If I’m being honest, I was rather scared to go back to work! It wasn’t that I didn't want to work because I was definitely craving the mental stimulation and the opportunity to work with others to solve real-world problems; what I was worried about was making sure I could still carve out “me time” and maintain the proper levels of life-balance I’ve been working so hard to establish .
With all the COVID-19 restrictions, the kids home from school with no extracurricular activities, as well as no outside help with childcare, there really hasn’t been much downtime in our house; from the moment I wake up, till the second I fall asleep, it feels like I’m constantly on the go. There’s just so many things to do: helping the older boys with school work, playing games or crafts with the baby, prepping meals, cooking meals, shopping for meals; the list goes on and on. This is where my fear originated from. I couldn’t possible fathom adding a full, productive work day into the mix.
The first thing I had to do was change my mindset in order to shift negative energy away from worrying about the problem and instead work towards finding a solution. Almost immediately I remembered something I had read championing the importance of establishing a “morning routine.” This specifically entailed, waking up before everyone else in the household to set the tone for your day.
As a morning person this practice has always resonated with me and more importantly, is something I’ve been longing to try. Historically however, due to my former global role at a UK bank it was never really a feasible option because I was already waking up before 5am on a normal day. However, in my new role for a US Bank, with currently no commuting, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the whole “morning routine” thing a try. Let me tell you, it’s amazing!!!
I make sure to set my alarm one hour before I would need to be up. The first thing I do is take several diaphragmatic breaths in order to ground myself for the day ahead. Next I work out. I’ve personally found if my workout’s not done immediately upon waking it’s often not done at all because something always comes up later in the day. The final thing I do before getting into “work mode” is make a family breakfast, which allows me to sit down - no matter how briefly - with my family. Depending on the day it could be as simple as toast or frozen waffles, but if I have more time it could also be something more elaborate like homemade protein pancakes with fruit and bacon.
I’ve quickly come to notice that extra hour in the day feels like so much more; it’s time to myself where I can do what I want without worrying about anything or anyone. I feel like the extra time has helped me ensure my batteries are charged for the day ahead. Go ahead and give it a try for yourself; set your alarm for one hour earlier than normal and build a morning routine that’s perfect for you. The only condition is that you spend the time focused on yourself and things that you want to do.