Fall is a beautiful time to refresh and find a new groove to finish the year strong. It's the time to find that new daily rhythm after a fun and laid-back summer with the kids, as we dive back into preparations for the holiday season, gathering loved ones, and simply accomplishing those goals we've made before the end of the year. Rhythms can help us simplify our days, be present in the moment, regulate our bodies, and also help us reach our goals, whether they are daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly goals! We are creatures of habit, and I am convinced we were created for routines that help support a healthy lifestyle and a healthy family, thus a happy home+life! Here are some reasons why rhythms and routines are important for you, your health and for your family.
Rhythms create safety
When our bodies are fully relaxed, it's because we feel safe. When rhythms are expected, we can either look forward to them or dread them. It's important that we create rhythms that we look forward to that tell our body that we are safe, thus helping regulate our nervous system and allowing us to come fully filled up, kind, engaged and present with our family. By introducing predictability that feeds our human need for stability and consistency, we create a sense of comfort and safety for not only us but for our whole family. If you or family member in your household is struggling with anxiety, you can try to set up just one daily routine where you all have something to look forward to, and your bodies can come out of the fight/flight response that leads to chronic stress and anxiety. When we teach our bodies to look for safety, we are able to fully relax, heal our nervous system, and show up as our best selves. For example, you can feel the sun on your skin and enjoy that moment, or stop on your walk to smell flowers... basically anything that engages one of your five senses can be an opportunity to find safety. Just like the circadian rhythm, our body thrives on predictability with regular sleep, morning routines, regular meals, play, and also productivity. According to 2023 statistics, 92% of people with a morning routine considered themselves highly productive and a good morning routine is also linked to less stress and boosted mood and energy throughout the day. Especially for us parents, I know from my own experience how important it is to be able to get up before the kids wake up and connect with myself first! Time to start waking up early and create your first rhythm of the day!
Rhythms protect priorities
Effectiveness beats productivity when you create rhythms for your top priorities. Rhythms are less about being productive and more about being effective. You can still be productive but not even touch the priorities at hand, OR you can tell your rhythms to follow your priorities and you are left with effectiveness AND productivity. I remember after I graduated high school, all I wanted to do was run my own schedule. However, I didn't have the tools on prioritizing and knowing my values at the time and it took some discovering in my early 20's. Once I discovered my values, I was able to prioritize and create rhythms to protect those priorities. Now, it's easier for me to recognize my priorities (and non-priorities) because I have built my rhythms around them. Now with kids being a huge priority, I now set up rhythms for my children to enjoy as well, such as crafts and activities we do together, preparing food, going on walks, etc. With kids, we have limited times to connect before it's lunch or nap time, so creating those morning routines can help everyone feel like a priority on a consistent basis! At the same time, it's important that we remain flexible within the routines. It's never going to look perfectly how we want it, so priorities can even help us remain flexible when we can put people first and projects 2nd at times.
Rhythms create longevity
Consistency is key to long term success. This principle applies to a wide range of goals and action-taking. It is said that consistent action creates consistent results, and I will also add, long-term benefits! Just like how daily activity can increase your lifespan, daily rhythms can instill long-term habits that will either make it easier or harder down the road, depending on the type habit that is created. When rhythms are consistent, they are buildable and can help you reach higher goals based on your priorities. When you keep your vision and priorities in mind and in action, then you are unstoppable! I remember when I first built my design business now 11 years ago, and my vision seemed daunting and even overwhelming at times. Now all that daily work I put into it has taught me the importance of consistency and I have been able to build those skills and lessons I have learned.
Are you ready to start creating your daily rhythms? I know as a mother of 3, this is crucial to a happy home+life where I'm able to bring my best self and raise 3 equipped and confident boys who depend on predictability and safety whether it's emotionally, or systematically with routines. There are just 3 things that I use to create my daily, weekly, and even monthly rhythms. They are knowing our values, needs and our likes and dislikes.
If you don't know where to begin, beginning with your values is a great place to start. Sometimes we can prioritize things that in the end don't really matter, so keeping what matters to you in mind will reveal and remind you of what you do or don't want. Maybe nutrition is a huge value for you, so you build into your schedule cooking nutrient-dense meals that nourish your whole family. Too many times I forget to actually make time for cooking, and then I end up pulling out the chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese when I really intended on cooking a dish full of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. To us, connecting with God, ourselves, and each other I would say is our highest priority. So first thing, we try to do the best we can to spend time with God, connect with ourselves and definitely connect with each other every day, and depending on how the day unfolds at times with 3 kids, that might look different. This brings me to my next topic, knowing your needs.
Maybe you have a need for adventure in your life (like me!) Or maybe you have a huge need for rest because of a hard season you are going through. Life is going to be messy no matter what. And just because life is hard and messy doesn't mean that our rhythms need to be perfect and the same every day. As a matter of fact, it's more beneficial to learn how to ebb and flow within our rhythms and our mess, than it is to try to fit our messy life into some rhythm that ends up being frustrating to the point where we want to give up. Recognizing and acknowledging needs help us be able to identify our values and priorities and can even help simplify our rhythms. I have actually structured my week based on my needs and is something I have shared with some of my closest friends who were struggling with their day-to-day purpose and rhythm. Let me give you an example... I have a huge need for creating, so I set up a day where I just get to create. I also have a huge need for play, rest, and finishing a task, so my Friday is for finishing a task, Saturday is for play, and Sunday is for rest. Connecting with family and friends is a value, need, and priority and so I usually set up Wednesdays or Thursdays for connecting, depending on their schedules as well. These are just a few days examples I'm giving you but you can see how even though my whole day for that day may not be mapped out, I have a focus for that day, and it takes the pressure off from getting my whole to-do list done in a day.
Likes & Dislikes
Sometimes we are caught up way too much in the "should's" in life. Responsibilities creep up, relationships and kids come into the picture, and all of a sudden, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like a slave to people pleasing and meeting everyone else before ourselves. Then we forget who we are and disconnect from knowing ourselves and what we actually want. Although this goes hand in hand with needs, knowing what we like can be as vital and a gateway to knowing what we need at times. This can also help us get in tune with our nervous system and help us slow down to real time. When you are doing the dishes, do you like or dislike doing it? Now just because we may not like doing something does not mean we should stop doing it, but it's a great signal and invitation to find a way to make it more enjoyable or perhaps do it at a different time in the day, setting up a different rhythm for that. When I was getting 1-on-1 coaching while going through a lot of transition and motherhood overwhelm, this is something my coach had me do to get back into my body, help me slow down my thoughts and my actions, and help get back to regulating my emotions. Life is filled with the unpredictable, and knowing what we like and dislike will help us learn figure out what works and doesn't work, and to find a rhythm that does work.
Now that you know the why and the how for creating your rhythms, how does your day-to-day breakdown? Or even your mornings, mid-day, and evenings! What do you like to do? What would you want to do? What would help your family thrive? How often do you need it? What is your top priority for that day? Does it support your values? This may feel like you're over-thinking it at first, but trust me, it will come more naturally with practice over time as you begin to develop your rhythm!