It’s amazing when you feel on top of your parenting game, but even great parents can get caught in a funk. I’ve experienced this and I know that there are more TRU Parents out there that have experienced it too. When we are feeling down and foggy in our heads it can be hard to be TRU in our lives and parenting. It can be difficult to keep our thoughts and emotions in check. When normal struggles like a whining toddler or a tussle between siblings arises, we feel completely overwhelmed and frazzled. When we feel this way, it can be hard to pick ourselves up and return to a place of strength and confidence.
I recently experienced one of these slumps. I found myself being more irritated by little things around me at home and was struggling to maintain focus and fulfill tasks at home and work. When a problem presented itself with the kids, I found myself struggling to think clearly through the problem or facilitate a solution. On top of all of this, I had gained some weight and wasn’t feeling good physically. I was tired and had a lot of back pain. My wife and I talked about all of this and I decided something needed to change.
Out of that grew a simple morning routine that has resulted in remarkable changes in all of the following areas…
- Enhanced my mood
- Improved self regulation
- Doubled my productivity
- Amplified inspiration and insight
- Improved how I feel physically
- Increased my energy
Would you like more energy, more insight, more productivity and to just feel better physically and emotionally? I think that as parents, all of us would love to see these benefits. We are all busy parents and wish all the time that we had a few more hours in the day. Most of us would pay a lot of money for something that gave these kinds of benefits and would give us those extra hours we need, especially if it was some kind of pill that we could just pop before breakfast.
The good news is that this solution won’t cost you anything. The bad news is that it is requires slightly more effort than popping a pill. Nevertheless, it has worked for me. I’d like to extend a challenge to each reader to give this routine a try for at least one week and report back about how you feel and your results both personally and as a parent.
The 3 steps that have changed my life
I assume that this routine would be valuable placed at any time during your day but I can’t personally vouch for that. I have put this routine firmly in place in the morning, before my kids wake for the day. My routine requires me to wake about an hour before the kids wake up. If this is unrealistic for you, try the routine while kids are at school, on a lunch break or in the evening after kids have gone to bed. The important part is that you create the time for it and make accommodations with your spouse or get help from others. You could trade time with someone or just commit to waking a little earlier. Set a goal to complete this routine each day for a week. (Read about how you can set and follow through with personal and parental goals more effectively by reading NEW years post and 4 part formula)
The 3 tasks are…
1. Exercise (15-30 min.): When you decide to exercise, make that the goal. Try to put aside all of the distracting performance goals for now. Don’t worry about losing 30 lbs or being able to run a marathon at first. Just exercise. Do something that allows you to think and your mind to run free. Don’t do an exercise video for this routine, just get your heart rate up. Some simple, free examples would be to go walking or running or to complete a bodyweight circuit routine. Don’t do something so strenuous or dangerous that you have to give all of your attention to it. You can go into this with a specific thought purpose or just let your mind wander, but pay attention to your thoughts. If you have an insight or idea that inspires you or may be helpful to you in some way, make special note of it and write it down as soon as your exercise period is over. It may be helpful to carry a digital voice recorder (app on your cell phone) to just make mental notes as you go.
2. Create/Think first (10-15 min): Have a thought notebook. If you have been struggling with what to do to help your son control his anger and you have a thought while you exercise, write it down. If you are trying to think of ways to manage your workload and you have an epiphany about your personal organization, write it down. If you love art or music and have an idea for a song or piece of art work, create. Get started on it right away. Don’t wait. Allow yourself 10-15 minutes directly following your workout to just create, think and write down your ideas.
3. Relax (5-15 Min): Finally, sit or lay down (set a timer so you can manage your time without thinking about it and so, if you fall asleep, it will wake you), and just relax. Take slow, steady, deep breathes, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Focus on the breathe and allow your body to sink into the surface you are sitting or laying on. You can select any kind of meditation you would like during this period (deep breathing relaxation, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, or many others). It doesn’t matter as much what kind of relaxation and meditation you do as much as that you do it. Let this part of the routine be a mini-vacation.
Total time: 30-60 Min. p/day
It seems counter-intuitive that by adding something to your day that you will actually seem to have more time, energy and attention but I have found this to be true. I’ve managed to create more hours in my day by trading 30-60 minutes. This small addition to my day has made a world of difference in my stress tolerance, my enthusiasm to play and respond to my kids and to my own personal productivity. In the sport and outdoors world, they refer to a state of mind they call, “flow.” This one routine has helped me to experience more flow in my parenting and life in general.
Please try this routine for 7-14 days and see what it can do for you.
Question: Do you have a routine that has helped you or changed your life?
If you liked this article, and know someone who would benefit from it, please LIKE and SHARE it on Facebook, other social media or just send them an email. You may also like the following articles. “The 4 Part Formula for Conquering Any Goal or Obstacle” or any of the articles pictured below.
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