Last updated on 13/08/2021
I’ve spent my whole life resisting doing anything anyone tells me I ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do (I’m an Eve) BUT, structure, routine and systems have their place.
When it comes to self care, the more we can make it habitual, the more effortless it becomes and the better off we are.
We humans have so many daily choices, in some ways, the forced simplicity of lockdown has been a relief for some people.
A 2013 study from Warwick University found that the more choices people had, the more risky their decisions In our own lives, the more we can automate and systemise the everyday – in a supportive rather than restrictive way – the more likely we are to make healthy choices around nutrition, exercise and anything else that crops up.
President Obama famously minimised decision fatigue by limiting his work wardrobe to blue or grey suits so mornings didn’t involve additional ‘What to wear’ choices.
What can you ‘routinise’ in your own life?
You might recoil in horror at the idea of limiting wardrobe choices and that’s FINE. This isn’t about putting ourselves into little boxes but systemising as much as possible so we have more ENERGY for the choices that matter more to us.
I’m beginning to reap the benefits of an actual bedtime for the first time in my adult life (even though I’m struggling with the earlier nights, it’s a massive improvement and I have more energy during the day).
There’s something reassuring about allowing my mammalian body to reconnect with more ‘normal’ routines. Thinking of myself as a dog, cat or other mammal helps me get over the residual resistance. They benefit from routines and so do we.
Do you have a regular bedtime?
Waking up time?
Regular meal and snack times help us keep our blood sugars balanced and that can have a positive impact in terms of reducing cravings, too.
How about daily exercise?
What do you want to do more of?
When – ideal world – do you want to do it?
How often? Daily? Weekly?
How can you create a spectrum so you can honour your intention to exercise (or whatever else) each day while also being realistic on lower energy / high pain etc days? On such days, Child Pose, Tree OR Cat/Cow means I’m still doing my daily yoga practice but in a nourishing sustainable way. If you want to create a daily yoga practice and don’t always have the time or energy for a full sequence, simply pick your favourite and start there.
If you’re running, cycling or walking, how might you find alternative routes for different energy levels, time and moods?
How might you make the activity itself a routine while giving yourself enough space and freedom within to feel good about it every day?
I only started meditating every day when I made it a First Thing in the Morning thing. The immediate benefits kept me going and I’ve not missed a day since March 2013.
If you WANT to add meditation to your daily routine, when feels like a good time for YOU? How can you make it as easy as possible for yourself?
What about time with loved ones? Whether online or, as things open up, in person? How can you prioritise this essential time with the people you love and have fun with? Regular routines are easier to maintain than ad hoc bookings.
How about WHAT you eat? How might you make these choices easier for yourself? Batch cooking? Menu planning?
What about where you put things? How might you organise your home and workspaces so they make life EASIER for you? So you don’t have to keep wondering where _____ is and instead grab it and go?
What else is springing to mind for your life right now?
None of this needs to be set in stone
You’re simply giving yourself a solid framework so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, mentally, each time you ponder every day events.
You get to notice: what works for you? What gives you more energy and feels expansive? What feels limiting? How might you tweak your self care systems so they’re more supportive and nourishing?
Would you like more support?
The Feel Better Every Day online membership programme (with weekly live self care coaching calls), monthly Moon Mná Women’s Celtic Circles and book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing offer different levels as well as all the free self care tools and resources you can Help Yourself to on this site.
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