It’s funny how something as small as setting an intention for your day can be the difference between a stressful state, or a calm one. Think of a day this week where everything just seemed to flow, versus a day where you just couldn’t seem to get yourself going, no matter how much coffee you consumed. It’s almost as if it’s a parallel universe, everything looking exactly the same, the same events transpiring and yet you would classify it as either a good day or a bad day based on your experience. Not every day can be a happy go lucky one, but I have been really interested in trying to hone in on what it is that creates that flow, that walking on sunshine kind of day.
As per usual, it seems that it’s a certain balance of things. The angle I am going for is to establish a daily routine. Sometimes keeping things simple is just too easy to make hard. You feel me? I mean to say that we’re so quick to overcomplicate before we’ve even mastered the basics. So, step one is ignore the 30 voices in your head all shouting over one another trying to suggest what you should cram into your day, and start writing down the basics, what time do you want to wake up and go to sleep ideally?
This is something new to me, and I can sense a little resistance to the idea of waking up at the same time everyday, especially on my days off when I tend to sleep in, and on my really bad days, I tend to want to sleep all day. But when I think big picture, and think about what my ideal routine would be I know that at least trying to wake up at the same time may be just what my body needs to reprogram. I’m setting my goal to wake up for 7.30am, to some of you morning people this may sound stupid easy, but for a non-morning person with chronic fatigue to boot, this is a time of day I am not too acquainted with. But I am going to try, because if you want things to be different, you must do something different. And guess what, if I need to I can take a nap. I can take 2 naps, as long as I make the true effort to give myself the gift of a routine then I will call it a win.
The next step for me was to write a few things to do in my morning routine, and these things were decided by what I thought would help me boost my mood, feel productive and organized, and set me up for my day, without taking me too long. I’ve landed on stretching, writing in my 5 minute journal, and eating breakfast as my daily must do’s. So far my routine looks like this
7.30/ 7.45 Wake up, stretching routine7.45 / 8.30 Make coffee, write in journal8.30 / 10 Get ready for work10 / 10.30 Eat breakfast, pack lunch10.30 Leave for work
Now I may tweak some of this as I put this into practice, but for the most part I will try to stick with this simple routine to help me feel more “ready” and more able to face the day. It beats the hell out of waking up a little too late after hitting snooze so many times that I no longer have extra time for anything but putting makeup on, getting dressed, and flying out the door without any breakfast or lunch with me. Looking at my daily habits I quickly realized why I felt exhausted, stressed and brain foggy before even starting work. Then needing extra coffee to get me by, feeling so hungry and hangry by the time I finally got some lunch, and then getting off work already worrying about dinner, and about how tired I was. It’s easy to fall into a bad habit loop without really realizing how bad it is.
After having a few really great days, and finally stringing them together, it lifted the fog enough for me to question what I could do better for myself. Wanting better for yourself is just another step in healing yourself. I’m not going to use this as a way to beat myself up if I miss a day. That’s just setting myself up for failure and shame, and as someone who has come so far in self acceptance and changing my lifestyle for my health and wellbeing, I have no space for those things in my life.
I have started with a morning routine because that was my most challenging time to be organized, and I feel as though it truly sets you up for creating a great day that gets better and better. I’ve also made an evening routine, however it’s not as specific. I know I would like to make time to do at least one restful thing to transition me from a day at work to coming home. This is usually yoga, or a meditation, or if I’m lucky both. It can also be a bath, a shorter stretching and breathing routine, or reading or writing. Unwinding is a very important part of my day, for my chronic pain and fatigue as well as for my mental state, taking ten minutes for just myself has made the difference between me becoming very dangerously ill to me being able to cope. How crazy it is to think that I use to go for days without giving myself even ten damn minutes? You will never regret putting off dinner, cleaning, whatever the task may be for ten minutes. Just do it.
The last part of my daily routine will be my bedtime routine, which is generally after I’ve eaten dinner and tidied up I like to watch a show or two and then brew some sleepy time tea while I wash my face and brush my teeth. Justin and I love drinking sleepy time tea before bed, it truly makes a difference as if our brains and bodies know this means it’s time to start relaxing and preparing for dreamland. And that is what routines can do for us, they can give us a soft security that is comforting. I’m not trying to plan out every minute of every day, of course there has to be flexibility. Life isn’t predictable, and I’m happy that it isn’t, but you can put yourself in control of how you’re feeling and how you react to life’s unpredictability by giving yourself some structure and stability that works for you.
I’m giving myself time to settle into this new routine, I would love to go all month to truly test how I feel and form these good habits. I have just started this week with the waking up at 7am, and tomorrow will be a true test, Sunday’s are my sleepiest of days 🙂