New Year, New Routines
Before we move out of January 2024, let’s chat a minute about new routines–both how I’m integrating them and some thoughts on new year/new routines in general. I hope the topic isn’t already old in this second half of 2024’s first month.
I’ve jumped feet first into new routines over the past six weeks after going back to almost full-time employment following two years of “retirement,” working on my creative projects, and having much more flexibility during my days. I got used to being the boss of my time.
While I’m feeling positive about my new work situation (I returned to work at the independent school where I’d previously worked for ten years), getting used to a new schedule that isn’t my own for 8+ hours a day has been interesting.
While my change in routines hasn’t necessarily been inspired simply by a new year, the process of figuring it all out and making a commitment to something new is pretty much the same.
These three tips have helped me develop healthy (interpret this: how I want to feel and look, aka self care) routines both over the last two unemployed years and now as I acclimate to a new, less flexible schedule.
Anticipating going back to a regular job with an office schedule put me in the position of evaluating what habits that I’ve built over the past two years I wasn’t willing to let go of. I probably couldn’t jump into including everything, so what was the priority?
I started with my morning routine. It’s something I’ve developed and integrated over time, and it helps me set myself up for the day.
Maintaining this morning practice was my first priority, so I focused on that and let some of my other routines take a back seat (for now).
The morning routine includes:
- a lemon and apple cider vinegar hot drink to start the day (there are some other ingredients and if you’re interested in what those are, simply comment on the post below and I’ll reply),
- meditation and a spiritual reading,
- red light therapy with my red light device,
- my skin care routine,
- morning coffee.
To fit these into my morning and get to the office by 8:00 am, I worked the timing backwards and figured that I need to get up at 5:30 to get it all in plus shower, makeup, and dress. That meant getting things set up the night before so the morning would go smoothly (making my lunch, choosing my outfit, setting up morning drink paraphernalia).
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NIRA At-Home Laser Device
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2. Make a Commitment
You have to make a commitment to yourself to create the routines or habits that are important to you.
At the same time, there’s a way to honor a commitment while letting yourself ease into a new practice or habit. Sometimes I can jump right into a commitment I’ve made to myself without any hesitation. Other times, it’s a conversation that happens over time that leads into the action/new habit. And that’s okay too.
Those internal conversations that you may have with yourself before you get to the action part are progress!
That’s how I’ve approached integrating exercise into my new schedule. I pondered it and thought about it for several weeks. I gave myself some time to acclimate to my new schedule. And now I’ve begun to add in exercise again. It’s different from before the schedule change, but different is just different–not better or worse.
3. Take It Slow
I’ve found the I have the most success and the least stress when I give myself the time and space to build a new routine slowly. I’ve let go of pressuring myself to do it NOW.
Going back to a more structured schedule that I don’t control meant my regular walks weren’t going to happen the same way. I couldn’t decide at 3:00 pm that “now” was a good time for a one hour walk.
In fact, I couldn’t figure out at first how I’d fit in any kind of exercise.
I’ll bet this conversation with myself sounds somewhat familiar:
“I need to exercise, but I don’t have time. I guess I could fit in something after I get home in the evening. But I’m tired at the end of the day, and I need to start on dinner. And it’s been raining too much to go for a midday walk from the office. I don’t know how to include exercise in this schedule (feeling frustrated).”
Rather than put pressure on myself and make myself feel bad about not fitting in exercise, I kept reminding myself that starting new things sometimes takes time. It’s okay to take the time needed.
That’s a big shift from how I used to talk to myself about starting or keeping with a habit or routine.
It’s so much more reasonable and kind to give yourself a little grace. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend who was looking for support. I’ve found that it actually creates a much more motivational and “moving forward” mindset in the long run.
I hope your routines, whether established or new, are ones that support you and help you feel successful. The goal of habits, practices, routines–whatever you prefer to call them–is SELF-CARE. They are gifts you give to yourself.
Set yourself up for success. Prioritize the most important new thing you want to integrate into your life, make a commitment to yourself to do it, and integrate the new practice slowly.
Speaking of self-care, I have a free guide that includes 32 self-care ideas in four different categories of life: physical, social, spiritual, and emotional.
I’d love to expand the suggested self-care ideas, so if you have some to share, send them my way by commenting below.