#92: Rhythms of Renewal: Restarting Routines Amidst a Winter Pause

Feb 1, 2024 | Podcast

It’s time to get back into a routine.

The body works in patterns and habits, so when it’s spent some time being out of sorts because of schedule changes or downtime, as has been the case for me a lot recently with winter break and an obnoxious number of snow days, how do you return to the sense of normalcy or routine that keeps you thriving?

In this episode, I’ll share with you…

1. How to know when you need to invite more routine into your life or back into your life
2. Why routines, patterns and habits actually create expansion and freedom in your life
3. How to balance routine with flow

 

Rhythm of Renewal

I took a bit of a break to be with my family and to truly be present with my family. But as I’ll tell you in this episode, it’s time to get back into a routine.

Everyone talks about how the new year is the time to start new habits… to set resolutions and jump head first into them. But generally that momentum goes until about the 3rd week into January, then comes to an abrupt halt or fizzles because, let’s face it, lifestyle changes are hard.

They take courage, discipline and persistence. And if you don’t have someone holding you accountable, they can feel downright impossible. And if you have no sense of routine or pattern in your life, I’m sorry to break it to you , but that new habit or resolution is bound to fail. I know that may not be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. So if you don’t have a daily routine or habit that supports you living the life you want to be living, what are the ways you can begin to invite one.

For those of you who generally do have routines or patterns that support you living your best life, but have fallen out of them because it may have felt like the forces of nature have been conspiring against you since about mid-December with the holidays, weather, and no-school days, this is your reminder that…

 

1. Nature really has been trying to tell you something… that it’s OK to slow down and enjoy the true attributes that winter brings — recovery form busy-ness and outward production.

And

2. This is your nudge to start to get back to those routines and start to invite a subtle shift in increased energy into your life.

 

You might already be noticing, depending on where you are, that we are indeed seeing a bit more daylight, which is a blessing, but we’re not out of that winter blues time frame yet.

P.S. If you haven’t ordered yourself a Happy Light yet, here’s the link to the one I use daily this time of year in the show notes. In my experience, it does indeed work to improve mood and energy this time of year.

Last year I learned from our CSA farmer (check out one of our conversations here) that our chicken’s egg production would pick up around Valentine’s Day because that’s generally when there is a noticeable increase in daylight. And sure as heck, on February 14, last year, our chickens laid more eggs than they had in months. So stay encouraged because that’s right around the corner. And in the meantime, use watching the sky as the sun sets in the evening as a mindfulness practice.

 

Now is the time to start gently inviting those routines and habits back into your life.

Personally, I enjoyed the downtime I had with my family and kids, even some of the unexpected snow days, but eventually, my body spoke back. It’s been telling me for a few weeks that my creative expression needs to be let back out there in the world.

 

How did I know this?

Because my neck and shoulders were extremely tight and it literally felt like energy was stuck right in that area of my body…. the area that most closely aligns with the 5th Chakra, or the energy center right around our throat. AKA the vocal center and center for expression.

My body was telling me that it was done with the lack of routine. Done with the lack of schedule. Done with nurturing everyone else’s needs and desires except my own. I am a creative being (as we all are and were made to be, even if you don’t feel like you have a creative bone in inside of you… you might have just become an expert at covering it up), and even though, yes, that can be expressed when playing with my kids or being with my family, it’s just not the same as when I get to express in this way. In the way that comes from writing and speaking from my heart to people who aren’t under the age of 10 and living in my own house.

 

Has your body ever screamed something like this to you before?
And did you listen?

The body works in patterns and habits, so when it’s spent some time being out of sorts because of schedule changes or downtime, there comes a time when you need to recognize that the lack of schedule or routine may be causing your body to fight back or may be keeping you feeling stuck. It’s about remembering or reminding your body what it needs to do to thrive.

 

This is true not only in the daily activities you do, but also when it comes to optimal breathing technique and spiritual connection. When you are disconnected from the rhythm of life rather than feeling it and experiencing it with your body instead of just your mind or over-thinking self, your breath gravitates towards what you’ve learned to be easiest… often shallow breathing that leads to more anxiety, worry or stress, leading to ignoring the connection with the highest or spiritual self to simply go through the motions of the demands that life places on you.

 

Remembering Who You Are

When you step into taking ownership of your thoughts and actions, you begin the process of remembering who you are.

Remembering who’s underneath the layers of armor that you’ve built up over the years as a warrior and beginning to lay that armor down. You begin to uncover the inner child whose innocence, tenderness, curiosity, and creativity is begging to come out and play.

 

Routines help you thrive because no conscious thought is needed… you expend less energy on non-essential things because you know what to expect. That’s not to say that you allow whatever you’re doing to become mindless; placing intention behind or knowing your intention for the routines and patterns you keep certainly elevates the connection with them.

 

But having baseline routines create non-negotiables, and lower the pressure and noise in your world that keep you disconnected. And by doing so, your mind can begin to tune inward toward deepening whatever it is you are doing or do it with more focus and less distraction.

It’s why I taught 1 single yoga sequence for years… it removed the external noise and allowed for the creation inner focus and calm. Now I have since understood that along with routine needs to come the ability to invite the feminine, flow and softness into routine including a yoga practice, but more on that in a moment.

 

The body finds calm with routine.

Just consider how you feel when you’re in a room with, let’s just say 3 kids, and they’re all moving about doing their own thing while you’re trying to relax and read a book or watch a movie. As compared to when you’re sitting in a room with no one else or perhaps only 1 other person who is equally as engaged in a book or movie with you.

When surrounded by chaos, the body feels that energy. But when routine and a pattern is in place, the body can more easily feel safe and calm. With limits, the nervous system knows what to expect so it can operate from a ventral vagal state, which basically means it is operating from a place of optimal engagement… within the window of tolerance where even if a stressful situation arises, it can flow and adapt without becoming completely overwhelmed.

Just like we function best when our outward actions fall within a pattern or routine, our brain is actually wired to create pattern and routine within the body. This is partially why we feel so comfortable when we have that structure within our days.

 

The body naturally gravitates toward routines and patterns because it seeks to find the most efficient way to do anything… even if that way isn’t contributing to you experiencing life as your best self. Consider a time when you may have injured yourself, remember how your body adjusted accordingly so that that injured part could be nurtured or protected? Your body does that because it wants you to keep functioning in the most efficient way possible, even if it means without using a part of the body, which in turn has the potential to create the pattern of overcompensating or engaging other muscles that create a different discomfort in the body.

 

It takes finding the balance in both the routine or habit and allowing for the flow and adaptability to happen.

The body-mind seeks routine and habit in order to thrive, and when that routine and habit is missing, it can feel like you are floating aimlessly through the wind with no particular direction. But when there is too much rigidity, too much structure and no room to adapt or flow, it can feel like you’re stuck in a box and can’t move forward.

 

So how do you invite routine with flow? You…

1. Focus on the rhythm you want by setting an intention
2. Listen to your inner guidance to create a plan and put the structure in place
3. Own your thoughts and actions by committing to yourself to following the plan
4. Witness what happens and how you need to adapt as the natural events in life happen

 

And when something tries to pull you out of routine, you start the process all over again. It’s my FLOW process, and it’s the way to cultivate greater health, harmony and happiness in your life.

 

It requires BOTH routine and adaptability.

Habits and routines lower pressure and noise in life so we can thrive instead of just get by. They take the decisions out of life that create pressure and tension and keep us stuck, unfocused and feeling “blah” or like chaos has taken over.

When you create the right habits and routines that foster connection with yourself, you free yourself up to enjoy the other connections in your life more.

 

And that’s what greater health, harmony and happiness is all about in my mind. It’s not pushing others away with rigidity and over-busyness, but instead, enjoying the intentional, essential work to be done AND creating fulfilling experiences through connection with self and others in life.

So if your routine has gone away for whatever reason, whether it’s just been for a brief season or one that’s been lingering for quite some time, this is your nudge. Your nudge to begin to find your rhythm once again. And if you need help doing that, I’m an email away. I’d love to hear from you.

 

If you found this episode helpful or think that someone else might, I’d be so grateful if you shared it or this show with someone else. Cultivating greater health, harmony and happiness is not something that can be done in a silo, it takes the support of a community and the vulnerability to share and ask for support when you need it. In full transparency, I’m not always great at doing this. In fact, I’m pretty rotten at it. But, it’s one of my intentions this year to get better at it, and that means I want to grow this community of Health Harmony and Happiness followers so that no one does have to go it alone or feel alone in the process of uncovering what health harmony and happiness looks like for them.

So, please, I encourage you to invite even just one other person to come along for the ride as we set out to start a Health, Harmony, Happiness movement that changes lives for generations to come.

Resources:

Register for the winter session of in-person yoga + breathwork classes at our local studio here.

Verilux® HappyLight® Luxe – Light Therapy Lamp*
*This is an affiliate link so if you end up purchasing , I receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Breathe to Flow 30-minute Virtual Weekly Breathwork Class

Daily Rhythms Tracker

How We Feel App (Android)

How We Feel App (iPhone)

Sun Salutation Guided Downloadable Video

To get started with your yoga practice, you’ll need a mat!  Here’s the only yoga mat I recommend.

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More episodes like this one:

#52: Intention-setting for Focus in Life, Energetic Rhythms Phase 1

#50: Stuck in Motion vs. Taking Action

#25: A Food Adventure with Blue Gate Farm

Disclosure:  Because I like connecting others with resources that I have used and found to work well in my life, I want to be completely transparent with you.  Some of the links within this post are affiliate links from Amazon; as an Amazon Associate I earn  from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I only promote products that align with my values and with what I truly believe to work, not because of the commission I receive on them. So if you do decide to purchase something from one of these links, thank you!

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