I am a firm believer in night and morning routines. I do not stick to my routines consistently but I am trying to build towards that.
This blog speaks only about what works for me personally; it is a work in progress. Each to their own.
Getting enough rest the night before is key to how my morning starts.
It sets me up for a productive day and in the case of Sunday evenings it sets me up to start the week the way I want to.
My morning routines have evolved and changed over time as my life-situation, job and location change. For me personally it is unrealistic to have a morning routine that stays the same indefinitely. For example I wanted to add a yoga practice to my routine every morning, so something had to be moved around to accommodate that, but it was a conscious decision and I deliberately thought about what changes I needed to put in place to make it happen.
Also I have a lot of things on my list to achieve over the next couple of months (a deadline for my novel among them) and to be honest I’m feeling the pressure. There is only so much time in the evening, especially if I want to keep a consistent bed time. That is very important to me.
Some additional items may have to be incorporated into my morning routine which may force me to drop some other items. That’s just the way it is.
The point I am making is that it’s ok for routines to change and evolve with your lifestyle.
Yuval Noah Harari stated that consistency is the playground of dull minds.
This is a statement that holds true in life and I think it is important to consider. Spontaneity is the spice of life, but I don’t think this applies to morning and evening routines. At least not in my case. I need the discipline and consistency at the start and end of the each day.
Routine, in my opinion, is the key to discipline. Discipline is the key to achievement. Achievement is a stepping stone towards happiness.
I like to start my day early. The ideal morning (weekdays) starts at 4:45. This ties directly back to the point of this blog. There is no way I would get up at 4:45 if I am not winding down by 9pm the night before.
That doesn’t necessarily mean going to sleep at 9. Winding down means no screens, low level soft lights only and reading until I’m tired enough to go to sleep. I also like to meditate for 5 minutes to get into a relaxed mindset. I usually lie down in the ground with a bolster between my shoulders.
Also in summer I found it really nice to leave the lights off and just read until it was dark enough that I could read no more. I didn’t do this very often but it was great for a break.
The lack of screen time before bed is the most important thing for me. Screens are a curse and I spend far too much time on them, but not after 9 (earlier when I can) and they do not come into the bedroom with me.
Going back to the mornings, as I said I like to get up at 4:45.
I leave my phone in the living room so it forces me to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Getting out of bed is half the battle. Also I don’t use regular alarm bells or chimes, I like natural sounds like bird songs.
Alarm clocks are available that gradually light up the room, simulating sunlight. I would like to try them out but haven’t yet. If I do I’ll make a post on it. My phone is in flight mode from the night before so I am not distracted by or tempted to check incoming alerts.
I start with fifty min to an hour of yoga followed by breakfast (outside on the rooftop in summer – click here for Theresa’s recent blog). This is followed by a few small tasks (wash dishes, shower, journal etc) then 20 min meditation.
When I’m stretched to my limits and my routine isn’t working for me I’ll cut the meditation to ten minutes but I get the best out of meditation after the ten minute mark.
This takes me the guts of two to two and a half hours, but I like to take my time and not rush with anything. Years ago I used to get up at eight o’clock and leave the house at 8:20. I was just setting myself up for a stressful day by rushing around in the morning. Now, my aim is to start slow, like a cold blooded lizard, and warm myself up to the day. Ease into it.
So at the moment my schedule is all over the place and I have not been sticking to my routines. It has shown clearly in my state of mind as I’m highly stressed.
It’s very important for me to stick to a routine when things get tough. To keep consistent items in place, especially meditation. Beginning today, I intend to get back to my routine. Yes, it may change and evolve over the weeks, but if it does it will be thought out and deliberate.
I will write a follow up blog in one month to let you know how it goes and let you know if it has helped my stress levels and state of mind.