As the working primary caregiver for my family, I find all too often there aren't enough hours in the day. I thought making lists would help. I thought hiring sitters would help. But my to-do lists got pushed to the next day and the one after that. My kids became resentful that I always seemed exhausted or distracted. And the things on my to-do list that fell through the cracks were inevitably about my self-care. I would skip exercise to run errands, or skip a shower to get a few more minutes of work done. I ended up feeling overwhelmed and incompetent.
So I decided to examine my routine and see what I could too to maximize my time. I tried many different approaches, and while some worked and some didn't, over time I started to see a pattern of ease evolve in my days. So here are a few things you may want to incorporate into your routine to help you weigh less, both emotionally and physically:
1. Rethink to-do lists.
Take a few minutes to look at your list of what you hope to accomplish. Whittle it down to five things, just the most important tasks that absolutely must get done. Then do them first. Don't answer the phone, check email or do anything else before they're done. When you finish these five things, you'll have a huge sense of accomplishment and the motivation to tackle the next item on the list.
2. Cluster your tasks.
Spend some time looking at repetitive tasks and how you can group them together. This will allow you to be really efficient and will keep you from getting sidetracked.
3. Nourish yourself.
Each morning, take a moment of quietness for yourself before anyone else in the house gets up. You can enjoy the morning colors transform the sky and sip a cup of tea. This brief beautiful moment will allow you to feel inspired and nourished. When things don't go as planned, I have a little reserve to pull from. Find what nourishes you and add it to your morning routine.
4. Plan more meals.
I find that when I'm in a rush, I tend to grab foods that add stress to my body: foods that are processed or packaged and foods or beverages that contain sugar or caffeine. These foods tax my body, and eating on the go or under stress increases this burden. Preparing healthy and delicious meals and eating them slowly without distraction will allow your mind and body to recharge so that you can better deal with unexpected events. Cook more than you need and divide it up into individual servings that I can reach for easily.
These changes have made a dramatic difference in my life. Incorporating nourishing routines will help you feel more accomplished, more motivated, more energy and more resilient. At least they did for me.