During Lockdown rhythms and routines are especially important for our mental health.
I purposefully wrote rhythms before routines 😊
What is your first reaction when you hear the word, ‘routine’?
Routine helps us form #soothingrhythms. Brings calm to chaos and leaves room to enjoy spontaneity.
Routine gives helpful structure, safe boundaries and positive productivity. When we have routine we eat better, we have more energy, sleep better and reduce our stress. It gives us time for the things that matter.
Instead of feeling like we’re in chaos, winging it, grabbing rubbish to eat on the go, blood sugar levels and hormones playing havoc with our emotions and coping strategies, not knowing if we’re coming or going, feeling we don’t have time to exercise, cook, have time to relax, have fun with the kids, half finishing tasks and feeling like everything is a rush, overwhelming and getting stressed out. We can’t think straight, can’t sleep properly, feel exhausted and so it goes on.
Routines will be different for each person and change with different seasons of life. We’ll have our moments when it all goes out the window and we have to start again.
So this January my challenge to you is to take out 30 min in quiet, whether that is before the kids get up in the morning, when you climb into bed, mid day, with partner in charge of the kids. or while feeding your baby, or in baby and toddlers nap time. Whenever you can. Even if it means popping the kids in front of their favourite show for half an hour! It’s important because you will be able to cope so much better in the long run with life and feel more energized when you give yourself that space.
Write a current routine your #family or personal life naturally flows in now, jot down things that do sort of happen the same time each day anyway and then write out a routine that you would like and realistic changes you can make to set it in place. Share this with your partner so you are both on the same page. Most importantly you need to have a set bedtime and set wake up time, everything else fits into this framework.
(you can read about it in my blog post: https://www.pregnancyandbeyondcheshire.co.uk/post/sleep-deprived-mum )
So for me I know that I need head space in quiet first thing in the morning to successfully start my day. So I set my alarm for 6 am, I have a natural sunlight alarm, best investment ever. You can get them for £25 and up.(to start with this feels lie torture but trust me it works and I have more energy as a result, persevere). I have a hot water and lemon drink, read my Bible, do 15 to 20 min exercise, mobilising my body and then I’m ready to start breakfast and see to the kids. You might give this time to just sit in quiet, read a book. My bed time is 9.30 pm and I stick to it because if I don’t the knock on effect on the next day is rubbish.
My challenge this year is #mealplanning. I haven’t always been a fan. Have meals that tend to be our go to, do the shopping accordingly and then just cook whatever each day. BUT cooking now stresses me out with working and it’s difficult to get wholesome, enjoyable meals that the kids will also eat so things get a bit stale. I need one less thing to have to think about with working now and my brain buzzing with so much. So I’m starting meal planning 😊. A necessary routine to enjoy wholesome meals again and #reducestress.
Kids are so much happier, better behaved and more settled when they have routine and boundaries and I think the same applies for us! It creates a soothing rhythm to life.
Especially during #lockdown, those #routines are essential to our #mentalwellbeing and our families. If it’s a tough day where you don’t have the headspace just change the routine for that day, but get up, get dressed, start your day and have loose plans, such as playing a game, reading a book, go for a walk and stick to your set bedtime too. You’ll feel better for it.