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Why We Need Routine Right Now

anxiety routine steps Apr 22, 2020

Right now our daily routines have been thrown off. Whether you are working now or not, our lives are not the same as they were a month ago. Every single person on the planet has been affected in some way. 2020 will be a year we all remember.

One thing that is really important when our world has been turned upside down is to build routine into our daily lives. Look after ourselves, and be kind to ourselves. Routine is so important. As Will Durant writes in The Story of Philosophy: “We are what we repeatedly do.”

According to research, up to 40% of our daily actions are powered by habits—the unconscious actions and routines we’ve developed over time. But, what happens when our routine and habits get turned around? We panic, we slip into depression, our anxiety goes up, we feel exhausted and unsettled. Our lives may not feel they are our own and we have no idea what is coming next. We may lash out, either at others or ourselves. We may retreat within and not even do the things we love.

Routine and its counterpart ritual are very important to keep us on track as we navigate this world. What is ritual? Ritual (according to Merriam-Webster) is an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.  So our morning routine of getting up at a certain time, putting on the coffee pot and jumping in the shower is mixed with the ritual of how we do what we do. 

Recently for me, the alarm goes off, I turn it off, pick up my phone, scroll through my email until the last minute (15 minutes til my 8:30 call) and I jump out of bed, put the kettle on to boil. Into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth. Come out, make my coffee, and grab my phone and run into the office and sit down at 8:29 and hit the call button. That is my ritual embedded in my routine.

Now, for me that is not the healthiest way to start my day. I have always been a morning person and I love getting up early so I can meditate, journal and start my day in a calm way. I have really noticed that even though I have a routine of sorts that it is not one that feeds my soul.

So, what could I do differently and starting today am doing differently?

My new routine consists of getting up at 6:30, jumping in the shower (every second day as I cannot wash my hair every day or I will have a fuzz ball). Make my coffee, pour my water. Set up my green screen behind my computer and join a group of lovely ladies for meditation, journaling and discussion. After which I will join my 8:30 call and get my work day going.

Why is routine, especially a morning one, so important? 

1. You will get more things done.
Getting up with no plan can derail the whole day from the start. You will accomplish more if you have a routine because you will know that you have set aside time for everything you need to do. 

2. It keeps you organized.
Organization is key to keeping stress levels low and efficiency levels high. Waking up at no specific time without any plan is a great way to make yourself grumpy and disorganized all day. Having a set time to wake up, eat breakfast, shower, and so on keeps you on track and lowers stress levels for everyone in your house.

3. You will feel more in control.
Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. People don't feel like they have enough control over their lives, and this makes them unhappy. Simply starting a morning routine, however, can make a huge difference. Feeling that you are in control of something -- even a small thing, like the time you wake up or eat breakfast -- can go a long way toward making you feel more empowered and in control.

So what is the best way to start a morning routine?

1. Schedule.
According to experts, it is best to wake up at the same time every day, so your body gets used to the habit. Set your alarm for a time that will give you enough sleep, but also give you enough time to do the rest of the things you need to do. Then -- and this is the hardest part for some folks -- don't press the snooze button!

2. Prioritize.
There are some things that are more important in the morning than others. Eating breakfast, for example, is more important than catching up on the latest Facebook posts, so schedule time for breakfast and leave the scrolling for later, when you have more time. Write down the most important things you need to get done each morning, and do those first. Then, if you have some extra time, you can do the not-so-important (but still fun) things like surfing the internet.

3. Follow through.
The whole point of a morning routine is to alleviate stress, so sticking to it shouldn't stress you out, but you also shouldn't let it be just a guideline. A plan is not a plan if you don't really follow it. It is important to stick with your morning routine after you determine it. You might not always feel like waking up at 7:00 a.m., but you should do it anyway, especially if you got enough sleep but just feel sluggish. It may be tough at the beginning, but in the end, the benefits far outweigh the sleepiness you might feel

4. Adjust as needed.
Not every plan works out perfectly. You might come up with a morning routine, only to find that it doesn't give you enough time to get everything done, or that it just doesn't work for you and your schedule. If this happens, just adjust your ideas and come up with a new, better morning routine. You can always alter your routines, and it might take some time to find one that works for you. Feel free to experiment until you find the best way to do things.

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon here and there or something goes wrong and you can’t maintain today's routine. Just start again tomorrow.. Be kind to yourself, and keep trying to stay on track by looking after yourself in others ways. Going to bed early enough to get the proper sleep is one super important way.

For my morning routine, I personally am a huge fan of meditation and morning pages (a form of journaling) I had fallen off track and today started back with a group to join me. If you would like to join us you can do so here. We would love to have you and we will be meeting weekdays between now and May 15, 2020. Weekends I will provide content even though we won’t be meeting so you can stay on track with the creation of your new routine. Would love to see you there. 

Have an Amazingly Creative Day,
Larissa 

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