Routine… what a boring word. It’s connected to something ever repeating, something I have to do, “I must”, “I should”… Something that I want to break out of. Be free of. Surprising then that the usage of the word in context of personal growth and improvement of self has exponentially increased. “Change your routine to be finally successful!”, “Your daily routine this and your daily routine that!”… The ultimate self-care! Just like that, silently and sneaky, through millions and millions of instagram posts, youtube videos and articles, what is supposed to teach us self-love has turned into a claw, a repeating thought, like a little electro shock, catching us off-guard whenever we just want to chill after a long day. It is now a… ROUTINE!
“If I don’t do it I will never be successful / …I will never be skinny / …I will never this or that” or “I am lazy / I am not good enough / I wish I was more…” We can all fill in the blanks with our personal little vicious spiral of self-judgement.
Let’s first look at the word routine. I love to look at words to understand the meaning behind, maybe giving it new significance through old origins. The origin is the French word route (f.), meaning a road or a path. Synonyms for routine are pattern and duty, also predictable. So, yes, there are the “have to”s and “I must”s. What if we switch to the word practice? Aha! Here we enter a different energy. It can mean knowledge, training, experience. Also discipline and drill, yes. But process and approach as well. And this is exactly what I feel so nourishing about a healthy routine, may it be morning, day or night: The essential need for adaptation and a feeling for what our body and soul need.
A set of practices can be activities we love to do, which give us inspiration, that fill us with sparks of joy or that calm us down after an eventful day can be the nicest, most valuable gift to ourselves. It is not something that we have to follow like a slave, to hold on to a schedule that we imposed on ourselves with no mercy because if not we are… See above… Where does that lead us? To frustration and self-punishment. And reluctance to ever do that activity again that we once chose full of motivation. If we get stuck with the “I have to” and “I should”, then…
There will be days when we feel low and tired and aching. No sense in forcing ourselves through a Ashtanga Yoga Class or running 10 miles because we tell ourselves that this is our routine now and we better stick to it, losers! No. A healthy routine catches us softly in the state in which we are and offers us a range of beloved possibilities. When we perceive a routine not as something unchanging but as something that asks us to adapt, to be creative – it changes the whole story. We need spontaneity and adaption to stay with a our practices, the same our life requires, day by day. We are human beings whose needs and desires change every day, maybe even in 5 minutes!
So it’s more helpful and important to have a range of tools and inspirations with which we can help ourselves out of a hole, out of laziness or sadness, rather than expecting to press all those beautiful practices into the 24 hours of one day. We are not super humans as so many medias want to make us believe we have to be. A set of practices like a Morning or Night Routine can give hold, can support, can bring us closer to the things we love especially if we can’t or don’t want to rely on somebody else to give us that kind of reassurance. A healthy routine palette can teach and inspire us to help ourselves rather than rely on others or distractions like scrolling or binging. Our creativity is limitless!
Yes, some things unfold their healing and strengthening effects with time and discipline. They need endurance. And patience. Especially with ourselves. Remember why you chose all those beautiful practices in first place and start again from there.
Thank you for allowing this post into your life. I hope and I wish you a beautiful journey of learning and loving yourself!