Mental Health experts agree that one of the best things we can do to stay at our best during this pandemic is to stick to a routine.
Routines build a biological framework that keeps us functioning well and at our best. It cues several internal operations such as eating habits, hormone release and digestion.
Irregular biological rhythms have been linked to sleep disorders, obesity, depression, mood disorders, and diabetes.
With the recent disruptions COVID-19 has caused worldwide, moms, caregivers and families are adapting to establishing family routines and rhythms at home.
There are a few best practices that may help to avoid losing our footing as a family in quarantine. One first step is supporting a biological rhythm. It's simple yet when not intact can cause a number of disruptions biologically as a whole, triggering our mind, body and spirit to be off-kilter. These two following simple practices underpin every successful day.
1. Regular bedtimes.
Our bodies have natural bio-rhythms built into the back of our brains, helping us stay regulated.
These functions, also called the circadian rhythm, regulate our alert states through the day and sleep cycles.
Routines such as sticking to a bedtime help stabilize the circadian rhythm.
Building this routine may look like a cup of non-caffeinated tea or a light snack, brushing teeth, washing face or some light reading to fall into sleep. Keep in mind: one hour before bed is good to avoid anything stimulating (such as screens).
2. Wake up at the same time each day.
Setting an alarm to wake for the same time each day will help stick with our routine and complement biological rhythms. Getting dressed, teeth and hair brushed, face washed, and eating breakfast signals to your brain you're ready to start the day.
Another critical habit for family rhythm and developing a routine is engaging in positive communication.
Setting intentions at the beginning of the week is a helpful strategy for getting focused on what needs to be accomplished throughout the week; this isn't meant to be threatening or controlling. Instead, it’s a way to highlight the upcoming week's priorities. Without narrowing in on the week’s priorities, we may end up “flying by the seat of our pants”.
I know this well, I easily revert into this as a "creative". There's a specific moment I recall when my oldest child reached her middle school year. That year I had the realization that I needed to step it up as a mom. If I wanted my children to succeed and thrive in life, I was going to have to start modelling it. This significant mental shift occurred as I observed my oldest needing me to help her through the stress of being a new middle schooler. I came to realize that I would have to take a new level of ownership within myself. No more "flying by the seat of my pants" and shaming myself for not being better, smarter, quicker, like other more accomplished moms were etc... and the cycle would replay itself over and over until the day I recognized this pattern of thinking would keep me stuck until I changed it. Not changing the false belief would hurt me and hurt my children.
Leaving things to impulse within a family unit can lead to chaos or overwhelm. These effects ripple and disrupt a collective family rhythm. I’m the first to acknowledge this IS counterproductive.
Plants need good soil, nutrients, and sun to flourish and thrive, so does each person and family member have a formula to their thriving. Setting a good foundation helps provide stability and optimal conditions to be their best. But as we seek to tend to our families best we also need to not neglect ourselves in the process. I will spend some time on what this looks like in my next blog post addressing nurturing and taking time to value our best qualities will keep you energized and motivated day-to-day.
If you're looking for more support with your family routine and rhythms, download a pdf guide 8 best tips to support this rhythm with your family. We can thrive by activating some simple methods, habits and tools. Check-out a free beginner's guide here.
I believe bringing out the best in our families begins with bringing out the best in ourselves as moms and caregivers. Nurturing ourselves and our wellbeing is the best gift we can offer our families. If you value this, too, follow - along by going here. With practical efforts, we can steward ourselves and our families bringing our collective best.