With April quickly coming upon us, it’s time for another monthly focus from The Art of Extreme Self-Care. This month, author Cheryl Richardson talks about The Power of Rhythm and Flow. For some, this month will be easier than last month’s focus on saying no. But for some, learning how to find your rhythm and flow might be harder than saying no.
In this chapter, Cheryl talks about finding the rhythm and flow in your everyday routine. Finding routines that support your life and make it flow. Routine is not a bad word when it brings rhythm and flow into your life. When we find the right routine, we bring order, stability, and security into our lives. When we find the wrong routine, we bring chaos and fear into our lives.
A person who gets up when the alarm goes off, showers, eats breakfast, brushes their teeth and leaves for work on time has created a calm routine that helps her morning to flow. While a person who snoozes the alarm until the last minute, showers, dresses and then runs out of the house already late for work has created a chaotic routine one that brings stress not only to your mental health but to your physical health as well.
I used to have that second routine when I was younger. It was not pleasant and caused a lot of stress in my life. Stress that carried over into my work since it’s not easy to shut off. But now I have a routine that gets me up out of bed early, drinking coffee and sitting down to write each morning. It’s not just a routine, to me it’s my creative ritual.
The Power of Rhythm and Flow is about finding your wave to ride, that wave or routine that will bring focus and flow into your life. As Cheryl did, ask yourself the question, “What one thing can I do to make better use of my time so I completely eliminate the reason I feel so overwhelmed?” For her, the answer was to go to sleep earlier so she could get up earlier. After a month of sticking to that routine, she found that she did have more rhythm and flow in her life, that she was more productive and energized during the day, and that she was more balanced emotionally.
And it’s not just an early morning routine that you should be looking for. Routines or rituals can be found anywhere. Whether in your home life or at work. Holding a meeting on the same day and same time each week creates a routine that not only helps your workday flow better for you but also for your employees. Imagine how difficult it would be to get your job done if you never knew when to plan things because you never knew when your boss was going to plan last-minute meetings. Meeting friends for coffee each week or having a special Sunday dinner with family are all routines or rituals.
My mother had a weekly routine that involved a Wednesday game of cards with her high school girlfriends. These friends got together each Wednesday well into their 90’s. They played some cards, snacked on some food, remembered stories from all of their years together, and laughed. I truly believe that this one routine, this one ritual, is one of the major reasons why these women all lived such long lives.
Notice, that I interchange ritual for routine a lot. People usually hate the word routine, it sounds dull and boring. But a ritual is sacred as I wrote about in What Are Your Rituals for Creativity? But it’s not just about creativity, as you’ll see in the post I talk about Nomar Garciaparra and his elaborate at-bat ritual. Rituals create space for us to be in the moment and when we are there, we’re in that flow that Cheryl is talking about in this chapter.
In this month’s calendar, I’ll ask the questions and drive your focus toward recognizing the routines/rituals that you already have in place. Then we’ll either tweak one that you currently have that might not be working as well as you’d like or we’ll create a new routine to add in. Remember, we want to create routines that help you feel more relaxed, have less overwhelm, improve your productivity, and help you feel more in balance.
The best way to use the calendar is to read all of the items first. Find out where you might need to make plans in advance like making appointments. Below is the calendar and here is a link to the April Calendar of Rhythm and Flow.
And a Pin to save for later: