Establishing a routine and following it isn’t easy: but it WILL reap major results.
I’m 28 and just starting to embrace routine. I’ve been rebellious and reallllly stubborn most of my life, and resisted calendars and schedules because I felt suffocated. I recently decided that whatever I was doing wasn’t working-I had no time for myself, and always felt exhausted and pulled in a million directions. I figured I had nothing to lose by trying a scheduled routine.
I was as shocked as you are at the immense relief I felt and the way it changed my life.
Now, I rise at 7 am for some yoga, coffee, reading and mindset work. I get to breathe in the first morning light right alongside my pup, and we get lots of bonding and cuddle time. I also have enough time to get ready for the day, which is critical to my sanity since I work from home. By beginning my morning in this way, rather than snoozing until my first meeting, I’m able to settle into my work calmly and energized when 9 am rolls around. Side note: No, I’m not perfect. Every day doesn’t start this way – but the ones that do feel that much more magical.
Evenings have their vibes, which for me is much more flexible. I do try to end and begin the day with a book, rather than my phone, and I take a few moments to use my favorite face oil and slip into my most comfortable pajamas.
What have I learned? If you are able to organize your day around your routine, you’ll be better prepped for anything the Universe sends your way. Whether your routine is simple or complex, let yourself dive into the ritual. The act of doing can be peaceful in itself, and a source of calm continuity when life can so often feel volatile.
Going into your morning or evening routine with the right attitude is everything. Don’t see this as another to-do on your never-ending list. Instead, learn to value this time as unapologetically yours, and relish every moment. It certainly makes getting up a few minutes earlier much easier to bear! On that note, if you’re not into it, don’t try to force it in your routine. Going to the gym has never worked at getting me out of bed in the morning. Books? Absolutely.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend was heading to work and couldn’t find me in the house. After ten or fifteen minutes, he walked into our closet to grab his jacket and found me reading on the floor, next to dirty laundry and underneath hanging clothes. He looked at me like he was confused if I was a human being, or some creature sent from another planet to confuse him.
I see that look pretty regularly, but it still made me laugh when I realized how ridiculous I must look.
I needed space to focus on myself for morning meditation, the book I was desperate to finish, and a space where I couldn’t hear our puppy whining through the walls. And it worked! Plus, closets are actually cozy.
Unless you live an amazing life, you probably don’t have a dedicated and hella zen meditation hut in your backyard. If you do, please invite me over. Even finding space in our home home to work, journal or think without being surrounded by a million distractions is difficult at times. If you’re anything like me, it might help to remind yourself that your world is FULL of places that can become whatever you need. Room of Requirement style.
In your closet, laundry room or car
Obviously, small spaces are my favorite. As long as it’s (relatively) clean, comfortable and well lit, you can find five minutes of peace in the corner while your dryer is on wrinkle release.
In line at the DMV
You know you’re going to be there for 3 days anyway. Just pop in some earbuds and listen to your favorite meditation app or your favorite podcast. Try Mortified if you’re looking for something hilarious–laughing IS joy, after all.
On your back porch
In my case, it’s a small concrete slab. But at the edge of the slab is grass, dirt, and just enough sunlight to convince me that I’m in a forest (if my eyes are closed).
At a coffee shop
Honestly, coffee shops were not always my favorite place to just sit by myself. I love them know because they’re always buzzing (literally and figuratively once you drink several iced coffees in one sitting) with excitement, and I’ve learned to embrace the buzz. Instead of being distracted or stressed out by that buzz, think of it as the sound of humanity. Embrace it, and let the energy in the air energize your body.
While grocery shopping
Fun fact: I love grocery shopping. And I love walking while I’m thinking. something about the motion of pacing feels like it unlocks a lot of creative energy in my brain. Next time you need some milk/bread/eggs/Hot Cheetos, bring a notepad or open your voice recorder on your phone. Dump out whatever comes up and let your mind be empty while you stock up on supplies.
Where is your favorite place to recenter, detox, refresh, or laugh? Tell me!
It’s so easy to be intimidated by the concept of developing a mindful routine. Every day, my newsfeed fills with articles about meditation, conscious breathing, ayurvedic practices & the 3 hour long yoga session that you MUST do.
It doesn’t have to be that way! When it comes to mindfulness, quality is way more important than quantity. Don’t let the fear that you don’t have enough time keep you from carving out five minutes of peace and sanity for yourself. It’s usually when you feel like you don’t have enough time that you need this refuge the most!
Want to know another secret? You can be your own guru. Although reading about the routines of others can be inspiring, you know best what you need. If you’re continually thinking about or reading about mindfulness without any kind of practice that works for you, you’re allowing yourself to get distracted.
Snap out of it, sister.
Start simple. Try breathing and thinking about nothing else. Consider breakfast without your phone in hand. Draw pictures of your dreams when you wake up instead of checking Twitter. Imagine tending to your energetic garden. Recreate your favorite place in the world in your mind-down to the smell. Whatever speaks to you.
There’s no wrong way to be aware or mindful. It’s all a choice: and choosing to clear your mind and listen to your body is a powerful one.
Still feel like you need some guidance? Keep an eye out for the “Reclaim your AM” downloadable coming your way soon.
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