We often hear how success and habits are interlinked. While 2020 has proved to be a difficult year for maintaining a routine, it’s important to note that, daily habits can have a positive impact and, keep us balanced in all areas of our lives.

Through my mindful cooking project, Marmalade + Kindness, I have had the pleasure of interviewing a host of female entrepreneurs and creators, for my weekly segment ‘In the Kitchen With.’

Each week, these women generously share their time to give readers a glimpse into their daily routines and the activities that ground them, by answering ten prompts, ranging from ‘my cooking inspiration…’ to ‘favourite random act of kindness…’.

Why are routines so important?

Routines are the structures that we use to build our life — we might think of them as habits, rhythms, or daily rituals — but these are the practices that we return to time and again to give structure to our day. As Jefferson Bethke says in his book, To Hell with Hustle: Reclaiming your Life in an Overworked, Overspent, and Over-connected World, “…rhythm is living life with music and cadence, it’s coming back to something big or small, again and again, as a way of remembering and reminding.”

These practices are repeatable actions that have some meaning because they draw us into the present moment or provide an anchor and depth to our lives.Given our lives are the sum of all these tiny moments, being conscious of our daily routines or rituals allows us to assess whether our actions align with our values and the life we wish to lead. As James Clear observes in his bestselling book, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

So what are the practices that ground female founders? Here are my top five favourite routines and why you should adopt them!

1. Move in the morning

From Qi Gong, to yoga, to swimming in the lakes outside Amsterdam, there was one thing that most interviewees agreed on: get moving in the morning! There are many physical health benefits to getting some morning exercise, but what was interesting was that interviewees focused on the mental health benefits.

Clare Hopkins, Co-Founder, Balance Me observed, “I find my meditation through movement.” Children’s book author, Neridah McMullin walks regularly to “clear her head,” as “walking is [her] thinking time.” The link between movement and improved cognitive function is clear — a 2019 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking even for 30 minutes will increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, improving attention, visual learning, and decision-making. While gentle movement has also been used in clinical mindfulness practices for decades to help participants establish mind-body awareness.

2. Enjoy a morning coffee (or tea)

“Waking up, having my morning coffee and going for a run,” sets up Hirestreet UK CEO, Isabella West, for success, while for Margot Vitale, COO and Co-Founder, Curate Beauty, its “two cups of jasmine green tea in the morning.” Apart from the joy of freshly brewed coffee and the energy kick, this time was seen by interviewees as an opportunity to set an intention for the day, free of devices and other demands. As Daylesford Organics Nutritionist, Rhaya Jordan explains, “I make sure that the first thirty minutes of the day are mine. I’ll get up early to make that time for myself. I’ll start the day with a morning coffee, and something that slows me down (like read), but definitely no emails! I think it’s important to start the day with that quiet time.”

3. Journal daily

Interviewees also kept a variety of journaling practices, including gratitude journals and a writing practice called ‘morning pages’ (where you write for three pages non-stop when you wake up to help clear your mind and prioritize the day). Journaling has been proven to have numerous physical and emotional benefits. A 2005 study showed that expressive writing (like journaling) for only 15 to 20 minutes a day three to five times over the course of a four-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver functionality, while there’s a growing body of research on the benefits of expressing gratitude including, better sleep, stress reduction and healthier relationships. Kelly Smith, Founder, Yoga For You, values her daily gratitude practice as a chance to check in on how she’s feeling and connect with her dog, Mila. It’s a practice that offers her a period of quiet contemplation and keeps her “grounded and joyful.”

4. Sleep well

“Exercise and a good night’s sleep,” said Tessa Clarke, CEO and Co-Founder, OLIO of her daily routines, “Not exciting, but highly effective, so I guard them carefully!” The two bedtime rituals that came out on top were reading before bed, and having a relaxing bath. While, author Emily Rhodes combines the two: “having a bath every evening, with a book to hand and my phone out of the room.”

Good sleep is essential to health, as it impacts weight, cognition and immunity and even heart health. Given our modern lifestyles see us hooked to our screens and trying to squeeze more and more into every day, we forget that in the past, life was dominated by agrarian rhythms, with people sleeping an average of eleven hours a night before the advent of electricity. Fellow author Desiree Gullan describes her routine as “down with the sun, rise with the sun,” as this allows her to live in sync with nature.

5. Mindful moments

The final theme that came up was finding moments of mindfulness and awareness in everyday activities. “Spending time in nature and gardening puts me in my happy place, I can lose myself into an almost meditative state,” said Charlie Fowler, Founder, Magic Organic Apothecary. The rituals of sharing meals with loved ones and cooking were also important: “Meals with family (always at the table not in front of the TV!)’” said Lara Morgan, Founder, Scentered. This was echoed by LA-based nutritionist Ati Farmani, for whom “cooking and spending quality time with [her] husband” were grounding.

In the end “it’s all about connection,” says Sarah Metzger, Studio Owner, (Here) Yoga. We use these daily rituals to create connection — to ourselves, others and our environment. Our routines are an investment that set the tone for our quality of life, by building positive habits.

So, are your routines putting you on the path to success?


Originally published on Marmalade + Kindness: https://marmaladeandkindness.com/top-5-routines-of-female-entrepreneurs/