Every day can be seen as a new start, an unwritten page. Maybe you are looking for inspiration or someone that you can relate to, that's why I give you an example of how I start my day.
Regularity and structure
There are people who go through the days without any form of structure, but over the years it has become clear to me that no form of grip is not my cup of tea.
There are those of us who were born with a "clean-up gene" that I have missed during my birth 😉 Many of you will know the phrase: " rest, cleanliness and regularity". And I have to say that the essence of this phrase is important to a lot of people.
3 success factors
Rest, cleanliness and regularity. Is this an old-fashioned statement? Yes! Does it still apply? Yes! Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), founder of modern nursing, was the first to write about these 3 R's that are beneficial for overall health. To take this statement to 2020 terms, you can consider 'rest, cleanliness and regularity' as"3 success factors that help you develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle". Suddenly sounds different, doesn't it?
For those who do not know this saying, I will briefly explain the "3 R's", then continue with "the start of a new day". If you want to skip this piece with the 3 basic elements, click here.
Rest with a shank of lettuce between your teeth
I'm sure you won't be unfamiliar with the fact that everyone around you, and maybe even you, is 'busy busy'. Everyone experiences a bit of stress and there are studies that even conclude that a slight level of stress contributes to your health. I'm not a doctor and I can't validate this scientifically. What you don't need to have studied for and what you can approach with your common sense, is that your body and mind need rest. They must be given the chance to recover and that's where the problem lies, less and less or even no time is taken for that.
There are levels of stress, but even after a 'normal' working day, it is important to take a break. By the way, by 'working day' I don't only mean people who go to their work, but also everyone who works at home to keep the house, household and family running. In my opinion, for example, 'staying at home for the children' is a full-time job!
We were talking about getting some rest ... I'm not going to go into all the physical complaints that can develop by not taking a break on time, the internet is loaded with this kind of informaton, so if you want to know more about it ... viva Google.
Powernaps, meditation, breathing exercises, modern terms to actually just say: "hello, what are you doing, take a step back". Taking a rest can be as simple as taking some time off for lunch, instead of rattling your keyboard with a stump of lettuce between your teeth. Lock the shower door when you take a shower, so there's not someone coming in every minute asking for your attention.
During your tea break, which of course you have to take, grab a magazine instead of your phone. And instead of irritating yourself while waiting in line at the supermarket register, grab that moment to look around and amaze yourself, have some fun with what you see or to reflect the day. It can be as simple as that. If you also throw in 8 hours of sleep on top of that, you're doing just fine 😉.
If you want to put a little more on top of it, take the time to read a book, go fishing if you like, or put on your walking shoes and start walking and leave your phone at home. Also no music in your ears while walking. We get enough stimulation all day long. You don't hear me say that listening to music isn't a form of relaxation, it certainly is ... but at home in your lazy chair or on your bed, so you're busy with one thing. Pulse reduction is important for your rest.
What an old-fashioned word! If we take it clinical, you could also call it hygiene. But it's more than that. It's also food and fluids that we consume to take care of our bodies. Mind you, I'm talking about FOOD, not stuffing. So you can see cleanliness as pure or natural. Because let's face it, a bag of chips is not 'food', not 'nutrition', it's filling.
The modern term of cleanliness in your household is: 'a tidy house, a cleared head'. It's for good reason that 'organizers' and coaches pop up like daisies. The household is a mess, the administration is lagging behind, the balance between work and private life has completely disappeared. It is a 'mess' in our heads because of the over-stimulation of all kinds of media. It's chaotic around us and that's why we need the cleanliness and the peace that goes with it so badly.
So you can achieve 'cleanliness' by, among other things, getting your household in order, apply the Flylady system, for example. This way you get your household under control gradually. I apply this system and will write an article about it later on. In the meantime, Google on this system, it has done wonders for me. By the way, try to avoid the real Flylady website, because for someone who wants to systematically create order in the chaos, has a pretty cluttered website. What I find remarkable 🙂 But don't be discouraged, there are plenty of good websites about her approach to the household, because no matter what, her system works!
Another fun tip is the "Minsgame". It's a simple, easy way to pull off the tidying in small, easy steps. You start with just a few seconds of time investment. In this article you read all about it.
By taking proper food, taking care of yourself, cleaning up your phone/computer, do this last thing in small steps, because it's quite a job I can tell you, you work on your health. We all want to grow old, but no one wants to be old.
If we don't get enough rest, we get irritated faster. If it's a mess around us, we feel anxiety. A nice lifestyle does not benefit from sloppiness and turmoil around us. Irregularity is a major contributor to the feeling of being stressed. We almost don't eat at fixed times anymore, our going to bed ritual is just as it pleases.
Everyone needs regularity. Just look at our day and night rhythm. When this is out of balance, all kinds of complaints arise. Even serious complaints like depression, insomnia, eating disorders and whatnot.
Regularity provides peace. This does not mean that everything has to be planned down to the last detail. One person needs a time schedule from hour to hour to feel organized, the other needs a spread in day and evening.
Apply it to your life, your character. I can tell you to set your alarm every day at 6:00 am, but if you're an evening person, I'll do you more harm than good with this tip. I'm a morning person, if you ask me to stay up until 11:00 pm, I'll be a not so happy person. By then I'm too tired. On the other hand, my day starts very early.
5 tips for applying regularity
1. Choose a fixed time block to end the day and go to bed
So I've made the decision that -as a morning person- I want to be in my bed before 10:00 p.m. every day. That means that somewhere between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. I will start cleaning up the living room, going through my planner for tomorrow, getting my things and clothes ready for the next day and getting myself ready for bed. When I am in bed, I read a book and then ... good night.
2. Eat at a fixed time as often as possible
Because I follow the ketogenic lifestyle, my first meal is just around lunchtime. Between noon and 01:00 pm I use my lunch. This doesn't mean that I take an hour lunch break, but when I eat, I'm eating and not checking my social media channels. I do check them, but only when I'm done eating.
Dinner is usually between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm. I'm not going to commit myself to a specific time, as my mother used to do.At my mom's house we always ate punctually at 4:45pm. That way you knew where you should be. My sister and I were already home from school and my father had finished his working day and was able to join us right away. Let's keep it realistic, with a four person household as in my situation, it's also 4 schedules. My eldest daughter sometimes is not home from school / internship until 6:15 pm. That's why I take an hour as a margin instead of an exact time. It's just not like it used to be. In my opinion it was simpler then.
3. For recurring tasks, choose as many fixed days and times as possible
To give an example, on Monday I complete my household chores. On Tuesdays I write down what I want to make for dinner from Thursday to Thursday, including the shopping list. I check my agenda to see if, for example, I still have to buy something from a birthday present or something like that. On Wednesdays, I spend a maximum of 15 minutes cleaning up old computer files. On Thursdays I pick up most of the groceries for the next 7 days and go to the library. On Friday I clean / tidy the car and clean out my handbag(s). These are my regular habits during the week that I have developed using the Flylady system.
Of course these are not all tasks ... but it's to give you an idea how easy it is to insert regularity into your daily life and that this doesn't mean that everything has to be recorded down to the minute.
4. Did you use something? Clean it up immediately
I don't need to elaborate on that, it's quite simple, but very effective for more order around you. And yes ... you'll have to keep repeating it to your children 🙂 A better world starts with yourself, set a good example.
5. Use a planner
Whether you choose a digital planner or an old-fashioned paper planner, it doesn't matter, but use one. Of course my blog is all about using a bullet journal and if you are interested in using a bullet journal I will help you on your way with this article.
In the beginning you will use the planner more, because you first need to get an overview of what still needs to be done. For example, by writing out your household tasks, so you can tick them off, or by listing all fixed appointments, so you know what time is left for other things, is a start of creating order in the chaos. The more routines you develop, the less extensive your planner needs to be. A planner should not cause stress, but rather help you to structure your life. More about planner stress you can read here. Especially making mistakes is a major stress factor. Or do you think you're too busy to keep up with a planner, then you can find tips here how to deal with that.
So, this silence, cleanliness and regularity is a blog in itself. Continue with 'how I start my day'.
The beginning of a new day
As you may have understood from the above, I need the peace and structure around me, but I had to teach myself and this didn't happen overnight. By adding small steps each time and giving myself time to embrace the change in my habits, I have been able to bring my system of automatism for structure and regularity to a level that works for me.
I apply the following 4 routines every day. Of course I do more than these 4 things, because I apply the Flylady schedule. But the points described below are definitely part of every morning. Note: whenever possible, of course. You never know what life has in store for you. If you wake up in the morning and your baby is sick, your whole day will be completely changed.
Routine 1 no phone before I'm downstairs sitting at a table having a cup of coffee
I get up, do my exercises, take a shower, get ready for the day, put on a load of laundry and fold dry laundry, clean the shower with a quick swish and swipe (Flylady) and go downstairs to have a cup of coffee and then check my phone. All this will take me up to 40 minutes. So when I get up at 6 o'clock, I am ready for the day before 7 o'clock. If you're an evening person, you add the routine to your evening.
Routine 2: I always make my bed
Whether it's due to my military background or not, but I have to make my bed every morning. That makes me feel good. The Navy Seal Admiral McRaven explains it perfectly in this 1:42 minute video why it's good to make your bed every morning.
Routine 3: I check my planner
Every morning I get my bullet journal and go through the day and, if necessary, the week. It's my 'hard drive' and makes sure I don't forget things. Appointments that are made on the road, for which I use my phone at that moment, are transferred to my planner. This way I keep an overview in my own way.
Routine 4: light therapy during my morning coffee
I'm an autumn/winter person. I love the long dark days, the cold and the silence. Don't shoot me... I can't help it. I seem to have inherited it from my mother. Even though I love these drizzling seasons, I notice that I am a little short on daylight, so I use my Litebook Edge 15 minutes a day. A mobile light therapy lamp that unfortunately no longer is sold, so I am very careful with it 🙂 It has a positive effect on my biological clock and it improves my sleep.
In short, I can say that Florence Nightingale's old-fashioned statement of " rest, cleanliness and regularity", is still extremely relevant. Whatever system you use to achieve this, it is a health benefit for you to apply these three elements in your life.
Are you ready to reduce the chaos at work? I highly recommend David Allen's book "Getting Things Done“. It has helped me so much in organizing and prioritizing my work.
For household related matters, the Flylady system and the Minsgame are highly recommended. If you don't mind reading in English, take a look at the website of Diane in Denmark or watch her YouTube channel. She is my Flylady inspiration by far. On Facebook you have a nice Dutch group where you can find a lot of information: Flylady Groep NL
Do you have fixed routines you want to share? I like to hear it, because I like to keep growing.