In the past couple of weeks, I completely lost track of my routine both in the morning and in the afternoon after work. As a result, I no longer managed to take time for myself. I kept rising on time but went straight to work rather than observing my routine. Later in the day, instead of respecting the alarm that tells me I have spent enough time working for the day and that I should now move, I stayed put, buried in work.
If it is true that, in the beginning, it helped me sneak in extra work to redesign a website on time before a big press feature and then helped me shuffle the different projects that we are working on, I am not sure the net result was positive. I ended up exhausted and having slacked off my writing, reading, yoga, meditation, and cardio-training.
As we had a grant application deadline on a Monday, we ended up working all weekend. The combination of everything – no weekend and no time for myself daily – led me to be so exhausted that I had to shorten my day of work for the last three days of the week and to need three days of full- rest to recover.
I am convinced that if I had kept on sticking to my routine, I would have weathered the extra work more easily.
This was a good lesson for me. As it reminded me that it is not because I get up early that I then also use my time correctly.
As a way to address this issue, I spent some of my time this weekend writing down the sequence of my daily routine, from the morning to the evening. Establishing the right order, the one that makes sure that I can ease myself seemingly effortlessly through a beautiful, rewarding day, accomplishing everything that makes me feel fulfilled, is something I always have been doing based on desire and guess.
What will I be able to do first? What is something that I might need to do later when I am awake enough? What is something I want absolute silence for and need to do before the rest of the world wakes up? These are a few examples of the questions I was asking myself to set up the sequence of my routine. This was until two days ago.
I recently started to study Ayurveda, the thousands of years old India science and wisdom aiming to help us live long, healthy lives. This weekend, I discovered the Ayurvedic morning routine. I realized that it was incorporating many of the things I do as part of my own routine: yoga, meditation, oil self-massage, and even things like drinking luke-warm water, oil switching, eating a warm breakfast, for example. More importantly, I discovered that it was weaving these following a predefined order that was making a lot of sense.
Therefore, why reinvent the wheel? I decided to try to use and follow this tested sequence and to append to it my other daily tasks and rituals
Here is how my new routine looks like.
I get up early in the morning at the same time with no exceptions, every day. Currently, this time is 6 AM.
I make my way to the bathroom to wash my face, eye, and mouth with cool water. I make sure to blink and rotate my eyes a few times. It feels wonderful and really helps me get a head start to the day.
After this first refreshment, and still according to the ayurvedic morning routine, I brush my teeth, scrape my tongue, and gargle with coconut oil. I then finish off this mouth care by rubbing some warm oil on my gums. This helps washing off bacteria accumulated during the night and to have a healthy mouth – a must for anyone interested in living long and healthy.
With my mouth now clean, I enjoy a cup of lukewarm water, often as an infusion. Ayurveda recommends drinking water from a copper bottle if you have one.
Once nicely rehydrated, I give myself a self-massage of the head, face, and body with warm coconut oil. 15-20 minutes later, when the oil has penetrated my skin, I take a shower. While waiting for the oil to be fully absorbed, I read.
Then comes one of my favorite moments of the day. I grab my mat and step out to do 45-60 minutes of Vinasaya yoga under the trees, which I then follow with a meditation session.
Once done and feeling fabulous, I go home and cook myself a healthy, warm breakfast. I usually have scrambled organic eggs with homemade bread or home-made porridge with fruits. I accompany this delicious food with an infusion of spices, lemon, or green tea.
Then it is time for another favorite moment of mine. It is time to sit and write my daily post. I love how it makes me feel and where it takes me. Once I am done, and I have hit publish, I read some more.
Later, I try to go on a walk of 30 minutes minimum. Although I must admit, I often skip this one to keep on reading and go on the walk later with my partner.
This is a beautiful morning routine that feels amazingly good and empowering. It still feels a bit tight, and I might start getting up 15 min earlier to squeeze in a 30-minute walk before 9 am. It might not be easy, as it means being very rigorous with my bedtime.
During the day, I try to eat at times as fixed as possible, as it helps me with managing my migraines, my time, and my circadian rhythm. I make lunch my main meal of the day and seek to have light dinners before 8.30 PM as both my partner and I have noticed it improves the quality of my sleep greatly. Both Ayurveda and the data my smartwatch measure corroborate this fact.
After my morning routine, I start my working day by establishing a to-do list with a limited number of tasks. I usually aim for a maximum of five and write them as SMART objectives. I clearly identify the items by importance and make a point not to have more than three highly essential tasks to achieve per day. Then, I start my day of work addressing the task I have identified as the more critical. I have an alarm set at 5.30 PM, the time at which I should stop working or at least prepare for it.
During the day, I make sure to go on at least one walk with my partner, have both lunch and dinner together, share chores equally and spend as much as the time between the end of my cardio training and bedtime taking care of my relationships: ours and the one I have with others. Here again, I found creating a few habits helpful as relationships require work and efforts, too. Every day we try to dance to at least one song that means something to us as a way to assert our commitment to each other. In the evening, I try to ensure to give him a nice head massage, something that he loves thoroughly.
After work, I jump on my trainer bike for a 30-60 minute cardio session. I make sure to always be ready with a MOOC to study or a show to watch in Spanish in order to avoid getting bored and to keep on feeding my mind. I like to study topics that do not have a direct connection to what I am working on as a way to widen my world and care for my brain. As an example, lately, I have been studying Buddhism, psychology, Ayurveda, geopolitics, human history, and more. I like to follow this session with a 15-30 min yoga practice focussed on advancing my practice.
In the evening, I aim to prepare to go to bed at around 10 PM to be asleep by around 10.30- 10.45 PM. To do so, I make sure to deem the lights after dinner, to help my body follow its circadian rhythm. In the minute before bed, I drink a warm infusion and clean my face with a warm cloth. This helps signal my body that it is time for rest. I go to bed, usually with a book, and fall asleep quickly.
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