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On Finding Joy in Routine.

I’ve always thrived with a bit of routine. I like knowing that I’m aware of everything I need to get done, that I’m not neglecting my health and my happiness and quite frankly routine is the best way for me to ensure that I fit it all in. A morning routine is something that has always meant a lot to me. Having a morning routine is proven to increase productivity and happiness. It’s personally a priority because I believe that it’s my choice what kind of day I will have that day. Whatever I start the day with will likely bleed into the rest of my day. Days add up to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and years to the rest of your life. If I want to have a well lived life, I think it starts with well lived mornings.

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Let’s rewind a bit to February of 2015. You see,  I started seeing this guy. He was movie star handsome, friendly and joy kind of boiled out of his face when he looked at me. We started spending time together and then we started spending more time together and eventually we were spending every single night together before we got engaged and moved in together.  All the while, my morning routine was slowly left in the dust being overshadowed by the rainbows and sparkly unicorns of new love.

At first it was magic. It was exactly what it needed to be. I was swept quite sincerely off of my feet. But, eventually everyday started to feel a little more difficult. I started to feel weary and tired. I noticed myself complaining more and showing gratitude less. I had less time for the things that made me happy, small things annoyed me more and I was putting all of my attention into getting my to-do list finished.

I’d look at every area of my life and analyze why I wasn’t feeling well and why I always felt like I was fighting for the things that I needed to be happy. Then a series of serendipitous events occurred, my love asked me to make sure I’m doing what I need to do for myself (probably 50 times or so), through working with the lovely and wise Lily Calfee of Ideal Nourishment I started drinking warm lemon water in the morning which added to my energy levels and mood, I also started a meditation practice, and I found myself free writing one day when it poured out of me, “I miss my morning routine.”

All of this is a long winded way to say, I’m back in the swing of it and the change is VIVID. I feel more relaxed, more driven, more chipper, and more capable to handle the day in front of me. Even in the midst of bad meetings or lack-luster projects I find myself laughing it off instead of feeling discouraged. I’ve also been intentional about cultivating an evening routine as well. Feeling like I’ve intentionally wrapped up my day and set myself up for success the next day has made it easier for me to sleep well and wake up ready to take on the day.

I find it remarkably helpful to read other people’s routines, so, below you will find a typical days schedule for me. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always work out like this but, it often can.

6am-wake up and grab some lemon water 
I’ve made a point to not look at my phone first thing in the morning anymore. I want to wake up with my thoughts and mind clear and relaxed. Immediately dumping the problems of the world, work and social media into my brain doesn’t feel good to me.

6:10am – meditation on the front porch 
6:20am – breakfast with Oby
6:50am- read
I’m currently reading The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte and LOVING IT! 
7:10 – listen to a positive podcast while I get dressed
I specifically say positive. I don’t use this time to listen to Serial or any other interesting podcasts. I’m specifically listening to podcasts that contribute positively to my life and set a good tone for the day. I’m currently enjoying The Coffee Commute by The Rising Tide Society, but, I also love The Life Coach School Podcast and Being Well with Lauren. (If you have any positive podcasts that you love, share them with me in the comments below!)
7:40am – free write
8:30am – plan the day and respond to instagram comments
I’ve traditionally been bad about responding to comments on Instagram. But, I’m trying to be better. If I let them build up it becomes a chore. SO, I now carve out two times per day to respond to comments in the morning and at night.
9:00am- work
My work life is currently extremely varied, so this may mean writing a blog post, editing photos, meeting with people to talk social media strategy, managing social media accounts, meeting with a life consulting client or planning a workshop. 
12:00pm – lunch
I try to eat lunch at home everyday or pack a lunch to take with me. I also try to take  full 1 hour lunch break. Sometimes this works and sometimes I find myself eating at my computer while I work.
1pm – work
I’m not as good at sitting behind a computer in the afternoons so, if it’s up to me I try to do as many meetings and photoshoots in the afternoon as possible. Any face to face time to get me out of the afternoon slump is helpful.
5pm – downtime
Sometimes I’m working during this time still, sometimes I’m hanging out with Oby or Ford, sometimes I do yoga or go for a walk, sometimes I meet a friend for a quick drink, sometimes I run errands and sometimes I take time to be alone with a book and a beer.
6pm – prepare dinner
I’m lucky enough to be in a partnership where we take turns cooking. So, sometimes I may be still working during this time and Oby is cooking or I’m running errands or watching Ford while he cooks. Other nights, it’s my time to cook. I usually put in my headphones and listen to something uplifting while I prepare dinner. (I actually really look forward to this time)
7pm – eat dinner
We don’t bring our phones to the dinner table and that has meant the world to me. We talk to each other and we talk with Ford.We ask questions and we can’t immediately look up the answer to them, we have to make guesses as to why we think it may be that way and Ford asks us what we dreamed about and my heart melts.
7:30pm – read/write/play with Ford/watch a show
8:3opm – straighten up the house/prep food for the next day/put ford to bed/set out my clothes and work items needed for the day ahead
 8:40pm- wash face
8:45pm – respond to instagram comments and write
This is where I thought dump, write everything out that I may be worried about or sad about or happy about. Just getting everything out of my brain before it’s time to go to sleep.
9pm – phone off and in bed.
Again, trying not to take technology to bed with me. This is practice. But, I’ve never read an article that said, “the more screens in your bedroom the better.” Everything I’ve ever read has discouraged technology around where you sleep and I’m trying to get on board with that.

Do you have a routine that suits you well? Anything that you include in your day that is a requirement for you to live your best life possible? I’d love to hear!

with love,
sarajane.

 

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