There are many great reasons for creating and keeping routine for you and your dog, but mood and positive energy are two big ones we might ignore in our busy lives. Humans who stick to a routine are found to be happier and less stressed. We are creatures of habit, and your habits affect your mood. When you set up a routine designed around positive and healthy habits for you and your dog, you can start to live with a little more purpose and feel less behind.
 
Your routine doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous, it should reflect the activities that you like to do and feel best completing. My pup Raina and I could both live in bed if the world worked that way, but it doesn’t so we needed to adjust accordingly.  That’s why part of our routine every morning is to wake up slowly. We take about 10-30 minutes laying in bed without phone, computer, tv or any external factors. When we feel awake and ready to start the day vertically, Raina plays with her favorite toys and lays in the sun, while I do my human routine of drinking water, brushing my teeth and standing stretches. This habit gives us both a gentle transition from sleep to awake in a way that conserves and prolongs early morning energy rather than an abrupt switch from off to on.
 
Raina and I wake up most days between 530-630am in order for us to allow for enough time so we feel relaxed and not rushed in our routine. Some days, life happens and we rush out the door, but eventually we will make our way back to bed or the couch for 10-30 minutes of no distractions- just resting and being quiet together.
 
Your habits affect your mood significantly. When you get into the habit of directing your energy to a specific action at a specific time you actively shape the day into what you want it to be. Having a routine should help to keep you balanced. Monitor your personal health, family life or career choices. You may be off balanced if you are only following a routine in one area of your life. For most of us it’s career. We only have as much time as we make. Take some time to write down the important habits that make you feel taken care of, give you purpose, and the ones that just need to get done for the greater good. Find the balance between these and let it shape your day. When you’re balanced, your dog will notice and show it in their actions!
 
Where to Start

 
Take down some notes in timeline form of your average day from start to finish, incorporate your dog’s schedule as well, take note of actions that aren’t flexible (letting the pups outside, feeding times, work etc), star activities you do for pure enjoyment including activities for your dog, highlight open spaces.
 
– Write out a separate list of things you enjoy doing that feel there’s not enough time for, activities you want to do with your dog or habits you want to create for each of you individually.
 
– Blend the two lists. For example, start one day by taking a little time each day to focus on one thing that brings you happiness. Give yourself the mental space to do one task at a time in a setting that brings happiness and focus to both you and your dog.
 
– If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you are looking to sit quietly or have a long walk with you dog and you only manage five minutes, that is progress. Over time the routine will develop if the action is important to you.
 
– Be open to change! This can be fun, it can be frustrating, be okay with all spectrums. As creatures of habit it’s hard to change negatives into positives, but it’s worth it. If you are struggling with sticking to healthy habits in your routine, spend less time focusing on what’s going wrong and be aware of why and when things tend to go wrong. Notice any patterns with you or your dog, write them down, try again the next day!

Meet Meg! Not only is Meg my sister, but she is a dog mom! Meg, her boyfriend John and their dog Raina live in beautiful Hawaii. Meg works as a certified yoga instructor and is well versed in creating wellness and positive space for people and their dogs. Meg is going to be a continuing contributor to the DIY Dog Mom Blog so stay tuned to more from Meg!

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