The Reset Routine

Do you ever have those weeks that feel so draining and chaotic? I used to feel like that a lot, but a few years ago I started building this habit that I have come to label as a ‘reset routine’. I usually do this on Sunday or Saturday, but when or how you do this routine does not matter as much as the actions you take to reset your day or week.

The reset routine I have come to create is essential for keeping my life in order and my sanity intact. But I understand that creating this routine might sound a bit daunting, but I promise you it does not have to be complex and intricate. All you need to do is carve out a bit of time in your day of choice and you can build your reset routine.

As I mentioned earlier, I usually do this on Sunday because I like the tone it sets for the week. Some weeks I might dedicate only a few hours on Sunday to this reset routine, but most weeks I split up my reset routine to last the entire day. Once you have carved out some time and space to reset your life, it’s time to build a routine that suits your needs.

1)      Reflection & Intentions

First, take a moment to reflect on the past week, the upcoming week and how you are feeling about it all. Before you do any sort of routine it’s important to evaluate where you are mentally, physically, and emotionally. Establishing where you are at can allow you to create a routine that will address your needs. Once I understand what’s happening internally, I take a few minutes to set my intentions for the week.

2)      Clean, Clean, Clean

Second, once you have checked in with yourself, it’s time to start tackling the space around you. I am sure you all know that your physical environment affects your mental and emotional health, which is why it’s important to keep it clean and organized. What I do is make a list of chores that need to get done. Depending on the size of your home, the number of people you are living with and other factors, this might differ for everyone. But creating that list makes the chores tangible, easier to digest and easier to tackle. For many people, including myself, cleaning my physical space helps clear my head, which is why it is the first thing I do. When my space is clean, I can think clearly. 

3)      Plan the Week Ahead

After I finish cleaning, I will move on to planning my week. This step is especially helpful if the week or coming days are going to be hectic. As mentioned in my last post, I love time blocking and find it best to do during my reset routine. Planning the week also allows your brain to anticipate what’s to come and it can start mentally preparing for anything you have to do that week.

4)      Take Care of Yourself

Once your home is tidy and your week is planned, it’s time to focus on yourself. We checked in with ourselves at the beginning of the day, but now it’s important to help ourselves feel whatever we are feeling. I like to carve out an hour or two (more is also great) to journal, do a hobby, meditate, read, or even just sit on the couch and watch a tv show. What I am trying to get at is that during your reset routine, you must listen to what you need. What kind of rest do you think you need? Does your brain need a bit of creative time? Are you feeling lonely, sad, happy? Do you feel like you need to call a loved one? Resetting ourselves for the week requires that we check in with ourselves and that we feel whatever we are feeling and then deal with it accordingly. Some weeks you won’t be able to but feeling the emotions you are feeling is a big step in the right direction.

I hope you try building your reset routine and give yourself some grace. The routine and habits themselves will take time to build, but the more you do this the better you will feel and the more prepared you will feel for the week ahead.  

Time Blocking: The Organization Tool You Need

Working from home has presented a unique set of challenges, whether you are a student, self-employed or an employee. One of the most challenging things I have experienced while working from home is the lack of routine and structure in my day. When we need to leave our house to go to work, school or appointments, it instills in us this idea that we have a place to be, therefore we need to do x,y,z before we leave or when we return. We are creatures of habit and routine, so when our normal day to day routine was abruptly thrown out the window because of the pandemic, it became difficult to jump into the new normal.

One of the ways that I dealt with this as a student was by time blocking. It is not a new phenomenon, but it honestly got me through my last semester. I did not realize how much I needed a sense of structure and routine to accomplish the tasks I needed to do. Time blocking also gave me a sense of control over the week or month ahead of me. This is why, I want to share with you all just a basic way you can time block your day to day living, and hopefully it will help you be more disciplined and productive.

*Please note that I am using google calendar, but any calendar will do! Even a piece of paper and a pen will work.

1) Non-negotiables

I first start by plugging in the basics of my week ahead. In the spirit of creating a routine, I even go so far as to plug in my designated lunch break, what time I want to get up and any classes or appointments I might have this week. Start your time blocking by adding in things that you consider essential is a fundamental way to encourage you to incorporate habits you want to develop. For example, you could also include time for a workout, calling a loved one or a friend, meditation, journaling, etc. It’s important to understand that by plugging in your non-negotiables, you are acknowledging that they are important, but you are also prioritizing them in your everyday life.

2) Add in your Priorities

At the beginning of each week, I find it helpful to write out a list of priorities. This establishes what needs to get done first and is more important. Take a few moments to jot down what needs to get accomplished this week, and then add in the tasks in decreasing order of importance. Now that you understand what is important you can begin carving out time in your week to work on these tasks.

3) Add in Breaks/Chill Time

Life gets chaotic and hectic—that much is inevitable, but you must allow yourself the time to relax and do things that you like. As you can see down below, I have included time to work on my blog and even dedicated a portion of my morning to just chilling and relaxing. Not everyone can do that, and most weeks I can’t either, but on days when I can’t, I try to schedule a break, which can be seen in yellow. This is what the finished schedule looks like:

4) Add some colour

When it comes to good old pen and paper, I usually tend to stick with black or blue ink. But when looking at a screen, I need as much colour as possible to fully understand where I am spending most of my time and energy. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing for the eye, but it’s also useful when you get to the end of your week. At the end of the week, analyze the colours used and the tasks you did. Did you spend a lot of time doing one type of thing? Did you include enough breaks? Does your schedule need to be more flexible or perhaps more disciplined? Colour coding allows you to see where you might be spending too much time and how you could deal with that.

I hope those tips helped you, and I hope you consider trying time blocking! Sometimes doing a full week can be intimidating try mapping out one day at a time and see how it affects your life.

If you have any other tips to share about time blocking, make sure to leave them in the comments down below!

Coping with a New Reality

Coping with a new reality is hard. There are days when I wake up and I do not want to do anything; I just want to give up on the world and life. But then there are days when I wake up and I have energy, but I do not know where to put it so instead I do nothing all day. I want to remind you all that either or any way you are passing your days during this time, is perfectly okay.

There are some days where I think I have accepted this new normal, but there are other days where I cannot believe we are living through this.
I miss certain aspects of my “normal” life that I do not have anymore. I miss going to school and sitting in a classroom. I miss going for coffee with my friends, going to work and taking the metro. I miss things that I never thought I would miss. I feel as if so much has been taken away from me and from the world and it truly hurts to think about it for too long.

I have found there are a few things we can do to try and cope or get used to this new reality. It’s hard for everyone. Suddenly we can’t do what we used to, we can’t go places and some of us are not even allowed to leave the house. But life is all about adapting to situations that are out of our control, which is what I am trying to do and what I wanted to share with you all.

One of the ways I am trying to adapt to the new reality I am living in is by keeping a structure or routine in my days. It is not as rigid or structured as it used to be, but it still gives me something to do at a specific time. For example, I have kept my morning routine, but I have adapted it a bit because I have a lot of extra time now that I didn’t have before. My morning routine now allows me to read in the morning, to take my time doing my makeup if I even feel like it that day. I took my morning routine from before the pandemic and adapted it to my current situation. Keeping a routine and structure gives me the stuff to do in the morning and encourages me to get the day going but also at a more relaxed pace that I couldn’t enjoy before all of this.

Another way I am trying to adapt to my new reality is by trying new hobbies or finally getting around to things I always said I did not have time to do. This is not a call for you to be the most productive person ever and start a business if you want to go ahead, but this is just to add a little distraction and fun into my day. At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to learn how to do calligraphy. I bought the books and then pens, but of course, as of mid-January they just sat there collecting dust. When this all began, I dusted it off and just started doing a little bit every day for pure fun. Allow yourself to engage with something you consider fun.

Lastly, I have been adapting to this reality by not looking at what I can’t do anymore. I know at the beginning of this post I listed all the things I can’t do anymore but to cope with this new reality, I have been looking at what I can do now that I could not before. Do keep in mind, if you have the opportunity to focus like this, it is a privilege. I can now talk to my friends so much more then I did before because we all have the time. I can hang out with my family and watch movies. I can read more and write more. I can watch Netflix without stressing, all things I could not do before. If you are lucky enough to be in this situation, then embrace it. Embrace the now and what you can do today and do not focus on what will happen in the future, just focus on what your reality is like today.

Coping with the new reality is hard and honestly, it takes a lot of time. If you can do so, try keeping some sort of routine form before the pandemic and adapt it to the time you have now. Second, try something new and try to have moments of fun throughout your week. Lastly, focus on what you can do now that you did not have time to do before or just didn’t allow yourself to do.

This new reality will take time but keep going and try everything under the sun to make the days better for you.