thoughts on self-care, part 2: rituals

December 13, 2012

[part 1:  the basics]

checking in
hi.  so a couple of weeks ago, i wrote the above treatise on goals to help me feel a little bit less tired and a little bit more . . .me.  with annabel sleeping better [except last night . . . or at least i hope it was some sort of bizarre exception], i am finding myself with more time on my hands yet with energy that tends to wax and wane — and a rather fragmented consciousness.

i wrote about focusing on the basics:  fitting in exercise regularly again, eating better, and getting enough sleep.

the good news?  i’ve flipped my schedule upside down, and so far it has been wonderful.  more sleep [again, except last night . . .], better energy for workouts, and a day that just seems to flow more naturally.  i.e.: no more 8 pm endorphin rushes to mess with my natural rhythms.  this week, for example —

monday:  8-ish hours of sleep.  20 minute interval run [2.25 mi, alternating 2 minute bursts of 7.1 – 7.5 mph with recovery jogs at 6.0]

tuesday:  between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep.  5 mi easy run [48:00]

wednesday:  fragmented sleep and no workout, but due to a bad night for poor a [she has a cold].  i am planning on doing my planned session with jillian tomorrow AM, assuming tonight goes better.

the bad?  i’m still ODing on sugar.  that is not the focus of this post.  but i am vowing to work on it!

with the idea of stepping back and sort of . . . refocusing, i’ve been thinking about the rituals and habits in my life.  when you think about it, our lives really do follow an incredibly repetitive flow.  i do nearly the same things every morning before work, similar things at work, and yep — even after work.

of course, there are variations.  there are good ones:  lunches out, celebrations, or a surprise call from a friend.  and inevitably there are those negative surprises like illness or bad news that take us away from our routines.

but for the most part, there’s a lot of the same old, same old.  which sounds bad, but i actually don’t mind it!  i just need to really make sure that the ‘same old’ is what i want it to be.  with annabel in the picture, i think i got a little bit off my game in terms of paying attention to how i am using the precious 168 hours each week, and therefore i would like to focus on my current rituals — which ones are worthy of protecting, and which should probably go.

just off the top of my head . . .

i send josh a picture of annabel every morning during our [usually short] playtime.  lately, i’ve been getting everything ready [her bottles/food, my lunch, etc] and then taking my breakfast and coffee to eat in her room while she play on the carpet.  that way, she can roam free but i can talk to her and still eat a somewhat leisurely meal.  and she always does something cute that i feel is worth capturing and sending to josh, who loves receiving them.  definitely a keeper.  

yesterday’s pic-o’-the-day

✔ i will procrastinate in little spurts by turning to the internet.  if i don’t want to do something:  pump, go to sleep, etc — i inevitably turn to facebook and various blogs.  i LOVE my blog reading time, but i would rather it be an intentional sort of thing, not a ‘filler’.  something to try avoiding.

✔ a’s bedtime routine.  right now, we start doing dinner at about 6:30, and then it’s bath –> lotion/changing/brush teeth/vit D/brush hair –> 2 or 3 books –> nurse –> sleep.  i like the routine itself, but i’ve found myself noticing that i have a decent amount of anxiety surrounding it.  i will wonder if i’m timing it right, whether i’m feeding her the right amount, whether she’ll cry when i’m getting her changed, whether she will get enough milk, or whether she will fall asleep.  and in truth, ALMOST all of the time [forget last night . . .] it goes incredibly smoothly.  i want to keep this routine but focus on ENJOYING it rather than worrying about things.  

reading.  i love, love, LOVE when i make the time to do this before bed, even if it’s just 10 minutes.  keep, and do it more consistently.  

cooking dinner.  actually, this one varies a fair bit, depending on whether we’re having leftovers, and if josh will make it home at a reasonable hour [lately:  not usually.  but this will improve immensely in january when he goes off service!].  however, i admit that my usual cooking routine is rushed and not all that much fun.  i LOVED using the slow-cooker on monday — so convenient — and i think making a habit of doing this will make things better.  i also think i need to do more prep ahead of time — either on the weekends, or even the night before when we’re having leftovers.  i still want to cook, but the logistics are still a work in progress.  

✔ checking email.  i do this far, FAR too often as a matter of routine.  it’s all about that incredibly powerful variable interval reinforcement.  i KNOW it takes away from my general presence and fragments my time and attention.  i would like to stop doing this — which will likely require constructing a better email routine.  

rushing.  i hate to admit this, but i know it’s true:  i tend to fall into the habit of rushing as a matter of routine.  and for years, i know that it is one thing that takes away from my happiness more than anything else.  i’m hyperaware of time — perhaps TOO aware — and yet i so badly want to cram in as much as i can into the day, and i often end up not leaving enough time for things to be done in a calm and enjoyable manner.  this applies to several of the items above, such as making dinner, prepping to leave in the AM, and even my time with annabel.  my ultimate goal in this realm is to figure out how to approach life in a more even, mindful pace.  i’ve wanted this for a long time, but i think that as a parent it is even more crucial that i learn to make this shift.  i would like to make it a matter of routine to NOT rush.  

so, these are all things i’ve been thinking about.  i realize that i can’t really focus on changing all of them at once, but maybe i’ll work on one at a time.  thoughts?  suggestions?  routines of your own that you love [or hate]?  i’m always looking for inspiration.


  • Reply Lee March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    I actually really like it when I do the same old, same old and get rather flustered when there is a change to my routine. This is not a helpful answer at all, but I just thought about it. I went to a concert last night and while it was fun, it threw me into a tailspin because I couldn’t get my usual things done.

    I totally forgot about this but just thought of it when you asked for routines of your own that you love. Back when Jason worked different hours, he would get home from work pretty much right when I was settling down to sleep. We’d call the dog into the bed for "adoration time," which was just us petting the dog and talking about our days. I miss that.

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    I think our brains are seriously on the same wavelength b/c I have been thinking a lot about rituals, routines, things that waste too much time, things I want to work on, things to throw out the window, etc.

    You seem to be off to a great start. Gotta identify the different areas first and then commit to making healthy changes. I think focusing on one at a time is much more attainable and a lot less likely to wear you down.

    I totally procrastinate by turning to the internet/blogs/FB/Pinterest etc. Working on this too!

  • Reply Kerry H March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    I’m a total lurker but I LOVE reading your blog!!
    I was reading through your list of goals and was thinking that the best way you’ll be able to feel if you’re successful is if they are measurable goals. I’m not sure the best way for you to do that with all of them but one example I was thinking was that perhaps during A’s bedtime routine, you could limit yourself to checking your watch or the clock or your cell phone for time to only twice. And to just be strong with yourself after that second time and think "okay, I allowed myself to look at the clock twice and know that I’m on schedule so now it’s time to be present with A and enjoy this time together to it’s fullest!" I feel like after the first couple of times you might find yourself not so preoccupied with wondering what time it is. I hope that’s helpful – if not, disregard! 🙂 I just always find myself needing a way to measure my goal to know if I’ve really achieved it. Good luck!

  • Reply Marci March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    I feel like I am always rushing too. I joke that if i’m not doing at least two things at once, I’m not doing enough. I also have noticed the constant rushing, feeling behind and never caught up and I am trying to remind myself that nothing will happen if I am a few minutes late, or if something gets put off to the next day.
    We turned to a slow cooker a few months ago but never loved, or even liked anything I made. We need some help with it.

  • Reply Mary Beth March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I am definitely a rusher and a (far too) frequent e-mail checker too, so I can relate. I think taking a deep breath and trying to be present is helpful sometimes. (It’s also helpful to have a super laid back significant other, who tries to get me to calm down when I, for example, get upset that we picked the less-efficient route to getting somewhere.)

    What pens are you using with your life planner? I’m procrastinating starting to write stuff in mine (which doesn’t start til January, so I have a bit of time) because I feel this crazy intense pressure to find the perfect set of pens (to color code things, of course)…I think you can probably relate!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      looove this question 🙂

      i use a combo of Hi-Tec C pens (I have a colored pack and lots of black) and also Staedlter Triplus Fineliners when I need a thicker line. I actually don’t’ have any sort of logical color coding system from week to week – I just make it pretty!

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