321: 9 Tips for Resetting into a Life Rhythm to Harmonize with Your Life’s Desired Composition
Monday January 17, 2022

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December has the ability to take us out of our daily and weekly rhythms. With all of the joviality and celebration, we often excitedly step into the change and welcome the shift of energy and focus.

Similarly, when we have chosen a temporary project to focus our attention, our life routine, where we place our energies, what is prioritized and how we go about our days voluntarily changes. However, what we realize, is the routine preceding December or the commencement of the project, if we intentionally cultivated it, was created for a helpful reason.

As shared in episode #316, our lives need ‘white space’ as that is where we breathe, think, settle, found the ground and our balance before moving forward well into whatever is in front of us. To look at it another way, why is beautiful music so beautiful? Claude Debussy explains, ‘Music is the space between the notes.’ When our lives become too full, too jammed with demands, even if they lead us to supposed exciting results, our beings suffer, our peace of mind suffers and we ultimately end up exhausted gasping for space to catch our breath, unable to connect well or fully in a way that would actually foster the life we love living.

Inspired by my own life at the moment, the week ahead is my first week stepping back into the weekly and daily routines I have longed desired to be a part of my everyday life. The contractors are done. I have one job to hold my focus during the workday hours and I have five days in front of me to reset.

Resetting does not necessarily mean returning to what was. After all, the project has concluded bringing a result not previously part of your life, and if you are resetting after the winter holidays, you no doubt experienced either connections, conversations, or moments that deepened, awoken or informed you about something unknown prior to the month of December. You have the opportunity to apply what you are now aware of and enhance your way of dancing with your days and weeks.

How to reset constructively:

1. Let the rest and recovery happen

Your body is likely more tired than you realize as you have been traveling at a different pace and it has been carrying you with adrenaline to push through; however, this is not sustainable for clear thinking or engaging.

Often you know you need to give yourself excessive rest when you fall asleep far earlier than you ever would (7pm on the sofa – zonked out). Your body is trying to speak to you. This is not a bad habit because it is not a habit. It is a need, and when the body is fully rested, you will be able to return to your regular 7-9 hours of sleep, turning in at your usual time and waking up to begin your day well. However, in the meantime, honor what your body is asking for.

2. Reflect on your previous routine pre-project/holidays

What I have done and did do this past weekend was pull out my old journals as I keep a list of my daily schedules as they evolved over time. I read them closely to understand how and why I chose them, and even though you may think you will remember, often, it is the details of the day that make it harmonize with what you need, so read and look closely.

Bring back what you missed, ignore what was a headache, and then read #3 . . .

3. Decompress

Now is the time to just put down on paper in a journal or talk with a counselor what you are relieved about, anxious about, hopeful about, excited about, etc..

Often we think by ‘thinking about’ each of these items in our head, we’ve helped ourselves out, but actually, they remain jumbled in our mind and we haven’t sorted out the ‘why’ clearly or rationally.

When we see our thoughts on paper, when we hear our words spoken outloud and being received by another person who is objective, we can ascertain where we are being constructive in our thinking and where we are still stuck in the stress or jazzed-up, adrenaline fueled energy (that is unsustainable) caused by the project or holiday season.

Before we make any changes, additions or deletions, we want to make sure our mind is grounded, and our clarity of what we want our daily and weekly routine to foster understood without confusion by the previous temporary shifting of how we were going about our lives.

4. Don’t do anything drastic

Often January turns into the month of extreme restriction – dry January or excessive working out. Essentially, reverting to extremes that are never intended to be a regular rhythm keeps us in a state of instability. No wonder we get out of rhythm easily and have difficulty shifting to a helpful pace if we swing from one extreme to the next. When we have a steady, grounding daily and weekly routine, we can savor those extras, those beautiful surprises, those moments that exceed our imaginations whenever they arise whether in January, December or anywhere in between for whatever reason.

5.Strengthen the foundation – food, exercise and mental massage

The tripod of health is something long talked about here on the blog. Make sure your three pillars of good health are tended to and brought back into rhythm in your routines – (1) what you eat, (2) your consistent physical exercise routine (aerobic, strength) and (3) regular strengthening of your mind.

In my case, my weekly grocery shopping became irregular as I usually shop on Mondays after reading through cookbooks and planning the week on Sundays. I look forward to returning to this weekly routine as the markets are quieter, often restocked after the weekend and the week becomes fresh and full of delicious meals waiting to be enjoyed.

My exercise thankfully does not need to be revamped as that was the self-care component that kept me steady throughout the regular changes and arrivals and tasks in the house happening – each week different than the next. The one thing the contractors did know was that Shannon would be out of the house in the morning with Norman taking a walk and would be back to answer questions momentarily.

My meditation and mindfulness practice wasn’t perfectly steady, but it was inconsistently steady. So while I need to improve it, it will be easier to reset as I have been returning to it as often as my days allowed and always, without fail, felt steadier after each morning practice.

6. Find space and time for your social connections

Begin to look outside of your work schedule, if the project that was all consuming was work-related, and connect with people and events simply because you enjoy their company and/or the activities you were not able to make time for. While truthfully, we should not extricate time with either as it reveals we have taken them a bit too much for granted, spend time and energy to acknowledge this awareness and step back or toward what you know is vital to your connection for social engagement.

From carving out time for visiting a local bookshop with no intended purchase in mind, meeting a friend for drinks, taking in a local theater production, taking a day-trip with a loved one somewhere that catches the curiosity for you both, make time and share time together.

7. Finding Your Financial Footing

After the holidays, often our budgets take a hit, and after a project we’ve invested in, the same too may be the case.

It may seem the best idea is to go to extremes, and really ratchet down your spending, but often this is counter-intuitive, similar to drastic dieting.

The best idea is to set a plan for, yes, reduction of spending, but also for paying off what needs your financial attention. Take the long-term, intentional approach, to slow your speed and find a rhythm with money that will last not just through January, but ensure you don’t ratchet up the excessive spending or investment again next December or when it comes to projects, keep in perspective your appreciation for what you have put your money into and not rush to the next project just to keep your ‘mind’ busy.

If you do want to do a hard, but not excessive reset, simply take one full week off in January from spending anything. This will give you time to assess, find your footing and clarify any decisions moving forward.

8. Begin to think less about the future and more about today

Initially this may seem counter-intuitive, but likely as the year began you set either resolutions or revolutions or at least an intention for the year. I have included a post below full of ideas for creating a fresh start.

Once you have approximately 3 (but no more than 5) specific outcomes you wish you attain over the year, clarify the behavior, activities and small steps you need to tend to in your everydays. Then, let go of thinking about the future, and focus on how you move through your days.

If your intention is to learn specific skills on becoming a better master of your mind, or a better communicator or more loving, explore this list of books and instead of seeing them as a huge task to conquer, purchase one book and move through it in your own time, in your own everydays, without evening thinking about what will be next. You know where to look when you are ready to for the next book should you want to read it, but for now, focus on what you are doing now.

In other words, when you were immersed in the project, you were likely thinking about the outcome more than you wanted to, which pulled you away from your everyday focus, savoring the life you have the good fortune to live, investing well in certain relationships because you were all-in on the project. However, that needs to change, and the change needs to bring us back into the present. Trusting we’ve put into place the small tasks to tend to that will lead us where we desire to arrive, but along the way, keep us open to the beauty of the everyday.

9. Now, let go

When we are so hyper focused on one aspect of life – the holidays or a project we hope will change our lives for the better, we have planned, we have looked ahead, and we then are often so laser focused, but we often forget to just be, to just let go, to fully see what is presented by the people we happen to meet, the events as they happen to occur, the weather that dances around the days we try to structure so rigidly.

Let go, immerse yourself in the life you love living, savoring the simple pleasures along the way, listening well and sharing yourself fully, and see what happens.

January need not be the extreme month of deprivation or punishment it often becomes, but rather a month to reset, to take a deep cleansing breath and settle into a rhythm that elevates our everydays, setting precedent for how we will move through the entire year that awaits our travel forward.

The Extra Item for the Blog Reader (not heard on the episode)

10. Have patience and be gentle with yourself

Often, especially after a jarring life event (if unwanted), all we want is to get back to steady, to get back to calm, and even if we love the outcome of the holidays or the project we have just wrapped up, we want to be able to snap our fingers and be back into our regular rolling through the day, but more time is needed.

It takes time to acclimate to any new or new-as-of-late routine or rhythm, and when we understand this, we can be gentle with ourselves. This is why, bringing back more self-care than you may normally do on a regular basis would be a good idea. Take an extra bath this week, be okay, spend more time meditating than you may normally do on a regular day, take on less work if you can manage that, just so you get your sea-legs back.

The rhythm you are resetting your life to follow will return but instead of demanding it arrive and becoming frustrated when you don’t feel settled as quickly as you had hoped, know that its slow arrival will ensure it stays in your days for a good long while.

Now I am off to take a bubble bath and settle into my evening. Bonsoir.

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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #321

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19 thoughts on “321: 9 Tips for Resetting into a Life Rhythm to Harmonize with Your Life’s Desired Composition

  1. Shannon,

    Thank you for this reminder how we can compose our lives, mindfully and with grace. I take some of these steps each year, but your insights give me new ways to re-examine my January reflections.

    I also like to plan my menu for the week and shop, meal prepping on Sundays which is relaxing and helps me eat healthy, seasonal dishes. I do love your cooking show and look forward to the next season. Would you ever consider sharing some of your weekly menus? I’ve used so many of your recipes so would love to see what else you are up to in the kitchen from a planning angle. Today, I’m making Thai Red Curry Vegetables with Tofu and Stuffed Cabbage with Ground Turkey to get me through the week.

    Have a great day,


  2. I could not love or agree with this post more! So much wisdom! I’ve always felt like I have to explain why I’m not doing Dry January or Whole 30 or whatever other January deprivation – this post gives me the words I’ve been searching for. Thank you, Shannon!

    1. Marina,

      So glad to hear this post/episode resonated with you. ? Perhaps the group following of drastic measures in January provides support for people, or accountability, but we can do this with smaller approaches for ourselves as we know what individually brings us joy and steadiness.

      Thank you for your comment.

  3. Shall I just say yes. For several reasons the last couple years of disruption and frustration have cemented my beliefs in the plan I set forward years ago. I have a system to complete my life tasks, to plan for projects months ahead, and to protect my psyche in the process. It has served me well during this pandemic. Routines, I thrive on routine. While I do not set resolutions in January, I do have a negotiable plan for my work, for scheduling time with friends as well as some charity groups that I support.

    Because I have had one disruption after another during a large remodeling project that totally dismembered the center of my home, I tried to maintain my flexible schedule to keep me focused. After some workmen set my kitchen on fire, it has been quite stressful, But mostly my plan worked. But I do understand how it feels to have your home back, to not have strangers roaming about, this or that not working properly, regretting the decisions made months before that were non-negotiable. The Friday, 4 days from now is supposed to be the last day I will have workmen in my home. It has been over a year now. I have a cinnamon tea cake recipe that I have been wanting to try so when I close that door, the tea and that cake comes out!

    Keeping our body, mind, and soul intact should always be a priority. Sorry about the moan and groan. Let me just say that there will be NO big projects this year, none, nada, never again. Really.

    1. Lucy,

      No apology necessary. ? Sounds as though you have had quite the year and I cannot wait for you to arrive at Friday, bake your cinnamon tea cake and savor the moment of calm and deliciousness in your newly customized sanctuary. The year of disruption (oh my goodness, a fire! Yikes!) will have been most worth it.

      Thank you for sharing how your resetting is approached and celebrating with you from afar on Friday. ?

    2. Enjoy your cake, Lucy ? and having weathered all the upheavals of your home renovations .
      Hopefully you can now sit back and enjoy them !
      Best wishes from the UK

      1. You are so kind. The cumulative stress has been a bit much but as I said, I have routines, sometimes a bit scattered, but nonetheless
        , the reminders in this post support my premise. Sometimes I think Shannon reads my mind!

  4. Enjoy the peace and tranquility Shannon ?

    Every change that you have been making to Le Papillon have transformed it into your very own Simply Luxurious space , reflecting the things you love and hold dear .
    Now you will have the time to enjoy them even more !

    However, you have just completed several life changing projects…….your home , the new book and web design, and leaving your teaching post……..as well as saying goodbye to Oscar
    to name just a few.

    Take time to readjust to your new way of being , to create and enjoy the next steps of your new journey………it may take some time for all the changes , ( happy, exciting and sad ) to become assimilated , and for you to find new rhythm for your days .

    Thank you for the podcast , and for all the lovely links to past articles .

    Have a wonderful week.

    x Anne x

    1. Anne,

      Thank you for your kind words of awareness, comfort, support and encouragement. You read so closely when you visit TSLL blog and I am grateful for your readership. I will certainly take your words to heart. Your understanding, warmth and yes, love, are more appreciated than you know.

      Wishing you well and a beautiful day. xoxo

  5. A very important point – or a set of points, really-, thank you, Shannon. For me, it takes me a good part of January to settle back to rhythm, with or without changes, and there are always changes, wanted and unwanted, big or small, to deal with, to take in and to process. Although I keep the season festivities to a “minimalist minimum”, it still takes quite an amount of energy to pull it off. Yes, ‘white time’ is what I try to give myself in January, by practicing mainly points 1. and 8., as much as possible. And breathing… 🙂

    Nothing drastic, certainly no harshness or diets on my calendar, thank you very much. Life, as it currently is – pandemic still going -, brings its own set of limitations and deprivations.

    In my country, we have a saying: “deixar assentar a poeira”, liteally “let the dust settle”, which is pretty much universal wisdom and suits the January mood just fine. In February, we can start “cleaning the house again”… 😉

    I wish everyone in TSLL community a calm month of January, “letting the dust settle”, as a lovely and healing transition into 2022.

    1. -Forgot to mention that I just had to add “The Language of the Butterflies” to my reading list. How could I not to? … Together with birds, butterflies are my favourite animals in the wild.

      🙂 Thank you!

      1. Me too! I was immediately intrigued when I saw it laying on the table–bees, butterflies, birds, and the garden to go with them. Here here to “letting the dust settle”, I love that! XO

  6. Shannon, what a great actionable list! And I love that you point out that a ‘re-set’ can be done at ANY point in your year, or your life, for that matter.
    The proofs are on the way, wow, congratulations! Just waiting for that magical post that announces “Pre-Orders”!
    Your primary bathroom shower is simply gorgeous, very Mediterranean, from Provence all the way ’round through Morocco, lovelovelove.
    I, too, am ready to regain my footing. Last year was a beast that I am very happy to have in my rear-view mirror.
    While I don’t make ‘revolutions/resolutions’, I do try to have one word that I want to frame the year and my journey through it. This year, I chose ‘Grace’, (or it chose me..). So your reminders in #9 and #10 are exquisitely apt. Thank you Shannon. XO ?

    1. And of course, well done on navigating a tumultuous, productive, life-changing, and at times heart-rending, year. You are a beacon and a voice I so so appreciate and learn from. Let us all have a grand start,(or re-start) to our awaiting adventures. Looking forward to continuing all the discoveries and insights you bring us. Merci. XO

  7. A great list Shannon .January is a difficult time sometimes to navigate. For me it’s just about being still. I don’t do resolutions but take time to reflect and add small changes throughout the year. The lead up to the festivities can be hectic and take its toll .I just like to cocoon a little and take it easy. More time outdoors no matter what the weather is doing . Lots of simple nutritious meals, more yoga , mediation and reading .This brings me on to your book “The language of butterflies”. Just perfect for you .I have spent a lot of time creating spaces for them in my garden and I can literally spend hours observing them so I might have to invest in this book. I was surprised to learn last year that the beautiful European peacock butterfly(Aglais) makes a hissing sound! Will await your trusted review.
    Now that your renovations and the book are nearly in the bag you can definitely bask in the glory You’ve put in such a lot of energy into accomplishing both. Indeed a lovely way to start the year.
    Looking forward very much to more TSLL delights this year. xx

    1. Lovely post Kameela, I like the idea of a tranquil and serene January to begin a fresh new year ?
      x Anne x

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