Developing a morning routine is often seen as a Type A personality trait or a tool people use to increase productivity. If we examine routines more closely, we find that even basic routines are pretty useful to almost everyone. In fact, for better or worse, you probably already have a few.
Forgetting your gym clothes
Wondering if you unplugged the iron
Leaving your coffee on the kitchen counter
Yelling at your loved ones to get in the car because you’re late
Those habits don’t really comprise an ideal morning. What are more preferable habits?
Walking or playing with your dog
Making a healthy lunch
Morning routines are really just intentionally healthy habits. A routine means that you have found the flow that works for you, and you are trying to do basically the same thing each morning so you can give your brain a break from decision-making, save time, curb forgetfulness, or foster positive interpersonal communication. Maybe you have other reasons!
Currently, my morning routine includes:
Brushing my teeth
Putting up my hair
Gardening in my greenhouse
Reading and meditating
The rest of the day, my plans are usually pretty loose. I try to go with the flow and not let others’ plans throw a wrench in our day. Some days are easier than others. The reason morning routines are helpful is that they can bring us closer to balance. They may offer a familiar assurance. The stability of a morning routine contributes to filling my well of inner peace. Then I can draw from that peace if things around me seem frustrating, chaotic, or uncertain.
Download your free Crosswork Mindful Morning guide.
May 21 is Founder’s Day for the American Red Cross. For 140 years, the Red Cross has “turned compassion into action” in our country and across the globe. In addition to providing life-saving blood products, the American Red Cross also provides lifesaving certification courses, disaster relief, and fire & safety training. Learn more about their remarkable history.
In lieu of paying for class, please make monetary donations to the American Red Cross right here on their website, or schedule your blood product donation right here.
Our Crosswork Yoga Class to benefit the Red Cross will include:
an invigorating, 30-minute yoga asana
mindful awareness to start your day
a desk reference .pdf of seated yoga that you can do at your desk
I’m not sure I can do those crazy yoga poses. Class is on Tuesday? I don’t know how I’ll feel that day. I’m just not up for seeing people.
If you have cancer, or have had cancer, you may wonder if a yoga class is a good fit for you. Some oncologists recommend yoga as a complimentary practice in patients’ wellness plans. After all, yoga has been shown to be beneficial to some individuals who are receiving cancer care and others who are in remission from cancer. But all yoga classes are not the same. Look for classes that use words like adaptive, restorative, and gentle. Whether they meet online or in person, they are usually slower paced and focus more on the experience than what the poses (or asanas) look like.
You may also find yoga classes specifically for cancer. In a yoga class for those affected by cancer, you can expect to find a non-judgmental environment that includes breathing, gentle stretching, or greater relaxation. You are free to participate as much or as little as you prefer, including joining others in the physical asanas or in spirit. There is freedom to simply sit and learn to be with your body. In a yoga for oncology class, accommodations are easily made for ports, pumps, central lines, and other considerations.
You can also feel open about asking instructors if they are Registered Yoga Teachers or if they have experience or training in teaching yoga with those affected by cancer. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to receive Yoga for Cancer Teacher Training at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am honored and encouraged to bring yoga to the oncology community, including those facing cancer, their caregivers, and oncology healthcare providers.
I am here for you. Reach out or complete the form below to get started.
Whether it’s by making a gift or spreading the word, we can all help support the Wolfpack on the NC State Day of Giving. In lieu of paying for your Crosswork yoga class on March 24th, please consider giving to NC State University https://dayofgiving.ncsu.edu/
Our Crosswork Yoga Class for the Pack will be loads of fun and feature:
an invigorating, 30-minute yoga asana to start your day
access to the spring issue of Crosswork magazine
a desk reference .pdf of seated yoga that you can do at your desk
20% off of your next Crosswork yoga class
Wear RED and join us in giving back on the NC State Day of Giving so the Pack can continue to prepare future leaders to tackle the world’s biggest problems.
Take a look at this miraculous fourth round of lettuce that I planted last March!
After I harvested the first bunches early last summer, I was delighted when about half of the lettuce seeds that I planted in March of 2020 sprouted a second time later that season. By late fall, I brought in some straggling leaves… maybe enough for one, good, family-sized salad. Christmas came and went, and then came the rain, the hard freezes, the sleet and frigid air. I didn’t even walk out to the greenhouse for over a month. When I went out today to begin preparing the soil in the raised beds, this perfect head of Burpee buttercrunch lettuce was there to meet me. I was floored!
It was such an encouraging reminder to me that living things are more resilient than we can logically account for. Where there is a willingness to grow, you can’t keep a hearty plant with deep roots from doing what it is compelled to do. People aren’t so different. Gardening is really a leap of faith that always yields far more than we anticipate. You plant some seeds. You expect to eat fruits and vegetables, or cut flowers. But in gardening, we also reap the benefits of working the soil, absorbing minerals, and breaking a sweat. It brings our awareness to the microscopic ecosystems of living things that harmoniously exist outside of four walls. It also gives us a chance to clear our minds, unload our burdens, and notice how we are feeling or what we are thinking.
Through Crosswork mindfulness, you can learn to pay attention to your life and invest in your health by setting boundaries and prioritizing time for the things you enjoy most– including hobbies. Through Crosswork yoga, you can learn to move toward gratitude, a more optimistic outlook, or consideration and empathy toward others. This will help you to become a healthier individual, partner, friend, or employee. Healthy employees are more productive and more likely to contribute to positive peer relationships in the workplace.
Do you have a hobby that allows you to step away from the daily grind and be restored? Maybe you used to; maybe it was golf, running, or reading. Whatever it is, make time for it this week.
P.S. If you just said to yourself, “I just don’t have time for hobbies,” then it’s time to email me.
Learn mindfulness personally through Crosswork 1:1 coaching, or bring lean practices to your entire team with Crosswork Lunch & Learn. Email me to get started!
I continue to read the word “uncertain” in headlines– whether the articles relate to the economy, politics, employment, travel, conferences, our culture, or the future of humanity. Highly emotive words, especially in repetition, have an impact on our perception of the world around us, our health, and our well-being.
Take a moment to reflect on the things for which you can be certain. Here are just a few:
You are important.
There is only one you, and you matter to more people than you will ever know.
You may feel exhausted, but you’re still here. That makes you resilient.
Paying attention to your health mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually is time well spent.
Considering others, listening to them, and humbly asking encouraging people to help you grow are noble and worthy pursuits. Seek out encouraging friendships, and invest in being an encouraging friend to others.
The bottom line: you can be CERTAIN that investing in taking care of yourself and those around you is a good investment– today and in the future.
Invest in yourself today! Email me to learn more about Crosswork.
It’s been one week since we turned the page on 2020. How are your resolutions going? Maybe you thought about making a resolution for 2021 but never actually got around to it. If your old treadmill still looks like a clothes tree or you’ve already eaten more carbs this week than you care to admit, this post is for you: the procrastinators, the slow starters, and the still hopefuls. Here are three steps to make a new resolution and keep it… for good!
At the end of 2019, I was talking with a health coach about a plateau in my workouts. Her advice was to define my bigger why. Your bigger why is the driving force behind your goal. I wanted to lose weight‒ but why? To look better, sure. To feel better, definitely. But if those were the only reasons, then I would abandon my healthy eating plans as soon as I wanted a doughnut. She challenged me to define my bigger why in a single word. I chose FIT.
Fit meant I was prepared to handle whatever came my way. It meant I was willing to do the work mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to get fit. It also meant that I was committed to continually learning, growing, preparing, adapting, and calibrating to stay fit. I made a graphic (I’m a visual learner.) And for 6 weeks, I used that word as a gauge. A benchmark. When I wanted to sleep in, I told myself “This won’t help me get fit” so I got out of bed and worked out. When I wanted to eat junk food, I knew it wouldn’t help me stay fit, so I ate a salad instead. It worked.
Finding my bigger why helped me reach my goal! But as 2020 came to an end, I didn’t really know what to do. Fit was a successful mantra; should I just stick with it? As I brought mindfulness to my goal, I realized that becoming fit had opened the door for a new goal: listening. Over the last year, I have found a deeper appreciation for the art of listening. Being present. Thinking on what you notice in your body, your environment, and those around you. Who are you listening to? It matters.
So here are my big three for keeping a new resolution.
Define your bigger why. What is motivating you? A career change? A luxurious dream vacation? More time with your family? Writing a book? Playing more golf? Be honest with yourself. What do you want to change, and most of all WHY? Write it down. Come back to it. Make daily reminders on your phone, or frame a picture of your last vacation, your next set of golf clubs… whatever it is. Keep it at the forefront of your mind and your plans. Think on it.
Make a Plan. Now it’s time to align your actions with your bigger why. Make an incremental plan to achieve your goal. It’s not hard! First, sit down and write out how you would budget your time for a single day– from the time you wake up until the time you go go sleep. Look at your habits. Where can you trim the fat? Maybe you need to wake up 1 hour earlier (maybe you need to go to sleep an hour earlier!) Maybe it’s time to hand over some of your commitments. The first habits to change are often omitting the time wasters: social media, video websites, texting, and repeatedly checking email. Set some boundaries for yourself. Omitting time wasters may seem hard, but when you do, you are making time for the life you want. Once you’ve written down your ideal day, try doing it.
Stick To It. It may take a week to tweak your routine and find a realistic groove. But once you do something for one day, then you have proven to yourself that you have what it takes to budget every day. So do it! A lifetime is just a series of days, and you can build the life you want through intentional habits each and every day. Consider what’s at stake if you don’t. If you get off track, it’s okay. Start over right where you are and go from there. We’re only 1 week in to 2021; this year can still be the year that you start to construct the life you want!
Learn how to develop habits to build the life you want. Let’s get started!
Years ago, a friend and I were standing in the kitchen transferring hors d’oeuvres to platters when she shared a disappointment in her work. She had been overlooked for a role for which she was clearly the better candidate. I was surprised by her optimism when she joyfully concluded, “I’m good, though. I’ve always believed you should bloom where you are planted.”
After the party, I continued to think about my friend’s situation. The fact that she had joy in spite of her futile circumstances really perplexed me. Where was her drive, her determination, her resolve to make lemonade from lemons? Why didn’t she defend herself? I didn’t like her analogy or the idea of being planted. It implied that someone else was in charge of her future. How could someone whose life was marked by pioneering new courses and notable achievements say that this passive philosophy was something she had always believed?
I concluded that I must have missed something. I thought about the context of the analogy and how my friend had used it in relation to moving from disappointment to acceptance to joy. In the analogy, she was a seed or bulb. Her motivation was to bloom. Conditions were not favorable, and it was not probable that she would bloom. To me, it seemed like she should move on. But how could a seed will to move? That is when I began to understand.
She had the self-awareness to discern that she had a finite amount of energy. Even if she was not promoted by her boss, it was more profitable to spend her time on what she could do: grow. Although her position was not ideal at the moment, ultimately, she believed it could be better in the future if she was willing to adapt and be faithful in what she could do today. She didn’t gossip, grumble, or complain, neither did she try to prove to the boss that he made a mistake. Getting the promotion was outside of her locus of control, but personal development wasn’t. She chose to focus inward and believed that her boss would either see her differently, or she would appeal to someone else who could appreciate her. Who could resist the desire to pick a radiant flower in full bloom? So she bloomed. And in that way, she did move herself.
She began to spend more time doing things she loved. She became pretty good at one of her hobbies and took a step of faith by starting a small side business. Through connections she made there, she was offered a different day job. Her side business never grew. She didn’t make a million dollars or become famous. In fact, a few years later, she closed her side business, but it had been the catalyst that opened the door for her to ditch her dead end job and step into a new vocation. Through mindfulness, she shifted her focus and so can you.
Through mindfulness meditation and yoga, you can learn how to increase your self-awareness and move toward balance. Let’s get started!
Boundaries are an important part of every role you fill. Knowing your limits and having the confidence to stick to your boundaries are keys to avoiding burnout. But often, for those who have found a way to make a living at their hobbies, the lines between work and leisure become blurred. The lines are even further smudged when the nature of our work is serving or helping others. Here are three reasons why work is not a hobby, and why you need to sit down and define your work boundaries today.
Your time is limited. Your work can be an extension of your favorite hobby; it’s true. But if you are going to avoid workaholism, you must learn the habit of separating work time from rest time. Work time is the portion of your day, week, or month that you devote to making a living. Rest time is the portion that you devote to your other core values—including things like family time, time with friends, and time off (aka taking a vacation.) Every person only has a certain number of days to live, and that includes you. Being intentional about how you want to spend the time you are given is the first key to finding balance between work and hobbies.
Your bandwidth is limited. You are not a robot. Mentally and physically, you need down time to recharge. Work is the daily grind. Hobbies are things that take us away from the daily grind. In fact, when we take a step away from the usual, rote, monotonous work tasks, we force our brains to shift into a different gear. When we begin to take joy in experiencing life through our hobbies, we are actually nourishing our brains!
Sadly, our culture has become so engrossed with work, that humans can even feel guilty about taking time off. What’s interesting is that working non-stop does not open doors to innovation— it locks them. However, when we take a step outside the 9-5 routines, we often find that we are able to more clearly see the solutions to professional hurdles. Prioritizing time to step away from work to put things in perspective is the second key in finding balance between hobbies and work.
Your abilities are limited. Let’s face it, very few successful organizations are a one-woman show. And if she does find success, it is short lived. Teams help lighten the load. Accepting help from co-workers does not mean that you are incompetent. It means that you are wise enough to see that many hands make light work, and that you believe there is more to life than working. Set reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish during work hours and work to the best of your ability. Then, practice the self-control to walk away from anything that goes beyond that, and start again tomorrow. Putting first things first is the third way you can move toward balance personally and professionally.