I used to think that a routine should stay the same; I used to think that I should find a routine that works, and if I'm lucky enough to uncover it, I'd stick with it. Now I disagree with that idea. I think people are meant to get into a comfortable place in life and then change circumstances--not only to keep life interesting, but to grow as individuals. That's what I've done this summer. I've made some slight adjustments to my hobbies and routine, and the result has been positive.
A couple months ago I bought a camera, and it was one of the best purchases I've made. It was a long overdue purchase, having been interested in photography since childhood and recommended to pursue photography in high school. My degree is in Professional Communication, and while I didn't get the chance to take a college-level course specifically in photography, I worked in a Media Lab and was constantly taking photos for the newspaper. I now haul my camera everywhere I go, and I'm looking forward to taking it on trips to more exotic places. Right now I'm photographing my family and a lot of Wisconsin as we travel around for mountain bike races.
My husband is a newly-avid cyclist, and he's been competing in Category 3 cross-country mountain biking. I started in my early 20's, right before I became pregnant with my first daughter, Audrey. A move, 2 children, and a couple job changes later, I'm where I am today. If I'm lucky I get a chance to go on the trails once per week, or a couple times per month, but I'm going to push through anyway and try my first race in a few weeks.
Routine and Change
My new morning routine is similar to the old, but I was able to shift my hours by 30 minutes; therefore, I have help getting the kids ready and out the door. Although the change was slight, the benefits have been awesome. I'm able to make it to work on time with ease, and I have more energy in the afternoon for a workout.
I now wake up at 4:45 or 5:00 in the morning. I start my day with meditation still, although the way I meditate has gradually evolved, which I like. I used to practice a sitting meditation with focus on breath. Breath still remains important, but I focus now on a mantra. I identify a positive word that will help me throughout the day. I also now incorporate mala beads, which helps me stay on track, and rather than using the tea kettle I use a meditation app called The Mindfulness App. I love and prefer the natural way of using my tea kettle to time myself, but as someone who struggles with staying on task and not getting distracted, the prompts the app gives helps me to focus. I am also able to look back and see how many minutes I've meditated in a given week, and that's motivating to me.
If I have time after the meditation portion of my morning, I do some simple stretches on my (new!) yoga mat. I have it set out at all times in the foyer, so I am not ever using my mat as an excuse not to meditate or stretch in the morning. After that, I drop the girls off at school, and I go to work. On my way to work I have been trying to drive in silence and pay attention to the road. I have a 51-53 minute commute, so this is a challenge, but a calm way to start my day.
After I get home from work, my family and I have been outside as much as possible. Looking back, the only time we have been indoors is if it's raining. I love it! This change has increased my energy and given me an opportunity to workout with newly-found friends. I've been more social in my workouts as a result, and I recommend the buddy system of working out to any social person.
I had a routine that I enjoyed, but for the sake of being productive, I changed it. Two new hobbies that I've been procrastinating on starting have now been incorporated into my life. This change in routine has given me energy to exercise, continue meditating, and essentially improve my life.