My boyfriend will be the first to tell you that I’m a big fan of a routine – he’s very familiar with all of mine!
Having an anxious mind, I find comfort in the expectation that I will be doing the same thing at pretty much the same time every day. Before lock down, when I was getting up and out for work, you could literally have set your clock by me because I had my morning routine down to an art!
There’s science to back up just how powerful routines and rituals are for us as well. As I’ve already touched on, they reduce our stress levels and aid our mental health because by doing them we feel more in control. This helps us deal better with change too. (something there is obviously a lot of at the moment)
Having daily rituals in place means that you can be intentional with how you spend your time – you make time for what’s important to you, and more often than not, build up a set of healthy habits in the process.
Way before any one had uttered the words Corona Virus, I was first introduced to the idea of a morning routine through the book called The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. (worth a read if you’re curious on this subject) It suggested that those who got up and were intentional and productive with the first hour of their day, lead more successful lives.
Although I didn’t stick to everything that was suggested in the book, I gave it a go as I was interested to see what the affects would be. The general feeling I’ve had since then is that I have a much more positive day when I’ve taken the time to do a few rituals that are important to me in the morning. What those rituals are and how long I do them for has changed over the years – bending and shaping to fit with my work hours and levels of energy. I’ve added rituals to the end of my day now too.
What’s important to me, will more than likely be different than what’s important to you, but I hope that by sharing what my daily rituals look like at the moment, you’re inspired to incorporate some rituals into your own day. Even taking as little as 15 minutes for yourself to build a set of rituals that brings you calm and replenishes your energy is worth it.
I’m not a morning person, and one of the perks of lock down as a furloughed worker is that I can extend my morning routine. I have been able to include activities that I didn’t have the time for when I was trying to get up and out the door within an hour. To be honest I’ve needed a structure to my mornings during lock down, especially when my mood is lower, as it’s the comfort and familiarity that I need.
The order these come in and the amount of time I spend on them varies slightly depending on my mood and how tired I’m feeling – this series of rituals could take up the majority of the day if I really wanted them to, and sometimes that’s all I achieve, but I always feel better for it.
>> Get up, make a cuppa and have breakfast. I’m one of those people that feels sick if I don’t eat first thing, so I do.
>> Whilst eating breakfast I catch up on the latest posts from bloggers I’m following on Bloglovin. (you can follow me on there too, wink wink) It inspires me to see what my peers are doing.
>> Write in my 6-minute diary 3 things that I’m grateful for, what I plan to do that day, and a positive affirmation. This sets me up in the right mindset for the day, as I’m already setting positive intentions.
>> Write for a least 10 minutes using a prompt from the journal prompts jar that I created. I basically searched online for journal prompts that resonated with me most, wrote them on slips of paper, and put them in a jar. I did this because I had the realisation recently that I’m in my head a lot at the moment, and not writing enough to let the jumbled mess of thoughts in my head all out. I’m finding at the moment that this time writing often provides me with inspiration for my blog posts and Instagram content too.
>> Finish off the last of my cuppa, (and more than likely start on a second) whilst reading. How long I read for and what I read depends on the kind of mood I’m in. Even when I was at my busiest and getting up at 6.30am daily for work, I would always make time for at least 10 minutes of reading in the morning. I’m an avid reader, and it was, and still is, such a comforting feeling to slow down and spend time reading in the morning. At the moment the novel I’m reading is Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes, and personal development wise I’m reading Calm by Fearne Cotton.
>> I find a quiet, comfortable spot in the flat to meditate. How I approach meditation also varies. Through the week I often find that I just concentrate on breathing techniques, whereas on the weekends I’ll ‘treat’ myself to a longer guided meditation. I’m not going to lie, some days it can be a struggle to just focus on my breath as I have so many thoughts floating around in my head, however, I do always feel that little bit better for having done it, even if it’s just for 3 minutes. If you’re interested in meditating, I would recommend searching on YouTube for ones that suit your vibe best – some are more intense than others.
>> Do an at-home work out. Again this can vary depending on my mood, and can be anything from HIIT workouts, (mainly with the Body Coach) to yoga, or just peddling away on our exercise bike. I find that exercising gives me an often much needed energy and mood boost to get me though the rest of the day – I’m a sucker for the endorphin high afterwards.
>> Shower, get dressed, and do my beauty routine whilst listening to a podcast. I used to listen to podcasts on my way to work, but that obviously went out of the window as soon as I became furloughed. Ever since then I’ve been trying to find a point in my day to fit in listening to them, as it’s something I’ve missed. I like to listen to podcasts that challenge my way of thinking and get me into a reflective mindset, such as Happy Place, Deliciously Ella and How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.
The Rest of the Day
Having completed my morning rituals the rest of my day has more fluidity to it. If I’m not feeling too anxious about the amount of people that are around, I’ll go for a walk. More than likely I’ll spend some time working on a project – whether it’s my blog and the social media content that goes with it, or tidying up and cleaning the flat.
They’ll also be some relaxing time thrown in, like more reading, watching an episode or two of a series on Netflix, or, if my boyfriend isn’t working, challenging him to a game of Crash Bandicoot racing.
This is the part of the day that I’ll admit I could benefit from adding more rituals into, especially as I’ve not been sleeping particularly well recently. It’s a work in progress shall we say.
>> I’ve found that whenever I have a bath in the evening, I sleep better, so I’m keen to keep this as something that I do daily during lock down. I think it’s because it signals to my body that it’s time to start winding down, coupled with the fact that even on cooler evenings I feel warm and cosy afterwards. I like to use my time in the bath as another opportunity to read, and I’ll light a candle with a relaxing scent too.
>> Write in my 6 minute diary again – this time I’ll note down my good deed for the day, something I could improve on and the great things that I experienced that day. Reflecting back on my day helps me to find the positive moments – even if they were just little simple things that I enjoyed or that went well.
Do you have rituals as part of your day? Which rituals do you find most beneficial? Share your thoughts in the comments.
To be notified as soon as new posts go live, follow The Yorkshire Bird on Bloglovin