A routine is something that can ground you. Although avoided by many, the idea of regular practices has helped bring some much needed calm to my chaotic life. I'd like to share 5 things I have been doing every day, and how they have helped me gain peace of mind and better health. Being in a constant state of chaos isn't good for anyone, and to try and combat that, we can do things each day that give us that small bit of routine.
1. Drink Water
This may sound simple, but lots of people tend to have a hard time increasing their daily water intake. It's easy to say, "Oh...I should drink more water", but it's hard to actually do it.
The fix: Buy a water bottle, something substantial. Don't get a cheap one, and don't buy bottled water. Get something re-usable. I bought a water bottle from the DASH store in SoHo, New York City and just because I want to get my money's worth, I re-fill it 5 times per day. It's as easy as that.
When things get hard it can seem impossible to laugh. When life gets too heavy, and we feel like we're cornered or in a tough position, that's the best time to reach out for something funny. Even if it's forced or fake, any type of laughter has been proven to increase mood and brain activity.
The fix: hook up your Netflix and watch a stand-up special. I love watching Aziz Ansari. It's stand up that isn't too bleak, but isn't too cheery either. It's the perfect cure to a bad day.
3. Carve out time to write in a journal.
This is an indispensable practice. As a writer, I spend a lot of time at the keyboard hammering out my thoughts, but there is nothing like actually putting pen to paper. Your handwriting is an extension of yourself, and your thoughts. Some days it's messy, others clean and crisp. You can look back through a notebook and see exactly where you were in your life, and how far you've come.
The fix: buy a notebook that you'll want to write in. Whether it has a cute design,pr it bears your initials, having something worth keeping is a great way to start the practice. Plus, if you treat it like an investment you'll feel like you have to get your money's worth (much like the water bottle thign).
4. Take up Tea.
I've been drinking a lot of tea lately and I've noticed that I am a lot calmer. Drinking specific teas for specific times of day has really helped me regulate my sleeping schedule too. I bought this dynamite lavender and chamomile tea for night time and it's changed my life.
I also like to switch out coffee for green tea, because it's less of a jolt and a more sustainable lift in energy and focus throughout the day. It also never leaves me with that groggy feeling.
The fix: Buy a tea variety pack. Try a bunch of different kinds and ice some of them. You'll find one you like...I'm sure. Green tea in particular is extremely inexpensive. You can get 50 bags for around 2 dollars. Make sure you stick with it, you'll see a difference in your health for sure.
Easier said than done, but if you concentrate on your breathing at least twice per day, you'll notice a difference in your overall mood and concentration. Deep breathing is used in yoga and for meditation, but if you consider all the times in your day where you're anxious, upset or completely out of it... you'll probably get more use out of using it in your daily life.
The fix. When you're working, just take a few deep breaths every time you remember. This will make you feel a lot better and lead to more productivity and a general enjoyment of life.
6. Read out of a physical book.
It's a great injustice that everything is on screens. Just the light from those things creates a huge strain on our eyes and brains. Kick it old school and break out an old paperback. It's great to hold something in your hands...and studies suggest that reading from a physical book can calm your mind and ease you into sleep.
The fix: Pick a new book to read each month. Give yourself a deadline to finish it. This will encourage you to read more, and often. It'll also give you a bit of something to look forward to during your downtime.