Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Self-Care Lead Daily Schedule.

Going into this school year, I was so determined to have my *#!$ together.

I mean I really wanted to.

I wanted to always know where things were, always be on time, always have my house in visitor-ready condition, always be caught up on dishes and laundry, and never forget a thing.

I sat down and mapped out this ridiculous schedule on my google calendar. Even as I sat here coming up with this system that made perfect sense I kept thinking, "this will last 2 days."

I was trying anyway - determined to prove myself wrong!

But I failed.

Day 3 of the school year, I deleted all of the events on my calendar.

It bothered me that I couldn't do things in a productive way, even when I really-really wanted to. What it boiled down to, though, is that in the moment - whatever I had planned didn't necessarily feel good. Some other project would pull my focus - in a "can't ignore it" kind of way, and I'd do that instead. Which would feel good, mostly, except for that little bit of guilt for shirking whatever I had originally planned to do with that time.

So I sat down with my coffee one morning and scribbled out the kind of day that made sense to my rebel heart. One that would be lead by love, intuition, inspiration, and, well, my heart.

I came up with an ideal day - a day of loosely sketched routines, full of balance and positivity and high vibey goodness. Being able to carry this schedule out from day-to-day is a struggle because of my fluctuating schedule (something that often irks me when trying to make a plan and stick to it), but on my free flowing days, this is my ideal. Maybe it is for you, too?

Percolate & Meditate
A peaceful, personal development-filled start to the day including, coffee, gratitude journaling, inspirational/spiritual reading. See more details on this on my post from Monday.

Morning Routine
This is the time I spend getting my boys ready for school - packing lunches, snacks, folders and backpacks, helping them with clothes and shoes and getting them out the door.

Morning Spruce
A quick clean up that sets the tone for a productive day without over doing it or getting burnt out on chores right off the bat. It usually includes starting laundry, loading/unloading the dishwasher, putting away anything left out from packing lunches and serving breakfast, returning all shoes to the shoe rack in the mudroom, and making sure there's nothing left on the kitchen table or living room floor.

Morning Yoga Sequence
Something really simple, usually lead by whatever poses my body feels like doing. Some days, when I'm feeling uninspired, I might use videos or a DVD to get me moving.

Emotional Check-In
I stop and take a few deep breaths and ask myself how I'm feeling. What do I need? What would most improve how I feel? What could I do for myself or get done around the house that would improve my day? Out of my answers, I make a list of the things I might like to do for the rest of the day, in no specific order and with no specific time.

Inspired Action
Using my list from above, I pick an action that feels the most "yes" when I consider it. When it's finished, I check in with myself again, and then do the next right thing. These actions are not necessarily all things to get done - sometimes they include getting a glass of water, eating something, taking a shower, playing music, talking with one of my kids, reading, blogging, or doing something with Matilda Jane.

Do Something For Your Future Self
When I finish a few hours of inspired action, I finish my "to do's" with doing something for my future self. It can be the me of a few hours in the future that I rinse out and set the coffee maker up for, or the me of the following day that I pick out an outfit for. This little step is always a blessing I get to enjoy later on!

If I haven't yet, I feed myself and my kiddos (whoever is home), then enhance the outer me as needed. This might mean taking a shower, getting dressed, doing my hair or makeup, or adding some accessories. This is the most obvious self-care moment of the day, as people most recognize it. I take care of my physical body in a pampering sort of way.

Emotional Check-In #2
I sit back again and look at the rest of the my day. How do I feel about the day so far? What still needs to get done, or what would I really like to get to? What do I need at this point in the day? How can I give out love to my family with the rest of this day that would also make me feel good?

Inspired Action
I take some more inspired action steps based on the above, and I try to focus my efforts more outward rather than inward at this point in the day. Usually my kids are either about to get home or have just gotten home from school, and Matt will be home in a few hours, and the things I do during this time helps make their day feel cared for as well (and thus makes me feel satisfied in caring for them.)

Afternoon Meditation
This is a habit that I've been holding dear to my heart, but haven't had the most success with. There are so many ways I'm pulled in the afternoon, and so little time, that this gets scrapped more often than I'd like to admit. I'm going to work on this! Basically, I shut myself in my room, create a peaceful setting with soft lighting, relaxing scents, maybe some yoga style music, and I spend some time just focusing on my breathing. I may only do that for the entire time, or I may journal desires or concerns or blessings, or I may try to follow a specific mindfulness or manifestation practice.

Afternoon Spruce
The house usually needs some pulling together at this point, and the laundry and dishes need some more attention. So I spend this hour moving those things along, as well as wiping surfaces, vacuuming, and sweeping.

Family Dinner
The time I mentioned for this includes preparing dinner, sitting down to eat together, and cleaning it up together. We always sit down to eat together (something I didn't often do as a kid) and talk to the kids about their day. Sometimes we also go around the table mentioning things we are thankful for, or we play some abstract thinking games. I know this sounds cheesy and maybe too thought out, but I swear, it's not. We just sit down and chat and that's what comes out some nights!

Flexible Evenings
The evenings in our house are different every single day. There are 3-4 weekdays when either Matt or I are out of the house, and the other is sort of solo-parenting for the remainder of the day. On Fridays we do a family movie night. And then kind of anything goes for the remaining days. I try not to plan or structure this time too much, unless it's the holiday season - I usually try to do something quick and fun with the kids, or watch a holiday special before bed.

Sleep Ritual
The kids bedtime routine involves putting on pj's, reading books with a small snack, brushing teeth, filling water cups, and getting tucked in. As I mentioned, depending on the evening, it can be a whole family thing, or just one of us parents running that show. Once they are tucked in, my own routine involves getting into pj's if I haven't already, washing and toning my face, and brushing my teeth. Then no matter what I do with the rest of my evening, I always end it with a little reading before going to sleep. I'd heard of this idea of getting ready for sleep like you would get ready for a date and romanticizing this time from Arianna Huffington, via the Happier podcast. It makes this time of my day feel indulgent.

If I follow this routine well, I end up getting a lot done, and I usually end the day having been in a good mood for the majority of it. I tend to be softer in tone, kinder in responses, and more freely giving with affection and loving actions.

Despite how good all of this feels, my rebel side can sometimes still kick in and say that the order of things is stupid and I should be able to do what I want, when I want. So sometimes I rearrange things a little. But usually, when I let the rebel side win and I don't follow this formula, I end up regretting it later. I feel like I've wasted time and energy, and as though my mood suffers.

I'd love to hear if you enjoy a loose, heart-centered daily routine like this! And I'd especially love to hear if you give this one a try, and what you think!

Remember (especially all you rebels out there!).......

self care letterboard

Keep up with my daily letterboards every day in October!!! See the landing page for my 31 Days challenge this year HERE. 

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