needs. When we have certainty, when we know what to expect, we feel less stressed.
You don’t need to wait until life is back to ‘normal’ to create routines in your life that leave you feeling happy, healthy, connected, and accomplished. And yes, this situation in particular is unprecedented and new. BUT there have always been, and always will be, situations that are unprecedented and new. Your first time travelling to Paris, your grandson’s 10th birthday, having the entire family over at your house for a full week, caring for your spouse after surgery.
Much of our life is not routine. And you can either fight for the ‘this is different’ excuse, or you can reclaim control over your day, your routines, and start to feel healthier, happier and less stressed.
Here are 3 steps to creating routines during COVID-19 and beyond:
- Have a morning ritual:
Even if every day is different, most people find they can have some consistency first thing in the morning. The morning is also when you can prepare and plan for the day.
Your morning ritual can be a simple 5- or 10-minute activity, or a more invested practice that can last an hour or more. Do what works for you! Your morning routine can include:
- Coffee or tea mediation: drinking your hot beverage in silence and noticing all of your senses (taste, smell, sound, sight, touch)
- Gratitude practice: recalling 1-3 moments from the day before that you are grateful for. Recall as many positive feelings from those moments.
- Journaling: doing a brain dump In a journal can provide more peace and clarity for the day ahead
- Read something inspiring. I recommend NOT checking into the news or social media first thing in the morning.
- Read your goals.
- Plan your day (see step #2)
- Plan your day: A plan creates certainty and clarity, something your brain loves. Include life goals as well (such as a plan for your health, your relationships, and your overall positive wellbeing). I also recommend that you star and focus on 3 priorities. It’s easy to get 8/10 things on your list done and feel like a failure because you missed 2!Here’s an example of daily plans:
- Be fully present while helping your daughter with her schoolwork
- Enjoy an active break in the afternoon
- Reach out to 3 friends to let them know I am thinking of them
- Keep my food journal so that I am intentional on my eating
- End the day with an evening ritual: The close of your day is just as important as the start. An evening routine helps you feel accomplished and successful about your day, prepares you for the next day, and can improve your sleep. Here are a few suggestions for a powerful bookend of your day:
- Reflect on what went well: It can be easy to lose sight of successes after a long day. Take a few minutes to celebrate your wins so that you feel fulfilled and accomplished. Noting the wins also helps you keep perspective with the setbacks that may have happened.
- Clear your head: Jot down any thoughts that might be worrying you, meditate or pray. Clearing your head will help you sleep!
- Shut off screens 1 hour before bed: I know how challenging this can be- but your sleep is worth it! Switch off your phone, iPad, and television before bed.
It can be challenging to build routines into your life at the best of times. It can feel so much easier to roll out of bed and login to Facebook right away, or end the day playing Candy Crush.
But it will get easier, and after a few tries, you’ll find yourself happier, calmer and more productive when you have a plan, and you’ve bookended them with solid morning and evening routines.
If you’re looking for more, here’s how I can help:
⭐️FREE COURSE: Discover the diet rules ACTUALLY worth following to end the fight against yourself and food so that you can get to your happy, healthy weight, naturally, permanently and WITHOUT dieting. www.tanjashaw.com/
⭐️Subscribe to the Fit + Vibrant You Podcast on your favourite podcast player.
⭐️Learn more about how we can work together at www.tanjashaw.com/wholeyou