Life can be unpredictable, that's why I developed morning and evening self-care routines that help me stay grounded amidst the occasional chaos.
I made sure it was a routine I could do while traveling to most locations, because it's important to keep some regimen even when you are away.
1. Wake up at 6am
It's important to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. I find that 6am is my ideal wake up time. It gives me enough time to do the rest of my self-care before I need to be anywhere. I don't always make it out of bed at this time, but my goal is to get as close to it as possible.
2. Meditate for 5-30 minutes
Immediately after waking up (and feeding my dog), I sit in my meditation space and meditate. I currently meditate for about ten minutes and I'm working up to thirty.
After I meditate I read my daily affirmations. I save a list of them on my phone in Google Keep. They are little reminders of where my headspace should be every day even if I get off track. Here is a sample of my affirmations:
"I am present with a generous spirit."
"I am in agreement with life and resist nothing."
"I keep my power for myself and in turn I am a powerhouse for good in this world."
"My body is in balance. I am strong, healthy, and flexible."
4. Yoga poses
I start with three cat/cow poses and then do three half sun salutations. This gets my spine warmed up and the blood flowing. Since I've started doing this every morning I'm now able to (barely) touch my toes, which is a long way from where I was a couple of years ago. It's a testament to how small changes over time can make a big difference.
5. Essential Oils
After I get ready I put a mix of 1 drop of this peppermint oil and 1 drop of this lavender oil on my temples, forehead, and behind my ears. This wakes me up and gets rid of the morning fogginess. Then, I use a product called Tummy Rub by Rocky Mountain Oils, a drop or two on my stomach, liver area, and sternum to help with digestion throughout the day.
When I'm ready for the day I prepare a healthy breakfast. May people skip breakfast, but because I need to take my morning pills I need at least a little something in my stomach. Most days I have my Nutrition-Packed Go-To Every Day Smoothie and a scrambled egg.
After that I'm ready to start my day.
1. Lay out my clothes for the next day
Before I get ready to turn in I always choose my outfit for the next day. It helps me visualize what I'll be doing throughout the day and saves me time in the morning. If I'm planning to go to a yoga class, I lay those clothes out, too, so I won't have any excuses when the time comes to go.
2. Dry brush
Right before I get into my Epsom salt bath (see #3) I dry brush to wake up my lymphatic system. I used to do it in the morning, which is the ideal time to do it, but I find I have more time to do it as part of my evening routine. Here is a an article on the technique: A Step-By-Step Guide to Dry Skin Brushing.
3. Epsom salt bath
Then, I take a 20-30 minute Epsom salt bath. I turn on my playlist of inspirational songs and relax away the stressors of the day. This helps with muscle aches and helps me fall asleep easier.
4. Essential oils
At night, I do the same essential oil routine that I do in the morning. The peppermint oil helps with any lingering evening headaches, the lavender is calming to prepare for sleep, and the tummy rub makes sure I’m digesting while I sleep.
5. Gratitude journal
When I get into bed I write in my gratitude journal. I start with writing “Dear Universal Energy, Today I am grateful for…” and I list 5-10 things that went right for me in the day. Then, I write down the name or names of those who are suffering and ask the universe to be with and around them. This practice helps me stay mindful of my blessings.
The final thing I do every night is read. It helps shut down my busy mind, so I can fall asleep. I usually read a page or two from the current month's O, The Oprah Magazine, which I read cover to cover every month, and then turn to whatever book I’m reading until my eyes get droopy.
To understand the importance of routine is to also understand the importance of doing things that aren't routine. Because I do these small things every morning and evening it keeps me grounded to be more open-minded and adventurous during the day. Success and joy in life comes from a beautiful balance between routine and adaptability to change.
"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
I'm Kerry and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.