How to Make Your 'New Normal' Amazing Using Routines with Melinda O'Rourke
If there is one thing certain about 2020 so far, it's that absolutely nothing else is! The pandemic has thrown us into an unprecedented time and all across the globe this impact is being felt in many different ways. Life has been reconfigured, giving rise to what has become one of the buzz phrases of the year: the "new normal."
Adapting to change is a challenge in itself, let alone settling in to what life looks like during COVID-19 in the face of other stressors such as the health of yourself or loves ones, financial hardships, and a loss of physical human connection that we crave. That is why it's so important now - perhaps more than ever before - to consciously engage in lifestyle practices that ground you and bring you joy!
Need a little help to enhance your "new normal?" Our very own Melinda O'Rourke, founder and pilates instructor behind MORE BODY, swears by the power of routines and shares how to use them to help you light up your daily life and boost your wellbeing amidst the changing tides.
Why routines are key right now
Routines provide a road map, give us sign posts and help us navigate to a destination, I think of a routine as a daily map, with no map we can feel lost or that we have wasted time.
In a world of so much uncertainty, navigating can be overwhelming, so knowing that I meditate, do my exercise, eat my breakfast and schedule times (with my alarm clock.. yes a bit OTT) within my day give me focus, ensure I am 'doing' and not just wasting time or over thinking things. Importantly, all of this provides me with a sense of achievement for actions each day.
Optimise wellbeing by making these part of your routine
- MOVE, MOVE, MOVE - Get that body moving for at least every second day if not every day, min 15-20 minutes (pilates, walking, riding a bike, swimming, yoga, barre, dancing etc). Even when it's cold and dark and raining... or if you're in lockdown, rolling around on your mat, dancing in your bedroom or living room floor for 15 minutes can get the heart rate up and get those endorphins flowing... ANNNNDDDD we know consistent scientific research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.... so count me in to this routine, the benefits are boundless. I like to exercise in the morning as it provides energy and positive vibes to bounce into my day. It is my elixir.
- CONNECT - Reach out to people you know and love. Just a quick call or text can bring a smile to your face and optimise wellbeing.
- HUMOUR - there's a lot of negative news so I follow a few funny people and ensure I laugh every day.
- NOURISH - Eat with purpose and try not to skip meals so you keep your energy levels stable throughout the day.
- RELAX - Winding down at the end of the day is important. Switch off from screens and read a book (I do, always have several on the go.. mood dependent), meditate. Enjoy a bath or shower, plus chamomile or calming tonic to help soothe away any tension and prepare you for a restful sleep.
Melinda's daily routines:
- Meditate - 15-20 minutes.
- Scroll through social media - 20-30 minutes
- Pilates teaching - 5 mornings per week, going to a class physically or via zoom once or twice.
- Eat a nourishing breakfast - Black coffee and breakfast whilst I listen, watch or read the headline news locally and globally. I have a smoothie in summer, winter, I put my own raw muesli together.
- Shower - quick hot one, followed by a 1-2 minute cold shower, everyday.. incredible.
- Relax with a hot drink (chamomile or golden turmeric).
How to cultivate effective, lasting routines to shape your "new normal"
- A STEP AT A TIME - Small bites are more easily digestible. Thinking about climbing to the summit in the first go is more off putting than just walking the first few steps to the hill base. With each step your decision is reinforced and confidence comes and after time it becomes second nature.
- REAFFIRM BENEFITS - I also remind myself about the amazing way I feel after meditating, exercising, having a good breakfast. So if any doubt creeps in... I feel I am missing out (FOMO) so I do it.
- FLEXIBILITY - You can give yourself a day off or two if you don't feel like it. But as the routine is set, you want to get back to it quickly!