So excited to be back to the podcast after 3 long months. I’ve missed you but at the same time I feel so refreshed. I left off talking about burnout and how my 3 month break was to practice what I preach when living unhurried…..
Now, that TUL is back it’s going to look a smidge different. In light of my decision to take some time off it gave me freedom to assess where I want to go in the future. For the next 12 months I’ll be doing a single episode monthly instead of weekly. I’d like to invite you over to my website jbrazeal.com so we can stay in touch. Take a look around and find anything that strikes your fancy. Photo org, routines, TULSK, free LR preset and so much more. All these things are free and as soon as you put your email in it will wiz through digital space and land inside my email sender. Meaning, every week as I write personal emails on photo Org, podcasts, simplification and other big life changing topics we’ll be able to continue chatting weekly!
Since we’re back and I’m here now chatting, I wanted to talk about routines, since mine has recently changed and I have more change coming at the end of this episode so don’t skip out!
I once read that routines are supposed to be more of a bridge than a regiment. Taking you from one thing to the next more easily. My daily routine has adapted this mindset for sure.
As a work-from-home mama of 3 (still little ones) this frame of mind has helped make our days go so much smoother. You have lot’s that needs to get done in your day. In trying to sit down and write out a massive to do list or your step-by-step schedule of time might seem a bit overwhelming. And for good reason. At the drop of a hat life changes, kids meltdown, dinner burns, and someone inevitably gets sick! That means all the time you spent on your daily routine, writing everything out with nice ideal times next to it is completely trashed.
So, I want to take a little time and talk to you about my daily routine so that you can see what it looks like in order to adapt what would be good for your own life.
Remember if having a solid routine is not Bridging the Gap and making some things easier, onboarding you for the next step then it might be time to reassess. From morning routines, to evening routines to routines for yourself and routines for your kids let’s look at why having a routine is important in the first place.
WHY IS ROUTINE IMPORTANT?
I can most easily relate the importance of having routines to back when I was an elementary teacher. I had a very strategic everyday routine. But within that routine small things changed. Maybe the student helper would be different, or maybe we would have a different elective that we were going to.
Having an established and solidified routine allowed our classroom to move forward easily. When you establish routine in your day you’re not locking yourself into anything but rather you’re creating the steps to move forward and to get from one thing to the next.
Without routine things can get out of whack, groceries are forgotten, heck kids are forgotten, and the normal basic tasks seem to slip through the cracks. This can definitely lead to a place of feeling like you are stuck in survival mode or you’re getting close to burnout. It just feels like you can’t get caught up.
Routine gives your brain the chance to switch into autopilot. Could you imagine if every pilot, even the ones flying from LA to Bangkok were never allowed to put the plane in autopilot. Their mental fatigue would be overwhelming. Does this sound like something you may be doing?
In a recent health article I found they said that routines can even help in your sleep and quality of rest. When you plan for times to be active or eat better by fitting them into your routine you’re improving your health. And when you know what’s coming next and what all will be done in the day your anxiety and stress can go down too. All this by implementing simple daily routines.
WHAT ARE GOOD DAILY HABITS?
Let’s go a little deeper than routine. If you’re like me, a self-proclaimed free spirit, then you’ve probably been in the place where you feel that having a routine locks you down. It prevents you from going with the flow and being flexible, but if you assess routine and habit you can find some interesting correlations.
I believe routine is basically a string of habits that you put together.
For example, brushing your teeth. I’m sure a lot of the things you do to prepare to brush your teeth and after you brush your teeth are a habit meaning you already have a routine established.
If you were a true free-spirit you would give up brushing your teeth all together because you were conforming to a routine. I’m pretty sure the both of us would not do that. Meaning habits and routines are actually making life a little bit easier.
Routines and habits take out some of the decision-making that goes on in your daily life. Decision fatigue is definitely a real thing and can be mentally and physically draining. The more you set up for yourself to eliminate decisions through routines the more energy you’ll have throughout your day.
DAILY ROUTINE FOR KIDS
When thinking about routines for kids you don’t always have to go straight to brush your teeth read a book get in bed. But you can imagine going deeper. Creating routines that allow for your children to have time together as a family.
I already mentioned how routines are more of a bridge connecting one thing to the other. Everyday when my oldest would come home from school I felt like I was seeing the beginning of World War 3. Kids were angry everything was on the floor, homework was forgotten. It was chaos.
We started implementing small habits that were strung together to form new routines. Don’t think I didn’t meet this with complete resistance. Maybe I was actually pulling my son’s toenails out one by one with pliers. Or maybe I was just asking him to hang his backpack on his hook? We will never know! But after a few weeks I noticed that I wasn’t having to ask anymore. It was now a habit for him.
After he and I both mastered one thing we added something else on to it. Now he was removing his lunch box and setting it on the counter. After a few weeks he was getting out his folder and we were starting homework. He knew that after these three things were done he would immediately get a snack and that made everybody happy!
Implementing daily routines for kids can be a way that you help yourself as well as the kids.
When the kids were a little bit younger, before reading, I would draw out a simple routine for them. Usually this was just bedtime. We would refer back to it and check it out even if we weren’t exactly sticking to it.
After a while I noticed that we were sticking to the routine but we didn’t actually need the pictures and to refer back to it anymore. That’s because it had become so habitual that it was automatic. Allowing us a chance to fly, for just a few minutes, in autopilot!
MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE
When it comes to morning and evening routines I have a lot of little habits that I set up for myself to ensure that things get done.
For example in the morning I always make sure that I start off with brushing my teeth and drinking a large cup of water! Chances are I’ll forget water at some point in the day but at least I had a big cup to start off!
Also a lot of my morning routine starts the evening before as I set out things for breakfast, lay out my workout clothes, setup my work area, or put out my Bible study. Since mornings tend to feel more rushed I like to have things set up ahead of time!
When it comes to evenings that is definitely a time to unwind. Unwind physically and unwind mentally! I’m sure you know this by now but our family is screen free! Except for the whole I run an online business and work on my computer for my job! And there’s the occasional chick flick that my husband and I will enjoy together every so often. But my evenings do not consist of a screen and it’s made my own life so much simpler and calmer. More on our screen free lifestyle coming next month!
My evenings, I feel are more important than my morning routine. Mainly because in my evening I set up for my morning! The same goes for my kids! We lay out clothes in the evening for the next day, we make sure that our lunch is ready in the fridge, we have time to unwind and relax! There’s for sure time to sit on the porch swing or do some stretching and yoga in the living room.
One of my favorite things that’s a true part of our evening routine is “high-low buffalo”! We talk about a high for the day, a low for the day and a buffalo is just a random thing we want to share!
As my kids have gotten older I’ve seen them become more and more comfortable with going in-depth with this little routine! Keep in mind that routines are made to a bridge and make the next step easier!
Most everything we are doing in the evening is preparing us for a relaxing and good night sleep! Most everything we do in the morning is preparing us for success in finding ways to make things a little bit easier for later in the day! Such as pulling the crockpot out of the refrigerator and turning it on! Or sometimes I will even be setting out our plates and the salad bowl for dinner before 7 am!
Trying to incorporate small things in my morning routine that I know will make our day go smoother is my primary goal!
MY DAILY ROUTINE EXAMPLE
Now if you want a peek at my daily routine I’m happy to give you it. But I will warn you that it will soon be changing quite drastically!
Every morning I wake up before 6 a.m. this is to give myself a chance for quiet time, exercise, or a little bit of work time.
After that I switch into mom mode. Get the kids fed and out the door. This Part of my routine actually begins the night or sometimes days, before when I set out all of our breakfast stuff. Giving myself the chance to plan for a healthy breakfast that will make us all happier. We also hang our backpack on the doorknob and have our lunches already prepped on Sunday evening so they are waiting in the fridge.
A large part of my day depends on who is at school and who is home and who is napping. Since all of that seems to change by the second. Then there are chunks of my day that I know I only have one or two things I allow myself to plan for.
You already know a little bit about what our afternoon looks like when kids start pouring in from school. Always having an idea for a snack, something healthy, that God made. Fruit, banana, veggies, and peanut butter. Or occasionally I’ll grab some frozen cookie dough and have fresh baked cookies! I know, mom of the year! Trust me it’s Pillsbury not homemade!
Our routine for dinner is more of a holistic approach. Mondays I always have a crock pot going. Mondays are hard enough without having to think about juggling kids and prepping food at 4 pm. Usually a roast or some sort of soup that I found in Magnolia magazine! I cut out steps and make it as easy as possible.
Since my husband gets home at different times in the evening we typically stick to our own schedule and when he arrives we incorporate him in! We always always read for 20 minutes! And since our family is screen-free reading is a chance for them to unwind! They are free to come to me with a giant stack of books and we’ll get through as many as possible.
I used to try and spend individual time with the kids in the evening 10 minutes with one 10 minutes with the other 10 minutes with another. But at this stage in life I found that us all sitting on the couch reading their choice of books and finishing with the Bible is just as helpful! Typically in between books we tend to talk about our day or some sort of life lesson! And right now that is good enough for us.
A NEW KIND OF ROUTINE: THE UNKNOWN
Now I would like to share with you a new routine! It’s the routine of the unknown! Okay that’s really not a routine but I’m trying to work it in somehow! I have big news, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we are expecting our fourth baby in October! If you wanted to know the real reason why I’m only doing one podcast episode a month for the next year there you have it!
I’m happy to be honest about how I’m processing another baby. When we found out we were expecting our fourth I immediately scheduled a session with my counselor. I felt like I was at max capacity with three kids but obviously I’m not!
I needed space to reflect, process and talk things out.
I have no idea what to expect. I know things will change and I’m just going to have to roll with it.
But I do want to take this season and this time in my life to focus first on being a mom. Which is why you will see me a little differently for the next few months.
But like I said earlier you can still hear from me weekly through email or join the unhurried life Facebook community! I’m just cutting back on some of the other things that I’m doing!
Four kiddos is a lot of humans! And if you have four kids please oh please oh please shoot me a DM on Instagram and give me all of your advice!