Simplified: Routines & Rhythms
In case you missed it, this is a 5-part series for September.
Topic 1 - Simplified Surroundings
Topic 2 - Simplified Food
Topic 3 - Simplified Self-Care
Topic 4 - Simplified Mental Health
Last Topic - Simplified Routines & Rhythms
Are you an enneagram fan? If you've been following me on social media within the past year, you will know that I am. (If you need to lookup more, check out this website)
I'm a Type 1 - Moral Perfectionist. A lot of type 1s are known for being schedule-oriented and regimented.
Since having a kid, I've become a completely different human. I'm going to walk you through that story below. Now I thrive on similar routines instead of timely schedules.
Simplified Routines & Rhythms
I hate to tell you friend, but you won't magically wake up tomorrow with a new morning routine because you want one. Your day won't magically flow because you want it to flow.
It IS something you will need to think through, but good news! I have lots of tools to help you do that.
Knowing how to adjust your routines & rhythms requires you to know yourself better and know what is going to fit into your life best... so here we go!
The first is the Four Tendencies from Gretchen Rubin and accepting your specific type. If you have others in your household, you have to factor those into the equation as well. An overview:
Upholder = meets inner & outer expectations
Obliger = meets outer expectations, resists inner expectations
Questioner = meets inner expectations, resists outer expectations
Rebel = resists inner & outer expectations
For example, I'm an upholder and I'm fairly certain my husband is an upholder. If I say I'm going to do something, 99% of the time, I'm doing it. If someone else expects me to do something, 99% of the time, I'm going to do it.
I didn't have too many hiccups with expectations until I had a child... who I'm fairly certain is a rebel. She resists basically anything she knows you want her to do. I had to learn how to work with her so I wasn't continually frustrated by her. And truthfully, with kids in the house, it's usually easier to work with their type to keep their day flowing and adjust ours accordingly.
Let me tell you the painful story of how we've developed our rhythms...
When Charlotte was a baby and I wanted to nurse. Everything suggested not putting a breastfed on a schedule, but rather, to just go with the cues of your baby.
Ohmylanta, what a disaster that was for an already anxious, usually pretty routine person. Whoever was giving this advice was clearly a type B or go-with-the-flow human being... of which I am not. "OMG, Is she hungry now?" "Is this a cue?!" "Why isn't she sleeping?!"
So then, I tried to do a timed schedule. We will eat at X hour, play until X, sleep at X. LOL. You can imagine how that went... also a mess.
Finally, I discovered a RHYTHM. Not a schedule or strict timeline or expectations, but a flow. Eat-play-sleep.
Now, I realize this may sound like above, and that's because it's a slight combination. It gave us a natural cadence to our day without being strict or overwhelming. I wasn't watching the clock or obsessing over what was next. I knew she would eat around X, then we would play until she seemed sleepy (usually close to X) and it would be time for a nap.
We do the same thing today. We have our morning and evening rhythms. They may not start at the same time every day, but the activities go in the same order, so C knows what is coming, but doesn't feel boxed in.
Wake & snuggle
Head upstairs to connect/play for 10-15 minutes
Get ready for the day (I do my skincare/makeup, she plays & we both change)
Change into PJs around the same time (with 15-30 minutes)
Go to bed
On days where we have something unique or different is happening, we will draw a visual checklist to go through, sometimes the night before or that morning so she still understands the flow.
Even though she resists expectations, there is something VERY grounding about a routine and rhythm that we all crave (especially in this climate when so much feels out of our control).
I also pay attention to her/my mood and energy. While C is definitely an extrovert, SO much energy when people are around, however she needs decompression time. If we have 2 days in a row of a lot of activities, she needs a day at home to recalibrate. It usually involved more screen time because she needs that forced stillness to just BE (she moves A LOT - even her PT made a comment about how active she is.)
One cool way to think about rhythm is an inhale, exhale or an expand, contract description. Sometimes you are in the go-go-go and outputting a lot of energy, and sometimes you are in the stillness, and calm, needing to rest and recollect.
I also think about the yoga classes (I used) to go to... we had a faster-paced section, then a slow and still section.
It's worth mentioning, part of creating these simplified routines is simply having LESS on the calendar. I have already declared that I will NOT be enrolling my child in a million activities. I do not want to be a taxi driver and suddenly kiss C as she walks out the door as a young adult. I want to enjoy being a family and having time together at home.
If you want to dig more into habits, two books I recommend:
(1) Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin
(2) Atomic Habits by James Clear
I also think understanding your enneagram and your human design are very helpful. But listen, that's a lot of personal growth so if these are all new to you, take it one at a time! :) I think the 4 tendency quiz is the best place to start for this week.
Our last area to declutter and clean up for this week is... dun dun dun... decluttering your current routines... or perhaps creating one for the first time!
Think about 4 main areas:
What is working well?
What is NOT working well?
Are you black and white? Think about what is going to be best for you - changing one routine at a time or all the rhythms?
Remember, its a rhythm. Create 3-4 steps that flow in order. I'd actually recommend starting with a nighttime routine because good sleep hygiene is SO important.
Well, that's the end of this Simplified September! I hope you picked up some tips and tricks that you can implement in your life. Remember you can come back to this anytime!
Other Posts in the Series:
Simplified: Mental Health
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