Ever have one of those days where you just need a redo? It’s not even noon, but you’re begging to go back to bed and start over?
Perhaps you overslept and missed your early morning routine. You know that part where you get caffeinated and have time to collect your thoughts before the kids start fighting and your work email blows up…
And then it feels like everything is happening too fast, the day is just dragging you through by the scruff of your neck and you simply can’t seem to get your feet underneath you. Oh, and your mood is just downright crappy.
Worse. It’s a Monday and you’re just sure this is how the whole week is going to be. Ugh.
Yeah, let’s just stop and fix this right now, okay?
First, stop and take a deep breath. Find any way you can to hit pause. Even if that means hiding in the bathroom with the door locked for 45 seconds. Take a couple deep breaths. In through your nose, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4. Out through your mouth, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4. Good. Now give yourself permission to figure this out. A little pep talk that no matter what has happened up until now, you can shake it off and start over…you’re just not going to get to crawl back under your covers. Sorry. Alright, are we good?
Second, use an anchor if you’ve got one. Many of us have an “anchor” task that helps us feel in control. For some that may be meditating or yoga, for others it might be journaling or spending a few moments with your planner organizing your day. Whatever that thing is, take a few minutes and do it. It always helps to have an abbreviated version in your back pocket for days like this. A 3 minute guided meditation instead of the normal 15-30 minutes you like to spend. A short yoga video instead of your hour-long class you hit up every morning. Taking a few minutes to pick three MITs rather than the half-an-hour you usually spend in your planner mapping out your day. It’s a little piece of comfort that will bring a sense of normalcy to your day.
Third, find your “save point.” You know how when you’re playing a video game there are various save points that no matter what happens you can go back to and pick back up as if it never happened? We should have those throughout our day, but we aren’t really going backward. If it’s midday, pick up as you would after lunch if your morning had gone perfectly normal. I have a couple of small routines throughout my day that enables me to just slide right back into how things should be. I use this point often.
Last, reflect on what went wrong. One reason that people fail to finish creating habits is because they don’t have contingency plans. Look back at what went wrong and see how you can prevent it in the future. Hit snooze a few too many times? How about moving that alarm across the room, or setting it earlier so you’ve built in time for a couple snooze pushes? Spent way too long looking for your keys? Let’s make sure they have a home where they always go so it doesn’t happen again. Lessons learned are important because they give us opportunities to improve. My planner actually has a spot for this every day and it’s helped me immensely.
Interrupted routines shouldn’t spiral our days out of control. But if we’re creatures of habit, as most humans are, sometimes the smallest things can really throw us off. There’s no reason to spend the entire day in a funk when we have the tools to get back on track in the next 10 minutes. It’s all about recognizing the moment and giving ourselves permission to let it go and regain control of our day.