Autumn Reset - A quick way to regain some organisation and calm
Every year the month of September feels like a new beginning for me. It's the most appropriate time to reset routines and focus on a few small things I'd like to achieve every day. The spontaneous, sometimes chaotic, nature of the summer holidays are over and I'm craving the return of structure. What helps me achieve this is to set some new non negotiables for every day. I'm not sure I like the name 'non-negotiables' but I can't think of anything else. September is also a perfect time to reset past ones that were set but have fallen by the way side (often due to the lack of a normal routine during the summer holidays!). For me, it's a really effective way of clawing back some organisation and balance, taking charge of the day whilst looking after my own mental and physical health. I also feel like a better person for those around me.
If you've found the summer holiday period stressful, as I have in the past, or feelings of stress are creeping in now that we are in September ('Stresstember is a real phenomenon!) please read on. This may prove a useful exercise for you but you don't need to do it in September. You may prefer to do it anytime of the year that seems right for you.
So what are daily non negotiables?
These are small habits which are positive, enriching and sustainable in day to day life. They could be a boundary, an activity or habit you are committed to doing every day. All of which will help you to feel more in control of your life and lower your stress levels. I'd suggest five is a realistic number to weave into your day. Any more and it might feel like a chore which defeats the purpose. They don't need to be big or fancy and you certainly don't need to buy a new shiny notebook to write them in, unless you really want to. I always find it's best to choose pretty regular things that you want to do. They may be things that you've done from time to time but not consistently and you really want them to stick. They must, however, be realistic, specific and achievable.
Perhaps you want a more organised morning or evening routine or you would like to improve the meals you eat. It could be that you want to become better at caring for yourself or you want to aim for a certain amount of hours sleep each night. Limiting screen time might be your need or spending time alone. You might wish to focus on work and decide that there is something you'd like to establish or change. Or it could simply be making your bed every day!
Whatever they are, they should be unique to you in order to really work. Don't spend too much time thinking about what yours will be, you don't want this to become a mammoth task. Write them down so you can refer to them often.
So what am I doing?
First, let me share my non-negotiables for the past year:
Drinking 2 litres of water
Taking my supplements
Reading (for pleasure) for 20 minutes
Enjoying 30 minutes of activity (exercise/movement)
Connecting with a friend
Are they now part of my daily routine? Most of them, yes... Two have dwindled over the summer holidays. I love reading and try to have a book or two on the go. But since I've been back from my holiday I've hardly picked up a book in four weeks. I enjoy reading and want to get stuck into another great read so it will go back on my list. Plus my exercise/activity was pretty sporadic during the first part of the summer holidays. I've been making strides to get this back on track. So this will be carried forwards to ensure it''s lasting. Everything else is very well established to the point that I don't have to give them much thought.
My non-negotiables for the next year are:
Lemon, ginger and hot water (on waking up) - A source of many health benefits including hydration, digestion and a source of vitamin c). I was doing this every morning before the summer holidays and somehow let it slip.
Bed by10.30pm - This has got later over the past six weeks and I know, I feel so much better when I have good quality sleep, especially when some of it is before midnight.
Reading for 15 minutes (for pleasure)
At least 20 min activity/exercise each day (with set days to go to the gym) - Some days will be longer than 20 minutes but that is the minimum.
Stretching on waking and before bed - To keep some aches and pains at bay.
There are also some weekly activities I want to re-establish:
Planning meals and workouts/activity for the week ahead
Setting specific days to complete regular household chores i.e. cleaning, ironing, etc.
Do you think you would benefit from doing this exercise yourself?
Have you lost a grip on your routine or want to set a new one? Are you longing for some structure or a chance to focus on you? Give it a go! But don't be hard on yourself if something doesn't stick. Maybe it wasn't the right thing for you in the first place. Swap it out for something else. There is no point trying and failing to keep a non negotiable going if it feels like a chore or is negatively impacting your life. Our lives shift and change from time to time and we may need to adapt to ensure our routines and habits still serve us well.
I really do believe that by establishing 'easy to do' daily non negotiables it is possible to see and feel daily life improve.
Let me know if you're planning on trying this out.
Thanks for reading.