How to Reflect and Reset on Your Routines
You’re not alone if your days have blurred together over the past year and a half. We have collectively navigated a global pandemic, increased mental health distress, and so many things in between—and it’s been hard.
A big piece of life that so many of us relied on as we waded through unprecedented grief and stress was our rituals and routines. When we entered this time, we were forced to abandon the habits we held onto before—or we were forced to create entirely new ones to help moor us through the chaos. Old rituals were reshaped, new ones were reborn, and some self-care habits were understandably discarded altogether.
But taking a look back to reflect and reset on what rituals and routines served us (or didn’t!) is an important step in understanding the rituals and routines we can rely on in the future and all the accompanying uncertainties that lie ahead.
Routines provide a structure that can help ease stress.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you take inventory of what your routines look like today—and how you can adjust them to benefit you in the future too.
Lead with your values
Whether you realize it or not, your values help ground your everyday moves. During the pandemic and amidst so much loss, many of us reaffirmed what our values were.
Prioritizing the rituals and routines that support those values is an important part of your self-care practices.
Give yourself permission to dig deep and name your values. To get started, ask yourself: What about life is important to me? Keep digging for the why if you need to narrow it down, then use your imagination to brainstorm how that value can become part of your day-to-day.
For example: If community is something you hold close to your heart, examine how community care can be a priority for you. Maybe it’s checking in with the Shine Squad more, giving someone you love a call or volunteering at a cause you care about. Use this reflection period as a chance to dream big–and don’t be afraid to recalibrate your values whenever you need a reset
It’s OK to start small
Now that you’ve dreamed big while leading with your values, it’s important to remember that it’s OK to break things down and take things on, one at a time.
By breaking down your ideal routines into manageable chunks, it will be easier to show up for yourself with self-compassion—and that’s a fundamental component of creating sustainable habits. Plus, research shows that there’s a lot of power in small wins: They can help you get to that goal with success.
Give yourself permission to ease your way into those dream routines, and know it’s always OK to adjust if things don’t feel right. And as you build your way up to those goals, don’t forget to celebrate the progress you make by honoring the small steps you’ve taken to get there.
Don’t know where to start? Try taking a ‘“now” step by reflecting on the things you can do today that will lead you to your goals. However small they might be, challenge yourself to get them done and build from there.
Let go of perfection
There’s no right or wrong way to reflect on your routines—or bring those rituals into your life—and finding ways to remember that can help you battle any comparison traps or fear when it comes to starting something new.
If those thoughts continue to stop you from committing to a self-care routine, try asking yourself: How might I treat a friend in this situation? Most likely, it’s with self-compassion and forgiveness. Give yourself permission to apply that same answer to your own life.
Build in check-in time with yourself
When you prioritize regular time to reflect and check in with yourself, you might find that you’re able to adjust your routines to fit your present needs instead of trying to make a self-care routine from years ago work for future-you.
Set aside time and use it to catalog the routines you have in place. Then, move through them—either in your journal or in your head—and ask yourself if they fit in with your values or your goals. Then, take time to reprioritize the rituals that do serve you.
Whether you repeat that process once a week, once a month, or once a year, know that it’s always OK to leave behind things that don’t work and make space to try new things. You might find out something new about yourself in the process, too.
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