What to Do When Life Interrupts Your Routines


One of the ways women who have bariatric surgery practice good self-care is by creating routines.

I sit in a certain chair every morning to have my coffee. That chair is next to the doctor’s bag I use to hold all my medications and supplements. As I’m sipping my coffee, I always notice that bag and then I remember. I count out what I need to take for the day and sort the pills into my giant medicine organizer. Then I set the alarm on my phone to remind me to take them.

I almost never skip my supplements.

My routines are the best self-care tool I have.

Last week, one of my coaching clients shared that she had spent the holiday week baking and secretly eating some of the cookies she was making for her adult children.

She skipped doing her chair yoga and the stretches for her back, among other things. “I skipped my walk this morning. I got up early and started cooking,” she confessed. “I didn’t want to disappoint my kids.”

The truth is life will always interrupt our routines. What we must do is plan for the interruptions.

We can create routines for sticking with our routines! I’m serious.

When I feel off track from my regular routines, I pause and reflect. This usually involves brewing a cup of tea and drinking it mindfully. The minute I become aware that I am out of a healthy routine, this pause allows me to reboot my routine.

I sit in a chair away from the TV and computer, look out the window, and I watch the birds or clouds or the wind in the trees. Or I go outside on my porch to listen to ambient sounds while I sip my tea.

For me, the time and ritual of preparing and drinking tea is grounding. Teatime allows me to practice self-compassion and sort out what will help me get back into routine.

One of the biggest routine interrupters is when we put other people’s needs before our own.

Honestly, this is the number one trait of the women I coach. Often, these women say, “I have to,” at the beginning of the sentence that explains why they are not taking care of themselves.

“I have to buy what my grandchildren like. And they like Kraft macaroni and cheese and cookies!”

“I don’t have time to go to the store to get my iron supplement. I have to take care of my mother.

My husband won’t eat health food, so I just make what he likes.”

I don’t have time to walk in the evening. My boss needs me to stay late almost every day. And then I’m too exhausted.

One of my routines is to use empowering self-talk to remind me to focus on meeting my own needs, rather than neglecting myself to help others.

I often remind myself:

If helping you is hurting me, it’s not ok.”

I don’t have to do it all. I can ask for help.”

The healthy adults in my life are capable of taking care of themselves.”

I encourage you to spend some time today thinking about your routines and how you can strengthen them. What routines can you develop to help you get back into your routines?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.