Date: 30 April 2018
Topic: Self Care Challenge – Routines & Habits
Author: Veronica from seefoodplay.com
With my full-time and increasingly demanding career on the one hand, and my blogging & creative pursuits on the other, I often find myself feeling frustrated and wishing there was more time in the day/week/month (year!!) to get more stuff done.
When I’m spending time working on my photography or blog, I feel like I’m somehow neglecting my ‘real job’ by not spending all of my time at work or on my BlackBerry. When I’m working too much, or traveling too often for work, all that creative energy feels stifled, and I find myself longing for a day spent writing, drawing, or taking photos. So finding that balance between my job and my creative pursuits has been a challenge, especially over the past few weeks, now that I’ve changed roles at work, and have made the personal decision to take my blogging more seriously.
Whenever I have too much on, my brain tends to go into a mini meltdown and I’m totally unable to be productive on anything! I can easily go from zero to ohmygoshimfreakingout in about ten seconds, if an unexpected project lands on my desk, or if I start getting overwhelmed with my to-do list.
I might be a natural worrier, but I’m also a natural planner. Never one to be in the freak-out phase for too long, I have recently implemented a few routines and habits to keep freak-out Veronica at bay.
The following routines & habits have helped me to calm my inner dialog, relax, and overall become much more productive, both personally and professionally:
- Daily meditation
- Creating a morning/evening routine – and sticking to it
- Bullet journaling
Meditating daily really is a no brainer, and everyone should consider giving it a try! I’ve always thought meditation was a bit too new-agey for me, so I never gave it much thought. I also didn’t really see myself meditating for hours on end, sitting cross-legged on my floor. But then I came across a couple of meditation apps (Headspace is a great example) and realized that it’s not what I had imagined… at all. Meditation has helped me to calm the frenzy in my brain, when I’m making a gazillion mental lists, worrying about an important deadline, thinking about so-and-so that I need to call, and wondering if I have food to make dinner tonight. Simply put, meditation helps to calm the noise, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. After each daily session (guided, in my case, because I use the Headspace app), I feel refreshed and centered. Before I started meditating, I never realized just how little my mind truly feels calm and relaxed. Now, it’s my daily habit that I can’t go without!
The next important life change I have made is to have morning and evening routines, and to stick to them. Now, I’m not saying I never get out of my routine, but when I do, I can tell: I feel less grounded, less in control, and it shows. My routines can be as simple or as detailed as I want, and for me they usually look something like this:
- Wake up around 5.30am & meditate for 1-2 minutes (yes, it really can be that short!)
- Mentally prioritize what I will work on for the day
- Drink a big glass of water
- 30 minutes of yoga
- Get ready for work – start my day
- Without fail, get home and change into comfy clothes!
- Tidy up my apartment
- Cook dinner
- Prep clothes for the next day
- Journal or other creative outlet
- Cup of herbal tea
- Meditation (usually 5 minutes, or until I fall asleep – whichever happens first!)
Regardless of how I manage a morning/evening routine into my schedule, the most important benefit that I get from them is structure. I feel prepared to tackle my day, and less like I’m starting off without a clear focus. Making sure I take time for mental and physical health is an important part of my daily routine, not just because I feel better for it, but because these are also opportunities to focus on just me. Self-care and self-love are often the lowest items on our to-do list, but building them into a daily routine guarantees (read: forces) that you take some time out for yourself!
Last but not least, the daily habit that has probably helped me the most has been my bullet journal. Structure and focus are definitely a common theme for all of my routines and habits, and my bullet journal is what pulls it all together. I kept seeing posts on blogs talking about how amazing bullet journaling is, but I always thought you had to be mega creative to start one. After all, having a bunch of blank pages scribbled with my messy handwriting felt like it’d stress me out more than anything. But then I saw one of my favorite Youtubers doing a “plan with me” video and I was surprised to see that her journal wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t filled with amazing artsy doodles. It was a reflection of her though, and just like that, I found myself buying a journal on Amazon and jumping right in. I haven’t looked back since!
I’ve been proudly paperless for years, but my bullet journal always has its spot in my handbag now. I use my BuJo for pretty much everything, which is what makes it so powerful. It’s my weekly & monthly (and yearly!) planner, it’s my to-do list, it’s my brainstorming & idea spot, it’s my habit and mood tracker, my routine details, my important contacts list, and possibly most importantly of all: my creative outlet. While a BuJo doesn’t need to be perfect, I’ve found that it’s been a fun challenge to improve my handwriting, try out hand lettering (it turns out, with a little practice, it can be learned in a few weeks!), and I’ve even started doing simple drawings. When I am traveling for work by plane or train (which is more often that not), I grab my bullet journal and work on upcoming weekly spreads, or I doodle, or I practice my lettering…the possibilities are endless.
My routines and habits are what allow me to just simmer down a bit, re-center and re-focus, and to make sure that my work life vs creative balance isn’t too out of whack, by working on things like the bullet journal that allow me to do both.
The key for me with meditation, routines and bullet journaling has been to stay flexible. They shouldn’t become yet another burden on your to-do list, so I try to keep my expectations in check: it’s important to be consistent, but I never beat myself up if I miss a day (or five…). Life happens, things come up. I just always know that they’re there for me when life settles down, and I can always pick back up right where I left off.
If you’re looking to incorporate some new routines and habits into your life, have a think about what you’d like to focus more of your energy on. I bet you won’t have any trouble coming up with something, so use that as a starting point to figure out what types of routines and habits might work for you!