4 Weeks to Build A Meaningful Routine To Sustain You
Theresa Polley
January 2, 2023
February 28, 2024
Year of Self Care

Kick off your Year of Self Care by creating a routine that will sustain you—physically, mentally and emotionally.

A routine allows you to take time to care for yourself and sets you up to successfully reach your goals and accomplish tasks. In Ayurveda, a routine is an essential part of our physical, emotional and mental wellness. Here are a few more health benefits of a routine

“We are what we repeatedly do.” ~ Aristotle

Week 1: Avoid Picking Up Your Phone First Thing in the Morning

When you pick up your phone upon waking up you slip into reaction – to messages, news, and social media. On the other hand, when you take time for yourself first, you are able to start your day mindfully which allows you to be present and more likely to respond (instead of react).

Take 5 Minutes For Yourself

When you wake up, instead of reaching for your phone, take 5 minutes for yourself. Here’s what you can do with that time:

  • From Bed: look out the window, make a gratitude list in your head, read, journal, pray, meditate.
  • Out of Bed: drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, wash your face, make coffee.

Whether you want to do the same thing each day or mix it up, find what you enjoy. When you begin your day mindfully, you set yourself up for success by responding to what comes your way, instead of reacting (or overreacting!)

Week 2: Set a Daily Intention

Intentions help you to cultivate or prioritize the tone of your day and your life. Intentions are especially helpful on days when you face unexpected challenges. When you set an intention for your day, you are practicing mindfulness and purposefully choosing how you want to live today. 

Try Out These Intentions

Try to focus your intention on something that is not task-oriented, but rather more of a quality or state of mind. Here are some intentions for you to try:

  • Today I intend to be present.
  • My intention is to practice patience today.
  • I intend to give myself grace today.
  • My intention today is to be kind.

If you’re feeling short on time, set your daily intention during the 5 minutes you’ve started taking for yourself first thing in the morning. 

Week 3: Create Your Personal Schedule

Routines and schedules are complementary to one another. Scheduling time for daily activities may feel mundane but it actually helps to improve your focus, organization and productivity and gives you a foundation in times of uncertainty and stress.

Focus on 3 Things

Don’t worry about creating the “perfect” schedule or following your schedule strictly, and avoid scheduling every daily activity. Instead, focus on these 3 pillars before trying to add anything else:

  • Sleep: Schedule your bedtime and alarms for the same time every day – even on weekends. Incorporating a bedtime routine will also teach your body that it’s time to go to sleep, allowing you to get the sleep you need.
  • Meals: Ayurveda teaches that taking food before true hunger returns leads to poor digestion. While at least three hours is generally suggested, you can maintain your “digestive fire” based on your specific dosha. 
    Kapha: Two meals around 10:00 am and 6:00 pm
    Pitta: Three meals around 7:30 am, 12:30 pm and 6:00 pm
    Vata: Five meals around 7:00 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm
  • Exercise: You know that exercise is good for you, but if it’s not part of your daily routine it can be easy to skip. If regular exercise isn’t already part of your routine, set aside 10 minutes to start small – something as simple as walking around your block once a day. 

Week 4: Make Downtime a Priority

Did you know downtime is essential for your mental health? Plus, it can increase your ability to concentrate, improve your mood and boost your performance. The key, though, is to take actual downtime – not just binging TV shows or scrolling through social media. 

How to Enjoy Downtime

You don’t need a long period of time to be able to enjoy some downtime. Simply set your alarm to remind yourself to take breaks for the amount of time you have. Focus on activities that require little to no brain power for you. Here are some suggestions:

  • 5 minutes or less: lie on the floor and daydream, listen to a short guided meditation, sit and observe your breath
  • More than 5 minutes: go on a walk and observe nature, chop veggies for dinner, listen to a long guided meditation, paint/sew/draw something. 

Evaluate Your Routine

Some days you may stick to your routine and other days it’s right out the window. Give yourself grace. At the end of the month, take a few minutes to tweak your routine. What worked and what didn’t work? The right routine is life-changing, leaving you feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally.

When the rest of your life seems out of your control, your routine will always be your safe place to find yourself again. 

Come Back For More

This collection is part of our Year of Self Care Guide. Each month, you'll find a new collection of simple practices that will help you honor, love, forgive and prioritize yourself, week by week.

Share this Story

Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

Retreat With Us

All Women Welcome
No Judgments
No Expectations
Join Us