Do you have routines? They are what gets me started each day.

I love systems and processes. Part of my personal systems are routines. I have a few of them. My favorite routine is my morning routine. It has taken me years to create one the I love. When our life was turned upside down due to COVID-19 It gave up my morning routine but quickly realized that if I was going to thrive through this, I needed my morning routine more than ever.

A friend of mine shared the above picture in Facebook post. If you look at it, it is a routine. A daily routine, but a routine. I’ve also seen posts giving you points for doing certain things in a day (taking a shower, making the bed etc.). What I realized when looking at the comments to the post and the scores was that many were in survival mode with no routines. It made me reflect.

When COVID really hit us, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted everyday. I felt like everyday we were were given a new set of challenges that we had to navigate. Everyday was hard. Then I started to have trouble sleeping. This didn’t help my feeling of overwhelm and exhaustion. As a result, my morning routine, my favorite routine, started to suffer.

My morning routine used to start at 5AM but at the end of last summer, I moved it to 6AM. It seemed that 6 was just a better fit for our household. I had been betting up at 6AM regularly and routinely since the fall. I only struggled in early January due to pain and lack of sleep with my gall bladder. But even then I was still getting up I just felt sluggish all day. Since the emergency surgery, I’ve been good. However, suddenly 6AM seemed impossible. The alarm would go off and I would snooze. And then snooze again. and again. I began to loose my routines. I started getting up later and this meant I had to give up or skip my my morning routine. I understand how people moved into survival mode. I understand because I was heading that way too and it was easy. The overwhelming nature of what we were experiencing was draining enough. Draining to the point that everyday stuff was hard. It became easy to drop the routines that seems out of place.

It was when I started to loose it emotionally that I realized that I had to return to my routines. We were at the point that we had to explore laying off some of the team. I was barely holding it together. I remember the day we told them and I broke down in the meeting. That night I attended a group class and broke down again. I had to face the reality that I was not doing well. I wasn’t managing, addressing or even acknowledging my emotions until they were too much. It then hit me that I usually address and acknowledge my feelings during a portion of morning routine.

This is how I moved back to my routines. Regardless of how tired I was, I understood I needed them. I realized that for me, I needed them to keep me stable. I needed them to give me structure. Not everyday is easy. In fact I’m still struggling with sleep and so I’ve have had to make some changes that we didn’t need before. I have to start to wind down earlier and I’ve had to move from a cell phone to an alarm clock. I’ve had to move the alarm clock to the other side of the room to ensure I get up and not use the snooze. The alarm clock also helps me avoid touching my phone for a little longer so I don’t look at email, Facebook and news first thing in the morning. There were things I never had to manage before or at least I could manage with willpower and volition.

What I like is that I feel a little bit more like me again. I’m moving forward with my goals, I’m not losing it it everyday and at least I can acknowledge and address my feelings. I’m also back to working out which means that I eat better and my clothes are getting looser, not tighter.

What this has taught me is that sometimes it is just doing one thing that can get you going (some say this is making the bed). For me it is my mourning routine which I call victory hour. This leads to some exercise and then a shower. This is all I need to get myself going. I then feel like I can tackle the day and I am. Each day, I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger mentally. I still have bad moments but I am able to move myself out of them quicker. I feel like there is hope and that I’ll manage what comes.

Maybe it’s not my routines that do all this for me. Maybe I’m just built like this. But I think that anything I can do to help me be a better me is a great thing. My routines do that for me. I know that to thrive, I need to start my day with a routine. I know that I do better when I start the day with reflection, gratitude, growth and intention setting. Throw in some exercise and meditation and I’m a happy girl. I love feeling like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am in the morning!

Do you have a routine? Did you have a routine? Are you still practicing? I’d love to know how you have been impacted by COVID.

I would love to have a conversation about your journey to your brand. Let’s chat.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

John C. Maxwell