With the busy schedules December brings, many of us have already started to think about how we will “reset” our lives for the New Year. We desire change, often times in all major areas of our lives. Career, finance, relationships, health and wellness to name a few. We want change, but how willing are we to take the steps to actually create change? And more importantly, how do we achieve the change we desire in an easy manageable way?
Routines are powerful tools we, of all ages, can use to minimize stress, anxiety and maximize opportunities to achieve any goal we set for ourselves. In our youth athletes, teaching them how powerful, yet simple a routine can be can set them up for success in areas of their lives beyond the pool.
Doing is achieving, and doing things that make us feel good empower us to achieve things that feel good, for ourselves and for others. Everything ties back to the basis of all human experience - emotion. How we feel about any given thing leads us to a positive, or negative perspective of our days, and of our world. A deliberate and purposeful routine can help us stay on the path of positive perspectives.
We can begin this process simply, by diving deeper into one especially important routine:
We don’t often sit down and decide deliberately to go over what our routines look like, or what the quality of our routines really are, or how much they may be holding us back without careful thought and attention.
We know children thrive inside of routines, or boundaries. For the sake of this blog, we will stick to the using the word routine. The organized nature of routines can create an atmosphere of safety and protection, the perfect ingredients for an effective and optimal sleep. So how can we do this?
Begin by creating a bedroom sanctuary. A feeling of relaxation and calm when your children enter their rooms is the focus, so their sleep routines can begin. How do we know we are on a path to success? Ask your child how they feel when they enter their bedrooms.
Some other important considerations which can elevate any routine;
1. Dimly lit rooms, with a lamp, or nightlight. All blue lights are ideally kept out of bedrooms completely.
2. Cooler temperature - humans have higher quality sleeps when air temperatures are lowered to 18-19C, so overheating can be avoided.
3. A connection to a special toy, or blanket.
4. A moment of reflection of the day.
5. An evening comfort food, such as warm milk, hot cocoa (not hot chocolate) or bone broth.
Sleep masks. For under $10, and as a great stocking stuffer, sleep masks block out all light, creating an additional layer of darkness for tired eyes, allowing for longer, deeper sleeps. I myself have the best sleeps with my sleep masks. They are especially beneficial during travel, in unfamiliar surroundings such as hotels or grandma’s house at Christmas.
Weighted Blankets. Gravid (gravid.ca) and other companies have created weighted blankets, to promote deep REM sleep, boost serotonin levels, reduce stress hormones and lower anxiety. Of course, everyone responds differently, the blankets can be hot, but from personal experience stress and relaxation during nap time has proven beneficial.
Even more reason to examine routines;
1. Routines can aid in maintaining the foundations of nutrition, sleep, self care and time management.
2. Routines become soothing, and safe.
3. Routines can challenge us to beat yesterday.
4. Routines can show us an elevated level of creativity, physical ability and other skills.
5. Routines can prevent us from making choices which can lead to negative impacts or distractions.