Becoming That Girl: Is It All An Aesthetic?
How to make your daily routines more meaningful
As we come to the end of summer, I've been thinking more about daily routines. Being in the self-development space, my social media feeds are filled to the brim with 'productive 5am morning routines' and 'what I eat in a day' and although I love this type of content, at times it can all feel a little overwhelming. Am I the only one who's noticed this weird standard where it feels like if you're not part of the 5am club, obsessed with cold brew or hitting the gym before sunrise, you're not a productive person? In recent years, it feels like productivity has become far more about aesthetic and less about meaningful life changes. The pressure to 'look the part' can feel almost more important than actually doing the work. While I've been working hard to step up my content game this month, I've definitely found myself caught up and discouraged when my avo toast didn't turn out 'Insta-worthy' or my journaling session just wasn't giving those neutral '5 minute journal' vibes. But the real progress only comes from doing the real work and sometimes that work is 'ugly'. Sometimes you roll out of bed at 10am, sometimes your avocados are brown and sometimes your journaling sessions make you ugly cry. So this season, if you're like me and want to make you daily routines less about productive 'vibes' and more about meaningful work. Here's a few things we can change:
Waking Up At A Time That Makes You Feel Good
Maybe you're one of those people who feel totally energised being up before sunrise but maybe you're not and that's okay too. Waking up at 5am is not the epitome of productivity. Work out what time in the morning makes you feel your best throughout the day and stick to it. If you find yourself needing multiple cups of coffee just to stay awake, chances are you're probably not doing it right. I think its far more important to be in tune with your body's need for rest than to wake up at a certain time just because that's when all your fave Youtubers wake up (a note to self). Of course, waking up earlier is never a bad thing but it's so much more effective to create a system and routine that you can sustain in the long-run, rather than one that makes you hate mornings altogether.
Doing More 'Ugly' Self-Care
I love a good face mask or trip to the nail salon but I'll admit that when it comes to the less glamourous aspects of self-care, I'm far less enthusiastic. But while our skin may have a temporary glow and our nails may get some compliments, it's often the ugly self-care that our future selves will thank us for. Budgeting at the start of each month, saying 'no' to that 4th weekend of late night drinking, doing the laundry on the weekend and taking a day off may not be as aesthetically pleasing but they make a much longer lasting impact than the occasional soak in the tub.
Creating Work-Life Boundaries
Effective and efficient productivity is about working smarter, not harder. So if you've fallen into the trap of wearing 'busyness' as a badge of honour, you might want to think about putting some boundaries in place. This doesn't just apply to your day job (if you have one), it's still not a good idea to work on your dreams 100% of the time for a few reasons. We are not cut out to be constantly working and often times when we ignore the signs to slow down, our bodies will force us to stop. In the past year, I've realised that there are far too many health complications that are caused by underlying stress and often times we actually bring this on ourselves. Staying up too late, spending too much time in front of screens; we never give ourselves the space to digest it all. Another unfortunate side effect of not creating boundaries is that you might actually find yourself losing passion for something you once loved. I started a lot of projects before this blog and all of them I eventually lost passion for because the pressure to keep up was higher than the enjoyment I experienced from doing it. And isn't that the whole point of starting a business? To create more fun and freedom in your life?
There are a few easy ways you can begin to set boundaries for yourself in your day job and in your side hustle or passion project:
Stick to your working hours - don't do any overtime for things that could easily be done the next day
Commit to one work-free day per week - no content, no emails etc. You are worthy of having a day that doesn't involve giving your energy to others.
Pay attention to your stress cues - feeling weird aches and pains, brain fog, strained muscles, fatigue etc. Know when it's time to take a break.