I'm sure you can relate to my relationship with routines and productivity tools in some way:

You may have attempted to create the perfect routine, one that includes all the healthy and enjoyable things, yet remains simple enough to follow. However, after enough experience, you may have realized that these routines never quite stick. They become stale, outdated, and overloaded, eventually losing their meaning over time.

And that's okay. As humans, we are dynamic in our values, desires, relationships, and hobbies. Therefore, our routines should also be dynamic. No static routine will work, nor should it. It's not a bug but a feature that you'll have to sit down every few months to tinker with a new routine, mindset, calendar, or journaling process.

DALL-E prompt: a beautiful painting that visualizes the idea of having a toolbox for the mind and body such as meditation, yoga or breathwork

DALL-E prompt: a beautiful painting that visualizes the idea of having a toolbox for the mind and body such as meditation, yoga or breathwork

So yes, we are very dynamic beings (I personally feel like I can’t settle on any way of living for too long) but some things are nonetheless constant: You need some **form of mindfulness, being in touch with the moment, art, yourself. There are other constant factors like regular exercise and sleep too but let’s focus on mindfulness in the broadest sense.

If you're someone who, like myself, has gone through multiple phases of trying out the newest shiny mindfulness trends, such as experimenting with new forms of meditation, breathwork, or journaling, or engaging in activities like walking or yoga, read on.

And it’s very tempting to design a routine around one of them in particular. But once you have acquired a taste and history with all these tools, you can have a routine that is more abstract and boils down to: Have half an hour in touch with your mind and body. And make sure you do it in a way that is suitable specifically for you in that moment. That’s it.

Here I will describe my own version of this sustainable dynamic routine:

  1. Make a list of all the things that fall under the broad umbrella of mind-body toolbox. It is really up to you what this definition covers and you will keep adding to the list over time.
  2. After waking up, you make some beverage (Earl Grey in my case) and sit down in front of your list to briefly reflect or journal on the following: What mix of things on the list do you need right now, if you are honest and loving to yourself? For example, don’t lie to yourself saying I should do 30 min. of silent meditation. Maybe you just wanna do something more movement and rhythm-based. Usually this can be 2-3 things that fit 30 minutes such as: 5 minutes stretching - 10 minutes dancing - 10 minutes meditation - walking in the garden.
  3. Thats it. As I said, it is really important to be honest with yourself and the list should have enough variety to cover different needs and phases in life. Of course you can have many other routines in your life that could cover exercising or deep work. But I believe that the majority of good things start with being comfortable in your mind and body. All else will follow on top.

Before I note down my current list, I want to reflect on why this feels like a routine that makes me happy long-term. That isn’t a tedious to-do list after a month.

In short: Something about it felt less coercive. It does not become guilt-driven after a week of excitement about this new version of myself. It is open-ended enough that the current self can decide what it needs and what feels natural, and does not feel pressured by a past self that had no idea and can be cruel.

So here is my toolbox for the body-mind, a collection that makes me look back with some proud on several years of exploring meditation and myself.