Why I love having a routine and how I built one
Subhangi KC, Client Success
When I tell people that I sleep early, wake up at 5 AM, work out, do my meal prep a week ahead and plan my activities, they give me a weird look as if I am from another dimension.
The fact that people find it “different” upsets me not because they are giving me this dirty look but because how having your day or week or month sorted is so strange to people. Shouldn’t it be normalized? Having a basic routine is such a basic wellness thing that I suggest everyone to have one.
Many great people explored different areas of their life during the global pandemic. I bet you did too. That phase taught many of us to have a life we have always wanted or to have a life we never wanted. A lot of things changed for the good for some and others, things got worse. I fall in both of those categories, where I lived my worst days and also lived my best.
Having a routine was never my thing, I was someone who would eat a box full of chocolate chip cookies at midnight and wake up at noon to directly hog on pizza. I was not born in a permanent Zen mode or as a routine queen. My routine journey started in a very different way where I had to go through a lot, both emotionally and physically.
So here goes my story since its inception. Being a healthy child, weight-wise, ever since childhood, I never thought twice before eating. My dad owned a restaurant when I was a child and my brother and I would order from the restaurant 3 times a day (exaggeration lol). Tikkas, tandooris, momos, drumsticks, and fries were my favorite and I would have them at least 3 times a week.
Sadly, when I was 16, my dad sold the restaurant (Thank God he did) and I would have to ask for money to eat outside. This wasn’t a problem though because my parents wanted me and my sibling to eat as much as we could till our stomachs exploded.
Thankfully, I was quite an athlete since childhood so overeating didn’t cause as much harm to me as it did to my brother. Holy cow, he was 94 kgs at the age of 16 (He went to the gym and had a proper diet so he is lean now, don’t worry). Since my health did not look as if it was highly affected but it had affected me mentally.
As time passed by, I got enrolled in a university and the thing that excited me the most was that I could get to go out with my friends to eat every day after class. Slowly my interest in athletics went down and it started showing in me. Then, I was living my life to the fullest. Eat – Sleep – Repeat was my go-to thing (Had to study also lol).
As semesters passed by, I got unhealthier and it was showing on my body. One day, I found myself feeling uneasy and ended up puking throughout the day. I was taken to the hospital and the reports showed that I had fatty liver and a lot of problems. I was heavily constipated for days and days which made me upset.
In addition, I would get to hear nasty comments from my toxic friends that I looked like a buffalo. At this point, I couldn’t figure out whether they were too mean or if I was too vulnerable but those things broke me apart. Me being the obsessive Cancerian, I started dieting, that too at an extreme level. I lost 13 kgs in 8 months and I looked like a stick that could break anytime.
However, This caused even more health problems. The fatty liver syndrome was gone but I was even more constipated because I sadly didn’t eat anything that my body could process and eliminate. I was physically weak and mentally disturbed because nothing was going right. It was an issue when I put on weight and had an unhealthy lifestyle, and it remained problematic even after I dropped weight.
Enlightenment and recovery
After some time, lockdown happened which was a great opportunity for me to enhance my lifestyle through healthy eating. Let me tell you that the first few months of the lockdown were worse for me because I was eating “healthy” but the results weren’t as expected which got me frustrated like never before. Then I decided to research more, dive in deeper, and get enough knowledge on how I could enrich my life.
Eventually, my focus shifted to wellness from healthy eating and that is when I realized that eating healthy is not the only solution to having a healthy life. It is a part of a healthy life but not everything. I got in touch with a wellness counselor and then a wellness/nutrition coach and eventually, I figured out that there is so much more to life than just eating brown rice, quinoa, brown bread, chia seeds, and lemon water. As my focus shifted, my lifestyle started to change as well.
I built a routine for myself without even realizing that I had built one. The first step that was included in my routine was to wake up early. However, I realized that prior to waking up early I had to sleep early. The girl who would sleep at around 3-4 AM had to sleep between 10-11 PM. It felt Impossible. But yeah, I had to make it possible.
I remember the days in school when I had to study at night during exams, I would open up a book and fall asleep immediately. Sounds funny but yeah I thought of applying the same tactics to fall asleep early.
I cut off my screen time at night and started reading boring books that would lead me to sleep quickly. Fun fact- The lights used in your mobile phone is the same light used in operation theaters that helps surgeons stay alert and awake. Now you know why you can’t fall asleep early at night?
Back to the topic, so yes, I started reading and it led me to get my beauty sleep and wake up early in the morning. By the way, beauty sleep is real. I realized that my skin was getting better when I started sleeping for 7-8 hours. Out of many, the most important advantage of me sleeping early was completely terminating my midnight cravings. No more chocolate chip cookies.
As I started waking up early, I had enough time for myself to spend it all by myself. One step at a time, I started going for morning walks, then gradually started meditation and then journaling, and eventually, making delicious breakfasts. The free time in the morning made me the “ IT GIRL”.
Acing the routine
Once I developed these habits, mornings got me enthralled, surprisingly. As of today, mornings are my favorite time of the day. By 8 AM, I am done with most of the day's major tasks. After having a solid night and morning routine, I was further encouraged to improve and focus on my daytime routine as well.
Work from home scenario made it so comfortable for me to wear my pajamas or night suits all day. This had to change because it made me lousy during the day. Another fun fact: The clothes you wear have a meaning in Vastu, night suits are to be worn during the night only and shouldn’t be worn during the day as it carries the energy with them.
So, I started wearing good clothes during the day even when I was working from my room itself to feel energized. A little lipstick and blush hurt nobody so I started making myself look a tad bit presentable. This affected my mood in such a positive way. (PS I caught myself taking more selfies during work time lol so avoid this one).
After this, I decided to go back to a proper eating schedule. Like most Nepalese households, I used to have chiya (tea) biscuits as soon as I woke up followed by a heavy brunch (Dal Bhat of course). Something was not working and this had to change, so I started making a week-ahead diet plan which consisted of breakfast, mid-morning snacks, lunch, evening snacks, and dinner.
Grateful to God for implanting this thing in my head because having a week-ahead diet plan made it very easy for me to manage my micro and macronutrients. If you need ideas on meal prep, there are tons of videos on YouTube, refer to them if you need one and thank me later. Now that my morning, day, and night routine was in place, I felt much calmer and in a happier state of mind.
Having a schedule allows me to save so much time and energy since I worry a lot about everything. The hard days of my late teens did teach me lessons to take care of my mind and body. Life now feels much more peaceful even though there are a lot of other things to deal with. Having the ability to completely focus on my work and career is a blessing right now as everything feels settled.
I can give my 100% to anything that I get involved in because I don’t have to worry about feeding myself with wrong things, missing a workout, or just simply not having “me time”. One of the major benefits of having a routine for me was to form a habit that I always wanted to have. I have always aimed to become that “IT GIRL” that I am today.
I have built healthy habits and I do get recognized as someone so full of herself in a good way, as someone who takes care of herself and loves her life beyond anything. The key is to build a routine that adds structure and a sense of predictability to your day
You can do it too!
Of course, your schedule may change somewhat depending on the day of the week or depending on the circumstances, but sticking to a basic structure for when you will eat, work, do activities, and sleep can help you feel less stressed out and more organized. Structuring your day also ensures that you accomplish those basic tasks that must be done, which will leave you with the time to schedule other things that you want or need to accomplish.
One helpful activity is to make a list of the things that you normally do during the day. Include everything from work to meal preparation to household chores. Once you have an idea of the basic tasks you need to accomplish, you can start creating a general outline for what you might need to accomplish each day to stay on track.
While it’s important to get the essentials done, be sure to find things that you can look forward to, whether it’s watching a favorite television show or calling up a friend. Making these little rewards a part of your routine can help you stay upbeat and focused when you are working on a task that you might not enjoy as much.