- October 30, 2020
Can you imagine if scientists came up with a way to turn stress into energy? We could stop global warming in its tracks tomorrow. Stress finds us in bed in the morning and does not leave until we finally fall asleep. It is not always bad, not always chronic but the wear and tear of it gets to us all. Stress blooms in situations that we cannot control – like being stuck in traffic or knowing that you will not make enough to be able to pay all your bills. So, the way to combat stress and alleviate all its nasty and serious effects on our health is by controlling the parts of our lives that we can. Specifically taking back the parts of your day that you can control with consistent adherence to a daily routine.
The morning routine
A good morning routine is all about setting yourself up for the best possible day. Whether you are a student, a CEO or a fulltime parent, mornings determine what your days are going to look like. They also come with a time constraint so you need to carve out the time to do what you need to and have it be helpful and meaningful at the same time.
There is no need to jump out of bed and hit the ground running. This does not mean that you should hit the snooze button or lie in that half-awake state scrolling through Twitter with one eye open. Taking the time to work-out, make a good breakfast and caring for your plants can be the bedrock of your daily routine.
Tip: Instead of spending 45 minutes knocking out replies in your inbox, take the time to think about your biggest/most complicated problem of the day. This may be a long-term project at work that if successful will bump you to the top of the list for promotions. It could be a term paper or a new business proposal that you cannot quite crack. Mornings come with the gifts of a rested mind and a new day, make the most of them.
The night routine
Evening routines offer a chance to wind down, analyse the day that you have had, plan and then let it all go. A good night routine allows you to power down in stages. Thankfully, most of us can find a couple of hours at night to do this.
When most of us get home, we drop whatever is in our hands as close to the door as possible. In 2020, we take off our masks and then wash our hands. After that, we turn the TV on and it remains on for the rest of the night. If you were very hungry, you’ll quickly take care of food and then watch TV until it is time to go to sleep. All the while peeking at your phone every few minutes just to make sure you are not missing anything. The pull of this easy routine is irresistible. After a hard day’s work, all you want to do is just turn off the brain and relax.
However, this cycle turns your home into a place of mindless laying-about. Why settle for this when you could come home to a sanctuary instead?
Instead of the automatic daily routine of heading straight for the TV, put on a playlist you love. Change clothes or grab a shower and pour yourself a drink of anything from water to scotch. If you like to cook, you can keep a few go-to recipes for dinner and make whatever excites you then. Home-cooked food is more nutritious and (usually) tastes better anyway. Perhaps you can squeeze in a half-hour for meditation or exercise which will ensure a restful night as well.
No screen time within an hour of going to bed will not only help you sleep but it will give you an hour to absorb a single stream of information without distractions. If it is possible, do not bring any devices to bed. Hook up the podcast or stereo as needed and set it to go off when it is time to sleep. You could even go old school and read a book made of paper.
If you are wary of the ‘self-care’ craze with regard to creating a daily routine, you are right to be. The excessive pampering and the growing multi-billion-dollar industry around it seem to go against the entire idea of self-care. However, your morning and night routine are entirely up to you as long as they reduce your stress levels throughout the day. Start with a routine for the time of day that’s easiest for you. Keep it up for a week and see if it does make things better.
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February 4, 2021