Ro's Routines- 5 habits that fuel whole health
As I often wonder what other's lifestyles and rhythm of life looks like I figured I'd share a glimpse into mine. These 5 things below are not a list of things I seek to check off every day, but things that deeply refresh me. These are things that I incorporate into every day. Not militantly, but consistently. The adjustments come based off the week/month/season that I'm in. Priorities can shift at different stages, so it's important to adapt accordingly keeping to the central things that matter most in and out of season. Chances are you already know the how to for each of them so I'm going to avoid going there, but rather give you the why I do them so you can find your own expression of them to fit your unique personality, schedule and stage of life. Yes these all do take a level of organization, but I believe when our internal world is well organized it makes the most room for healthy interruptions and the strongest foundation to weather the storms. Paul Scanlon, one of the most wise preachers/communicators I've heard says "It's really hard to change the world if you can't find your keys." Which I take to mean there is a lid on your success if you don't have some level of organization in your life. I pray this list helps stir a dialog with God, yourself, and your significant other to help you go to a new level of health.
- Prayer - We are built as spirit soul and body. When we tend to our spiritual health bringing it into alignment with truth it is miraculous how our soul and body come into deeper health and wholeness as a by product. The world would have you focus on the outward while real relationship with our Heavenly Father brings whole healing, true purpose, and real transformation. In my life nothing has brought more breakthrough, significant inner healing, opened doors of opportunity, or changed the direction of my life more than prayer. Prayer is not a scripted prayer, those can help direct you in how to pray. Prayer is not an emptying of your mind. Rather, it is filling it with truth. It is washing away the grime of the world bringing it to a refreshed state that can see beyond the facts of your current situation into an eternal perspective. I could continue for hours telling you story after story in my life, my husbands, of my friends who have sought God in prayer and had "coincidences" happen. Deeper though than that there is a peace unlike any other that comes from seeking the presence of your Heavenly Father. If you don't pray or don't know how to pray, I encourage you to start a journey to begin.
- Meal Prep- If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail. When it comes to my physical health nothing can be more evident. I realize that my poor choices for food, come when I'm the most hungry and don't have anything to go to. I'll pick whatever I can get to first, or the bad foods sound the best for whatever reason at that time. When I have food already prepared in front of me it's much easier to pick that over bad food. Plus when you meal plan you account for food every few hours so the likelihood you'll get to the dreaded "hangry" level is significantly reduced. Meal planning consistently for the past year now my husband and I have been able to drop our food bill by over $1000. There no longer are the multiple meals out in the week (unless we plan for them). We significantly have reduced the amount of food that goes bad because we don't over buy. Overall, I'd say I meal prep because when I'm full I'm a much more pleasant person to be around AND I produce better work. Win-Win!
- Regular Bed Time- We give young kids a bedtime because we know it's healthy for them, but why do we stop enforcing it for ourselves? My sleep "hygiene" got really bad when I became depressed when my Dad's healthy started declining. It's a common symptom of depression to either sleep too much or sleep to little. My behaviors were very erratic for years. Only about 3 years ago did I start to gradually improve this. I struggled to get up in the morning so thought I had to establish a regular wake up time, only to find I was fighting an up hill battle. IT's obvious when I realize I'd only be getting about 5-6 hours sleep. Once I set a cap on how late I could go to bed things started to change. I did it gradually and incrementally over 6 weeks, but man has it made a difference. Waking up early is no longer the same struggle. Yes there are rough days. I can honestly say that now the morning and I are good friends.
- Morning Workouts- With my sleep health improved it became much easier to make time for morning workouts. The thing I love with having prayer then workouts in the morning is that all my self-care is done before I start work. I gear myself up to dig in and get down to business. If I saved these things for the end of the day when my will power and energy are tapped they would rarely happen. Willpower is a finite resource. If you use too much without replenishing it you will be much less likely to resist temptations. Even if your desire is to be consistent with them. Plus, I find with having workouts in the morning I give myself a much smaller window to reason my way out of the workout, ensuring that I'm more consistent. Which helps me improve my mood (thank you endorphins), a clear head, and better memory for the day. (I'm not special, these are proven benefits of exercise in case you needed another reason besides your pants seeming to shrink in size).
- Hard Stop to Work- Now this is one that I will admit I'm working on the most in this stage of my life. Having recently taken on a part time role at my church, still working my own businesses, and ensuring I prioritize my marriage my life is full yet very fun. This means creating margin in my daily habits is a MUST. To put it another way, with more on my plate, requires I'm better at clarifying and enforcing my boundaries while still giving my best to my responsibilities. After being a peform-aholic in which I had very little margin, swinging to the other end of the spectrum (too much play not enough structure). I'm now swinging in the much more reasonable middle range. Sticking to my word is a BIG thing for me. Accomplishing and completing projects that have been put in my responsibility are high priority to me. Two of my strengths from Strengths finder are "arranger" and "achiever" which means I want to max productivity and want to get things completed. These are great strengths, however they can set me up for burn out if not managed well. With the change up of my schedule I recognize to be able to keep up all the things above not only became more important, but enforcing a hard stop to work as a necessity. What do I mean by that? A time where I cut off all work related thinking and actions. I have to have a shutdown routine to do this. It's a time where I can dump all those pending to do's, review all the projects on my plate and set time to revisit them. I make a game plan for the next work day, write out in projects in process so I can refer back to them when it's the right time to move the forward. Then I let it alone. I'm working on a way to fully cut off as it takes about 30 min to an hour for my mind to shift off thinking in a certain flow, but like anything as I practice I see it improving.
I hope these 5 areas of my life that are invaluable and helping me be at my max output day in and day out stir you to see your own. The world needs you at your best so the unique blend of gifts, talents, time, and sphere you're in can be impacted to the degree you were designed to. You were made for greatness. With that comes the responsibility to steward what we've been given and take proper care.