The daily routines and rituals you practice to take care of your mind, body and soul can contribute to the contentment and joy you feel in everything you do.
We know it is well worth our time to integrate self-care into our daily routine, and makes our lives healthier in every way. But our days get so busy so quickly, it seems nearly impossible to give it the time it deserves. Every one of us can use wisdom for creating more consistent self-care routines, and creating more time for ourselves in general.
The key is in harnessing the energy of your time, which is the most precious commodity of all.
If you think about how each day starts, it’s easy to see how time gets away so quickly. The To-Do List starts rolling through our minds before our eyes even open. On most days for most people - there is somewhere to be, traffic to drive in, and a day to plan for by 8am sharp.
There may be dishes unwashed from the night before, laundry to put away, pets, kids, homework, dinner to plan for... whew!
If you want to set the tone for the entire rest of your day, mornings can be the most fruitful place to start. Starting your day off right can help you live a better quality of life all the way around, manifest your goals, and live more intentionally.
The great news is that integrating a solid self-care routine into your mornings doesn't have to cost much or require you to get up in the middle of the night... but it will take some planning and forethought.
If you are someone that tends to be stressed shortly upon waking because there isn’t enough time to get everything done, you’re busy packing lunches, and hunting down missing shoes, etc.. then preparation might be exactly what you need.
The following tips and suggestions will help you get creative with using your morning routine to focus on better self-care. You’ll find that harnessing the fresh energy of morning can go a long way toward guiding and directing the rest of the day.
Having too many decisions to make first thing in the morning is a terrible way to start the day. So is waking up to a mess, or spending the first 45 minutes of your day running around finding notebooks and socks because you don't have time to get things organized.
For parents with small children, it can feel like you're one cup of spilled orange juice from completely losing your marbles!
To begin with, you want to get your brain and body ready for the day. And having a good self-care routine doesn’t actually start in the morning, but the night before.
Try to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in the morning. Not only will this allow you a calm start to the day - but experts suggest that decision fatigue cuts into your patience, burns too many blood pressure points, and can seriously stress your willpower.
For many busy people, the idea of getting up even earlier to engage in self-love seems silly and perhaps a waste of time... "If I truly loved myself, I'd let me sleep longer right?"
However as previously stated, there are things you can do the night before to make your morning routine a bit more gentle, give you some alone time, and even some exercise.
Before bed, load the dishwasher or at least rinse the dirty dishes in the sink. There are few things worse than waking up to dirty dishes!
Encourage your family members to follow your lead and put together the things they'll need for the next day the night before. This may mean clothes, homework, or trade journals. If possible, put some of this stuff in the car the night before, so there's no risk of forgetting anything.
Spilled milk, hangnails and a-holes in traffic who pass on the right are still going to happen. A great self-care routine doesn't mean that the ugly bits of life aren't going to crop up and cause fusses and hassles.
However, by putting yourself first, you can prepare your mind for the messy junk of life that gets in the way of accomplishing what you need to get done.
For example, let's say you hit the snooze bar three times, making yourself late to get in the shower. Your spouse can't find all the pages of the report they were working on last night and your six-year-old needs you to sign a very special form that they may or may not have brought home in their backpack.
You finally get everyone lined up with their reports and permission slips, grab your purse, and find, upon reaching the car, that you've got a flat tire. In your hyper-stressed state, you begin to cry. Child notes this and completely loses it while spouse gets frustrated and grumpy at your tears.
Meditation and self-care will not stop the irritants of life; this is not about creating any form of Nirvana. What a steady habit of self-care will change is YOU... and your ability to handle stress, to solve problems and see them as detours instead of roadblocks.
Will irritations keep showing up in life? Absolutely. Will horrible crap happen to you and the people you love? Sadly, yes!
However, you will have built a new brain path to a quiet, cozy space where you can focus on the people and things you love. The calm that lives in your self-care routine is accessible any time of the day or night; all you have to do is reach inside and bathe in it.
That is, once you build your personal routines.
Keep working on your self-care daily routine, tweaking it as needed. Whether you journal in the morning, enjoy some quiet time with your cup of coffee, or watch the news to get your brain more alert before leaving the house, this can help a lot with the rest of your day.
1. Allen, David. (2015). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Penguin Books, NY.
2. Robbins, Mel. (2017). The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. Savio Republic, U.S.