OK, don’t worry, I’m not going to get all Gwyneth on you and tell you to get up at 4am to write a novel or learn Japanese. I was chatting to a friend of mine this morning about how we’re managing our new realities. I mentioned what I’m trying to do as a morning routine and she found it quite helpful. Maybe you will too, so here you go…
I rarely feel good about myself, even at the best of times, and the way I manage that is to be constantly trying to achieve. ‘Type A’ is a name that people use for my kind of personality. I’m guessing a lot of you are also Type A. Right now, I feel I’m achieving nothing. In fact, I feel like a constant failure because I’ve been thrust back into the role of domestic servitude to a bunch of ingrates and I’m not very good at it. I hate it. It’s partly why I started a business, to get away from it! If my kids learn anything over the next few months, it’ll be how to swear and shout a lot.
I also have an intense need for routine, control and order. All have been blown out the water by this situation. Initially the removal of the school run and commitment to office hours was a liberation from alarm clocks and early starts. But the novelty wore off on about day 2. It’s only fun when it’s a treat, like weekends or bank holidays.
Do a bunch of things that are always on your ‘should’ list. Not laundry or rubbish domestic stuff. Things like yoga, or strength training, or journaling or meditation.
I know that if I fester in bed, dozing and putting stuff off, I feel a lot worse. I feel physically groggy and mentally on the back foot for the rest of the day. It’s understandable to want to put off dealing with three bickering children, endless food prep, a barking dog, home schooling and being the house cheerleader while trying to work. All with the dark, anxious backdrop of the bloody virus and the chaos and misery it heaps daily on the world. Being asleep is welcome relief from our minds’ incessant chatter. Especially if you also happen to have a pleasant dream about Tom Hardy.
There are lots of more scholarly and qualified people who will tell you that you should go to bed and get up at the same time every day. They’ll give you all the reasons why this is good for you. But you don’t need to read all of that.
Do an experiment. Fester in bed one day, even for a short while, and make a note of how you feel.
The next day, go to bed at a reasonable time and get up a couple of hours earlier than normal. Do a bunch of things that are always on your ‘should’ list. Not laundry or rubbish domestic stuff. Things like yoga, or strength training, or journaling or meditation. Then compare how you feel for the rest of the day versus the day you had a lie in.
This is the morning routine I’m trying very hard to maintain (on some days I may do a bit less if I’ve had an awful night sleep for example) but this is what I aim for and, when I do it, I feel like the rest of the day may be pants but I’ll have some feel-good successes in the bank to fall back on when the inner-critic self-loather starts yakking in my ear.
- 6:30 am – get up and brush teeth.
- 6:35am – 30 day yoga with Adrienne lesson on YouTube. I just do it in my pjs. Or at the very least, I do 4 sun salutations. I’m a total beginner by the way. The only bit I’m good at is where you lie on your back and shut your eyes. I’m really stiff and tight plus I don’t breathe, so yoga has been on my ‘should’ list for years.
- 7am – shower, dress, full make up, hair. Make bed. Tidy room.
- 7:30am – I sit on a chair in my bedroom and do 4 cycles of the Andrew Weil 4-7-8 breath.
- 7:31am – I write a short journal where I dump all the crazy things going around my head. I also write down 3 things I’m grateful for and 3 goals for the day. I do this in Word on my laptop and have password protected it. My stepmother read my journal when I was a kid and it scarred me for life. I wasn’t overly flattering about her...
- 7:40am - meditation lesson using Waking Up by Sam Harris. The only meditation app I like, it’s excellent.
- 7:50am – go downstairs, tickle the dog’s tummy, make weak black coffee and drink lots of water. If it’s not too cold, I put a coat and hat on and sit in the garden to drink coffee and listen to birds. I also try to read one chapter of Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans.
- 8ish– sit down at my desk to do some work quietly before I try to drag the kids out of bed at 9.
Important to add! I do not listen to, read or watch the news at all. I also don’t check social media until much later. Starting your day with doom and gloom is a very bad idea. If there’s something major on the news, someone will tell you about it during the day. I’m contemplating deleting social media entirely. I gave up Facebook years ago as it’s a cesspit but I do like the pretty pictures on Instagram and as a politics junkie, Twitter has been my dreadful vice for years.
Anyway, I hope some of you find this useful. Liv, our gorgeous Social Media and Content Manager keeps asking me to write more for our blog. Obviously I don’t think anyone would be interested in what I have to say, but I have time to fill since having to cancel all our exciting business plans for the moment. So, if there’s anything you’d like me to write about – please get in touch and let us know! Stay well of course and stay sane x