It's finally autumn, and my family is fully immersed in our fall schedule: school schedules, work schedules, yoga classes, soccer practices, music lessons, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, homework, grocery shopping, meal preparation for 4, and the list goes on and on. Everyday the schedule is packed. It's nothing new for my family, this ramp up in the Fall. You'd think I'd be good at it after many years, and yet it always seems to catch me off guard and makes butterflies in my tummy and leaves my head swirling.
What to do? It isn't likely that we are going to eliminate any of the activities. I'm dedicated to the idea that each of us in our family will be supported in doing "what makes us come alive." I'm all for passionate pursuits! And one of my passionate pursuits is to create a grounded and easeful daily and weekly rhythm.
When our family is in Peru, this happens fairly naturally because the Andean culture is more rhythmic and grounded and tied to nature than ours is here. Rhythm and ease are respected and built into the day and when we get there, we fall into the rhythm of rising early, eating healthily, getting lots of exercise and going to bed early. This doesn't happen so easily when we return to our U.S. life.
Luckily, I have been working on dinacharya, the Ayurvedic daily rhythm for months now. Fall is the time to hone in on it and make it even stronger. The necessary components for creating a GROUNDED and EASEFUL daily routine lie in PREDICTABILITY and BOUNDARIES.
PREDICTABILITY: Ease happens in the body-mind when life is predictable. Not everything needs to be predictable, but enough of life should be predictable that there is a felt sense of rhythm to the day. Rising, moving, eating, working, hydrating, having fun and sleeping need to be pretty predictable, that is they should happen at similar times each day. This rhythm is settling for the nervous system and optimizes our metabolism and digestion.
To create predictability in our modern life, I have to use a calendar. In my calendar, I enter all of the work time, school schedules and appointments as well as everything else that I want to happen in order to feel easeful. I enter in my ideal meal times, my meditation, my yoga, and walking time into the calendar. I use a digital calendar and a paper one. The digital one is handy, but I also need to print one out because somehow I feel more grounded when I have a paper copy.
BOUNDARIES: It's great to have a calendar, but for predictability to happen, I have to have boundaries. I have to hold myself accountable for what's on the calendar: getting up when my alarm says to get up, taking a break from work when I say I will, eating on a regular schedule and getting off my devices at night and winding down and getting to bed at the time I say I will (10 PM at the latest!). If I don't enforce these boundaries, I'll sleep in. I won't do my morning meditation or yoga practice. I might forget to eat a good lunch. I'll probably do screen time too late. And, then, I'll go to bed late and not sleep as long or as deeply as I need. And, the next day, I'll sleep in again and not exercise again. So, this Fall, I'm learning to do what my calendar says I will do. And, when that doesn't happen (because it won't always happen!) I have to reflect on why it didn't happen. Maybe there was something spontaneous that was a fabulous opportunity and was better than the regular scheduled activity. Great! Or, maybe I just chose to not honor my fatigue and I kept doing something at the computer rather than winding down and going to sleep.
When I adhere to healthy boundaries, my life feels more grounded and easeful because I am less likely to over commit myself to people or projects, and I am protecting the time in my schedule set aside for movement, relaxation, friends and family.
Over the next several months, I'll share with you my tips for creating a GROUNDED AND EASEFUL FALL RHYTHM. You can look forward to posts on:
Until next time!
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.