I had never been one to stick to or even like routine, preferring to keep with my ‘don’t tell me what to do, make it up as I go’ kind of attitude. And it wasn’t until I had my son that I really, really started to appreciate daily routines and how much they can actually help in simplifying your life.
Prior to my son being born, I worked shift work as an Emergency Paramedic so routine never really came into the equation, I could work 12 hours during the day, then work a few more jobs that night, nothing the next day and then more jobs during the night again. It was all over the place.
When my son was born, he was in NICU for over two months, and daily routines saved my sanity. Having a routine gave me something to control, something I could do and something to hold on to.
Since then, I’ve seen daily routines as ways to organise my days and my intentions and have found that these are the daily routines you need to help simplify your life too.
1 – Morning Routine
Morning routines are the bee’s knees and are probably the most straightforward of all the routines. The thing to remember is, this is your routine – you can make it whatever you want it to be.
Usually, my morning routine starts with a coffee – because… coffee.
Over the years my morning routine has changed significantly, and it continues to change so I can adapt to the needs of myself and of my family.
I’ve started getting up early of a morning so part of my routine now involves time alone (amazing) and then the rest of my routine depends on what day it is – for example, I have a different routine for the days when my son goes to daycare as compared the days he stays home. I also had a very strict routine for the mornings when I was going to work, as opposed to now when I’m on maternity leave.
Your morning routine can be as detailed or as simple as you want. But the idea is that if you know how you’re starting your morning, there’s less stress about getting everything done and less chaos first thing in the morning. It makes a big difference.
2 – Bedtime Routine
We have bedtime routines as kids but somewhere along the way we let these go (more than likely in our teens and twenties when our lives go a little haywire). But… they are so good!
It’s been shown that having a bedtime routine or a ‘pre-sleep’ routine can help you shut off and sleep better. Winner. Things like reading before bed rather than checking Facebook can also help.
There are a few things I highly, highly recommend adding to your bedtime routine (other than the obvious brush your teeth and go to the toilet etc).
These include writing out your to do list for the following day – this has made such a big difference to my productivity. I don’t have to spend time of a morning working out what needs to get done and it means I sleep better because I’m not stressing about the next day’s tasks.
Getting a few things ready for the next day – these are usually things like getting my clothes organised so I’m not spending 20 minutes trying to work out what to wear, backing my sons lunch so I don’t have to rush of a morning and charging all of my devices so I don’t freak out about not having any battery power in my laptop.
3 – Cleaning Routine
While, admittedly, my husband does the majority of the cleaning, we still have a routine that just helps me keep track of what’s been done and what needs to be done. I love knowing that our floors are mopped at least once a week and that our bed sheets are changed regularly. We have Mondays and Thursdays as washing days and Wednesdays are our grocery days.
It also means I’m not always feeling like there’s so much cleaning to be done. I mean, don’t get me wrong, with kids there’s always a mess happening somewhere, but having this routine just keeps it all simplified.
4 – Gratitude Routine
I found gratitude to be more of a chore or task on my to do list rather than something I looked forward to until I made it into a routine. Now it’s so much part of my day that it just happens without me having to think about it – and the less brain power it takes, the more simplified my life feels. Love it.
My gratitude routine isn’t complicated, and I just make it part of my morning routine. As I drink my first coffee of the day, I pay attention to the things I am grateful for. First of all I make note of the three things I am most grateful for right now, and then I spend some time thinking of the things that are happening in my life, both good and stressful, and find what it is about these things that I am grateful for. Being able to find gratitude in stressful situations helps me take on the situation in a far more calm way than if I was to just be in fight or flight mode all the time.
5 – Self Care Routine
By far the most important routine of all. You need to do something every single day that is just for you. Whether it’s as simple as sitting down and drinking your coffee while it’s still hot, taking 30 minutes to get ready so you feel darn awesome about yourself, making time to meditate or exercise or something. Whatever it is, make it into a routine and make sure it becomes part of your day – no matter what!
Looking after yourself first will mean you have the energy and resources to be able to look after others. Running yourself into the ground isn’t going to help anyone, least of all you. (Can you tell we are big on self care here at Project Hot Mess?)