The Only (Mindful) Daily Routine You’ll Ever Need
for a Happy, Healthy Life
When I finally admitted to myself that I needed (and wanted) a routine, I was clueless about where to start. Especially as a full-time traveler, keeping a mindful daily routine seemed like an impossible task.
Whenever I had tried building a routine before, it was in moments where I was deeply discontent with my life and consequently wanted to change everything at once. Every single time, I ended up with an almost military-like schedule. The ambition of it overwhelmed me so much that I never stuck with it longer than a day or two.
So, I needed a different approach. I wanted to figure out a guideline for my daily routine that would help me to do the things that are good for me, but that would at the same time be flexible and not restrictive.
I came up with a daily routine that touches on all the aspects that make for a happy, healthy life: Mental, physical, social, and spiritual health. It is a flexible and mindful daily routine, easily adjustable to your personal needs.
A flexible and mindful daily routine that can work for anybody
The concept is simple: Every single day, do
- one thing that’s good for your mind,
- one thing that’s good for your body and finally,
- one thing that’s good for your heart.
More on what that means below, but for now, let’s just say that I call it my personal holy trinity.
Those three categories, followed in no particular order, won’t constrain you into a rigid schedule that you want to escape from right away. They simply guide you through all important self-care aspects in life – how exactly you interpret those categories can vary day-to-day.
It is a mindful daily routine that allows for freedom and flexibility.
What are the benefits of a mindful daily routine?
When sticking to a healthy and mindful routine, you might experience plenty of benefits, for example:
Increase your productivity and beat procrastination
By sticking to a routine, you are making sure to get things done. Routines provide structure, helping you to remember everything that matters as you go about your day. Do you know the endless cycle of overthinking and trying to convince yourself to do stuff, but not achieving anything in the end? A daily routine is your shortcut to action.
Reduce stress levels
By implementing habits that are good for your well-being, you are likely to experience less stress throughout the day. Especially having a mindful daily routine helps to ensure you are making enough time for self-care and relaxation. Thus, you soon might notice that you are sleeping better, reacting less to stressful situations, and find yourself calmer overall.
Make time for what matters to you
The beautiful thing about routines is that you spend less time on decision-making – once you are used to your personal structure, you do not need to think about what to do next anymore. Your positive habits become automated. What a blessing!
Become the person you want to be
If you want to change who you are, you NEED to make those changes habits. And all your habits make up your daily routine. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a daily routine, consisting of conscious and unconscious habits. Some of them may be good for you, some of them may be exactly why you want to create a new routine for yourself. What you repeat daily, decides who you will be in the long run.
Be healthier, feel stronger
While negative habits can make us unhealthier, a good daily routine will do the opposite. By moving and nourishing your body right, you make sure to get the best possible physical health. Equally, your mental health can improve greatly through mindful habits. The structure a routine provides gives many people a feeling of control and safety.
Go to bed happy
Lastly, sticking to a mindful daily routine helps you relax at the end of the day. You will fall into bed knowing that you have done your best to take good care of your physical and mental health today. It is simply a good feeling.
Step 1: Taking care of your body
Our physical health is the foundation for anything else in life. It is known that, if you do not take care of your body, your mental health will be equally affected.
So every day, I make it my first goal to do something good for my body.
How exactly can vary from day to day, but the two most important aspects to consider are
- getting enough movement as well as rest and
- nourishing your body well
Make time for mindful movement
In my case, I usually begin the day by waking up my body through movement. After a morning coffee, I usually do yoga. How intense it gets depends on how I am feeling that day. I simply commit to the practice, whether it’s 10 minutes in child pose, a challenging flow, or somewhere in between. Showing up is the important part.
For a long time, I struggled to enjoy exercising, but I started shifting the focus away from my resistance towards how I feel afterward. By now, I know that if I spend an entire day without moving at all, my mood will be pretty bad by the evening and my motivation to do other things will be equally low. That’s why I try to get it out of the way right away in the mornings, usually.
Especially when you have a mainly sedentary lifestyle, you should make sure to move enough. You do not have to schedule a workout every single day. Simply getting up from your desk regularly or going for an after-lunch walk already improves how you feel in your body.
Another aspect of taking good care of your physical health is learning what kind of diet makes you feel good. Changing our diet habits can be tricky since the ideal diet we’re all looking for does not exist and the societal pressure around food is enormous.
Hence, developing mindfulness around food is important. Don’t make it your goal to strive for perfection and the ultimate healthy diet. Instead, try the one-good-thing-a-day approach. Observe how your body feels after certain foods, and if something feels great, try to integrate that into your daily routine more often.
Move well, eat well, rest well
In general, be mindful of what your body is telling you. If you are someone with high energy levels and always on the move, maybe what your body needs is actually a day of rest, not more exercise. Or maybe you haven’t been getting enough sleep. Or maybe your goal for today could be to drink more water.
How you take care of your body is your personal choice and can be a process of trial and error until you figure out what really works for you.
But it is a worthy investment: Developing a mindful routine for physical health helps us to feel good in our bodies. Confident, capable, and energized. Who would not want that?!
Step 2: Healthy habits for your mind
Now that we have taken care of our physical container, let’s go inside. The second building block to a good daily routine is taking care of the mind.
It does not only encompass keeping an eye on your mental health but also:
- learning and increasing your knowledge
- expanding your consciousness
- personal growth
My favorite ways of doing those things are reading and meditation – but for you, it might be entirely different things. It could be learning languages, it could be learning to code, it could be inventing things. Again, the key is finding what works for you.
Get new input to keep growing
For me, the main way I consume information is by reading, and my favorite books and articles are about personal growth. Thus, I do not only read for personal enjoyment (even though that is great some days, too), but the things I learn make me reflect on myself and life.
Since precisely this habit of mine – being in love with deep thinking – can also cause me trouble sometimes, I am a fan of meditation. It helps my busy mind to calm down and lets me arrive in the present moment.
Don’t neglect your mind in your daily routine
Again, you do not need to focus on doing the exact same thing every single day. Just check in with yourself: Hey, have I done something good for my mind today?
This way, you make sure that you are evolving mentally, learning, building resilience, becoming more aware and relaxed.
The mind-body connection plays, of course, an important role in this. If one of the two is not well, the other one will be very likely affected, too – that is why you should always try to take care of both.
Step 3: Living a life full of he(art)
I refer to the final block of my daily routine as He(art), see what I did there?
As a visual artist, one of the main ways of taking care of my heart and soul is creating art, of course. I really wanted to make it my goal to train my creativity every single day, not only to evolve as an artist but also because it simply feels so. damn. good to create.
Things that are good for the heart are for example
- social connections
Make creativity part of your daily routine
When I created my daily routine, I did not want to set myself a rigid goal like ‘finish one painting a day, edit photographs for one hour, come up with x amount of concepts a day’. From my past experience I know that would have stressed me out, so instead, I try to focus on the joy of creating.
Usually, as soon as I get started, I fall into a creative flow state. Everything else comes easily.
But art is not the only way of making your heart happy, obviously. Another important factor can be your social surroundings or spirituality practices.
Commit to wholehearted activites that make you feel good
So maybe, instead of making art your spiritual practice, you could have a deep conversation with a friend that makes your heart full. Make time for play. Cuddle a loved one. Or focus on cultivating kindness and try to surprise someone by doing something nice for them.
Before going to bed, I like to reflect on the day with gratitude, opening my heart to an appreciation for everything good in my life. It can also be a good idea to keep a gratitude journal.
You know best what it is that makes your heart sing – and you deserve to have it every day. I believe that already doing only something little for your happiness every day goes a long way.
How to implement your mindful daily routine
You can start any day you like (as always, the best time is now). Throughout the day, keep reminding yourself of the three building blocks – mind, body, heart – and see what you have and haven’t done yet.
It really is that simple – the concept allows enough flexibility to even fit it into a busy day. After a while, reflecting on your habits will become a habit in itself, and it will go without thinking.
If making lists help you, you can also write down in the morning what you would like to achieve during the day. Define how you could take care of your mind, body, and heart today. In the evening, look back and reflect on your day before going to bed.
Worried about not being able to stick to your routine?
You got this. Start with easy goals and small changes. From there, as you see that you can trust yourself, you can start adding to your routine. The only important thing is to keep going and implement positive habits for yourself, no matter how small these may be in the beginning.
And remember, it is meant to be a mindful daily routine, so don’t stress yourself. You do not need to have a perfect routine right away. Rather tune in with your body to see what you need and allow an honest conversation with yourself.
And do not forget to gift yourself a smile when you know that you have done well for yourself today.
What does your routine look like? If this article inspired you to make any changes, pass it on to your friends!