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How to Get Back Into Routine When You've Had Some Time Off

Whatever got you out of your routine to start with, whether it was long summer weekends, a sunny getaway, or festive holiday celebrations, getting back into routine can set you up for a successful week ahead. 

It's easy to want to jump right in–meal prepping, working out, morning journaling, etc. And if you have that kind of "all or nothing" personality, more power to you! But for many of us, it just doesn't work like that. 

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Easing back into a routine, or starting a new one, can help us to actually stick with it. 

Check out these 7 tips that will help you get back into your routine: 


1. Pick one area to focus on.

It doesn't matter what time of day it is, or how much it will impact your day, just pick one thing that you really want to do, and stick to it. 

Want to work out? Pick a few days each week and lay out your gym clothes in advance. Need to meal prep? Choose one meal to set up each week. Even simply writing out what you want to eat for dinner every night and grocery shopping for that (not even cooking!) takes a lot of the guess-work out of your weekday evening. 

How to Get Back Into Routine When You've Had Some Time Off

2. Use lists.

How satisfying is it to cross off a "to-do" on your list? Make lists with even the smallest things on them. Here are some things to include: 

  • Drink 2L of water
  • Take out the garbage
  • Make breakfast
  • Tidy the kitchen 

3. Add on to-dos as you go.

And as you check off more items from your list, you can start swapping the smaller items that become second nature, for larger quests–like going to that spin class you've been talking about for the last month, or meal prepping an additional meal for your week. Breakfast AND lunch? You champion, you!

4. Don't overwhelm yourself. 

For some people, they need to jump into a routine with two feet. But you don't need to be those people, and you don't need to feel bad that you work differently than they do. 

By choosing one thing to focus on, creating lists or post-it notes, and going slowly, are all important to staying on track. And if you feel overwhelmed, take something off the list. Give it one week, and add it back, or choose something smaller. 

For example: rather than prepping food for the whole week and taking over a whole Sunday, simply put oatmeal into single-serving jars or packs, chop up some raw veggies for snacks, and boil a few eggs.

How to Get Back Into Routine When You've Had Some Time Off

5. Break down your workouts.

Haven't worked out in a few weeks ... or maybe months? You don't need to start where you left off. Schedule 45 minute sessions during the week to work on arms, one day legs, one day cardio and abs each week. Done!

After a few weeks see where you can add in another day if you want, or where you can be more efficient. 

6. Take 5 minutes each morning to organize your day. 

Take some time before you leave, sit down with a coffee, tea, smoothie (whatever!) and a notebook. Think about what you have to do during the day, and prioritize your list. 

If you feel like there are too many tasks that seem daunting, choose 3 that you think are the most important and put your attention there (you can even choose 3 that are work-specific, and 3 that are for the home). 

Have kids? Get them involved too! It will also give you the time to write your list. Give them a piece of paper, or have them use their school agenda, and write down the 3 things they need to do that day, like make the bed, go to school, and empty their lunch-bags after school–hey, no one said their priorities can't help you out!

How to Get Back Into Routine When You've Had Some Time Off

7. Enlist the troops. 

You're not alone in this, and you have family and friends that can help you stick to this new routine. Here are some ways to get everyone involved: 

  • Have your kids and significant other help in the household duties. 
  • Enlist a gym buddy to keep your workout routine on track. 
  • Get your children to pack their lunches (that way, they can choose their snacks and they are less likely to waste their food)
  • Does your partner get home earlier than you (but doesn't do the cooking)? Give them easy tasks like cooking the rice, or even pre-heating the oven

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