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  • Writer's pictureEve da Silva Msc, PgDip

How to make your London routine work for you.

Personal Refections on thriving in the city.

I have found lately that keeping on top of my routine leaves me

feeling drained. Life in a big city is full of opportunity, interesting things to do and the chance to access just about any shop, art work and transport with very little effort.

When you have a busy routine and a lot of responsibilities it doesn’t feel that way. Getting from home to the office can leave me feeling so sapped of energy in the morning I don’t even know how to get through without caffeine and sugar. Childcare brings great emotional and practical demands.

No matter how any of us, myself included, try to drop expectations of perfection we still do come up against the expectations or performance of others and it can be so difficult not to let our egos take over and compare ourselves or find ourselves lacking.

It is also a truth well established for most of us who live in London that life in a city can feel strangely isolated despite the constant proximity to people. Whilst many of us are lucky enough to have found a community of people to belong with, our individual responsibilities can leave us feeling to drained to truly connect and enjoy quality time.

Another challenge is the capacity of our budgets to stretch to the living costs of belonging to this buzzing cosmopolitan and financially demanding city. Regardless of ones income bracket the city demands more.

How then do we find the balance? Every season there seems to be a new fad to stick a plaster on the wound. Should we import Hygge from the Scandinavians and imbue our lives with extra cosiness? Should we adopt Marie Kondo’s approach and turn to minimalism? Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the lifestyle advice out there (this blog certainly likes to dish it out!) it can sometimes feel superficial in the face of the hard challenges many of us face. I have only scraped the surface of the tricky stuff in this article and I am sure for anyone who reads it they can’t help but think of more serious challenges they are facing which mean that the morning commute or perhaps the evening dinner time is a daily marathon of strength and stamina.

Many of the tips and tricks in the blog require time. In “2 minute bedtime routine” I have kept it simple because sometimes 2 minutes is all you have. In the weekend mindfulness at home retreats series I have kept it to London solutions to be considerate of the time and financial demands we all face. It may feel like a hugely rebellious act to take a whole weekend or even half a day to create this retreat for yourself but it could make all the difference to fill your soul bank for the month.

I have found Julian Daizan Skinner’s book ‘Practical Zen’ the most incredible, down to earth and applicable way to start to envision a routine and life that feels more nurtured and less harried. If work demands are getting to you, it's hard to go wrong with Stephen Covey's seminal “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

A cognitive behavioural approach to the situation is to consider ones’ routine and how to better plan and manage it to fit more in line with your values. This is why setting an intention and learning about goals is such an important part of getting a handle of your routine.

When you know what you are working towards you can start to channel your energy more directly and feel less like a slave to your routine.

Ultimately sometimes it takes a break in routine to fix it. Whether you are knocked out by illness or find yourself with so extra annual leave days waiting to be used up or perhaps you have an unexpected offer of childcare support whatever gives you a day or a few days off can make a huge difference if you use some that time to reflect on what you need and how you can get more of that into your week going forward. Just remember that you are an individual and what enriches you is unique to you, if the advice here doesn’t work for you just take what resonates and allow yourself to find your own path.

A note on mental health, should you find that you are so overwhelmed that things leave you feeling hopeless and helpless do tell your GP and let them work with you to improve things.

It may seem daunting at first but there are caring, skilled people who will be so warm and kind to you and offer you practical talking therapies to support you in finding your light again.

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