The most important ingredient in any sustainable routine...
Hi friends, my kiddos started school again this week and you know what that means, right? Besides me crying because I now have a KINDERGARTENER (like how did that happen?!) it means ROUTINES are a thing again in our house.
I've always had a love-hate relationship with routines. If I stick with one for too long, I get bored. If I don’t stick with a routine for too long, I get anxious.
Luckily, I have recently discovered a secret ingredient that I can add in to my routines to make them more effective (as in, I'll stick with them for longer than a week) and less dull. But before I tell you what that is, let me share a little something I learned waaaaay back in the day at an ExxonMobil driving course....
Admittedly, I don't really remember much about said course, but there is one thing that really stuck. And that is to leave enough space between your car and the car in front of you so that you have time to react. We can hone our own skills as a driver, but we cannot control everyone else out on the road. So it is absolutely critical that we give ourselves the gift of time and space to stop, swerve, adjust our speed, or whatever we need to do to get out of harm’s way. That space - the one that’s super hard to keep because we’re always trying to GET THERE FASTER - can make the difference between a safe arrival and a trip to the ER.
When it comes to our daily routines, we absolutely need to build in that same type of space between one thing and the next. Thankfully, the consequences of not doing that are a bit less dramatic than when driving, but seriously, that space I’m talking about can save your sanity.
For me, the most stressful moments of my day are often transitions - because I’ve left myself way too little time to wrap up one thing and get to the next. If anything doesn’t go exactly as planned - which is always - I have no buffer, no time to re-adjust.
Two trains block Shepherd for 20 min? I’m late and rushed.
Lucas/Matias decide they don’t want to buckle themselves in their car seats? I’m late and rushed.
I realize I’m driving to my old Yogaleena space instead of where I need to go because some habits are hard to break? I’m late and rushed. And you know what?
Late & Rushed = stressed.
Late & Rushed= showing up to the next thing in the wrong head-space.
Late & Rushed = yelling at my kids instead of effectively disciplining them. Late & Rushed = no time to ever take a different exit just to switch things up and sprinkle in a sense of freedom and fun.
Being in a constant state of Late & Rushed is what drains our energy and makes our routines suck. As a Virgo, I know all too well how tempting it is to stack up your daily activities like a Tetris game, where the goal is to leave NO space and get “the most” out of your 24 hours. But I promise you, there is no reward for doing that in real life.
Instead, giving ourselves and our families space, not just to react when things go wrong but to actually savor the experience of each day, can be a game-changer. Both on the road and in our lives.
Try it, and let me know how it goes! xo Carolina