You know that saying how we’re “creatures of habit.” Yeah, there’s a reason why that’s a thing. We run on routines and habits. I run on routines and habits.
When my routines and habits went missing like a shelf-full of toilet paper, I went to work on creating a new, stay-at-home daily routine.
1. make a list of tasks
First, I started by making a list of things that I wanted to do each day. For this list, I skipped over things like brush teeth, eat meals, shower, etc. Those were items that I’d naturally include in my day. I focused more on the things that required a little bit more self-discipline or self-control. Things that would keep me healthy, both physically and mentally.
here is what i came up with:
limit coffee to 2 cups per day.
I chose to limit caffeine for the sake of my sympathetic nervous system, as well as increasing my chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Or at least some sleep.
go outside throughout the day + avoid sitting at my desk for eight hours straight.
This I envisioned as a mid-morning 10-20 minute walk with Orion.
Also, I try to stand up and take breaks throughout the day (aka don’t ignore my Apple watch notification when it tells me to stand up).
work out (on land, because no pool access).
This I planned for 30-60 minutes of walking and/or running. I’ve been doing a lot more running the past few weeks, and I’m starting to notice a difference in how I feel while running. That’s been a nice change.
Also, I’ve started doing strength workouts with Paul at the playground across the street. I ordered a set of StretchCordz off eBay and I’ve been bringing back dryland exercises that I haven’t done since I was in Middle School.
I’ve been going through the book, 101 Essays that Will Change the Way You Think. I read at least one of the essays and then journal afterwards. And then, I do about 10 minutes of free journaling – whatever thoughts come to mind.
continue my personal writing projects.
I write five to six blog posts every day for my day job. It’s tough to keep writing after a full day of work, so I have to do all of my “non-work” writing early in the morning. Which means that I have to be disciplined enough to wake up earlier. This one is still a work in progress.
drink plenty of water.
Drinking enough water is my worst habit. I know it’s my worst habit, and yet, I still have a horrible time doing anything about it. I’ve tried apps. I’ve tried rewards. I’ve definitely tried not drinking water. That just makes me feel like crap. My target is 10 glasses each day or 3 giant Yeti water bottles.
read 30+ minutes each night.
This one was to encourage me to keep reading while preventing scrolling through my phone before bed.
2. approach the list with intention and flexibility
After creating this initial list, I told myself that my goal wasn’t to follow it to perfection. This list of actions was what I wanted to do most days. But if I had an off day (which I fully expected because things beyond my control are also changing), I wasn’t going to treat it as the ultimate failure and give up on everything altogether. Or if I missed one thing on the list but did everything else, that’d still be a win.
3. plan the day
Once I had my list, I wrote out a daily plan/schedule in my weekly planner journal. I planned out my wake-up time, work schedule, when I’d take breaks, when I’d work out and go for a run, and when I’d start to wind down in the evenings.
I stick to this routine mainly on weekdays. (Although weekdays and weekends seem like they’re beginning to become more similar.) I don’t set the alarm on the weekends, but I still limit my coffee intake to two cups a day. I’m obviously not working my full-time job on the weekends, so I try to spend more time on my writing projects.
So far, the routine (however loose or rigid it may seem) seems to be working. I’m drinking more water than I used to. I’m working out more consistently than before the stay at home restrictions. And I’m finding productive ways to spend my time so that I don’t end up spiraling out of control.
I’ve also found that if I have a run planned, that I’ll go out and get it done rain or shine. Or snow – that happened a few weeks ago. And I’m pretty sure Orion appreciates all the extra exercise. Although, sometimes he seems to prefer his morning naps in the sunny spots of our apartment.
There are still a few more things that I’d like to include in my daily routine. But for now, I think this is about all I can handle. It’s working for me, and I’ll continue to adjust it as needed in the future.
So, how about you? Do you have a daily routine? I’d love to hear how you’ve modified your routine, and what you’ve learned in the process.