Michelle Rupp: Joining us now is Ken Clark from Channel Family Therapy. Hi Ken, how are you today?

Ken Clark: I’m great. It’s so great to be here. Thanks for having me again. Great show.

MR: Thank you for coming back. Listen, we wanted to talk about getting back on that routine. You know, summer unofficially is, is over. It’s winding down. Kids are going back to school and oh my gosh, now we can’t sleep till nine in the morning, We’ve got to be up at 6 30. How do we, how do we start getting back on that routine?

KC: Yeah. So, it’s the struggle. It’s not just this time of year, right? We all, uh, probably ride this roller coaster of finding our groove and good routines and then something throws it off the car breaks down and we got to start catching rides with somebody else and that throws off our routine. So, this is one of the great human struggles to get back to the routines that, that work for us. So, um, one if you’re struggling with it, uh, your normal, uh, to the good news is solutions probably aren’t as hard as we think. And uh, don’t require as much, you know, kind of intestinal fortitude as they say. Like it doesn’t require as much grit. Just require some deliberate actions. So happy to give you some tips today on how to get back in those routines, definitely what are some of those hacks? Well, so the first thing is to know what routine you’re going for and why? Right. I think one of the things that we look across the population and we were bombarded with so many messages, whether it’s from the magazines we read or the shows we watch what everybody else’s routines are. You know, we see on social media and the person who’s at the, you know, great workout at the gym at five in the morning and we’re thinking, gosh, is that what I’m supposed to be doing? Is that what a routine is? Um, in the end our routines need to serve the outcomes that matter to us in life. So first and foremost, before you get back into your routine, design a new routine. Figure out what that routine is supposed to do, what do you want from your life? Do you need to be more organized, more efficient? Uh, do you need to stop running behind? You just need to have more quality time for you to make sure that the routines you design honor the outcomes and goals and lifestyle that matters to you. So that’s number one is defining that right, Number two, that the biggest thing that we need to do is I think not design a better routine but figure out what is getting in the way of that routine naturally happening and attempt to remove those barriers. I know I can speak for me personally, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I go all day long. So, one of the bad routines I get into is Netflix at 10 o’clock at night. Um, and when I get on Netflix at 10 o’clock at night to decompress before, I know it’s 1 30 in the morning and I binge watch something and that begins to throw off everything else. So, I think a lot of us would set about our lives saying you know what, I need to get up at six in the morning etcetera and not look at what keeps us from doing that. The reality is if I just figure out how to skip Netflix at 10 o’clock at night, my body is probably going to wake me up at six in the morning. So, we strongly recommend that that when people design their routines, the next step is to look at the biggest things that get in the way of that and attack those instead of scolding yourself for not sticking to your routine better.

MR: How do you create margin in your schedule as you are trying to put together a schedule or a routine?

KC: Yeah, so margin doesn’t create itself and all the obligations and commitments and people we have in our life uh that they will, they will gobble up that margin really quick. That the biggest thing that I do and that works for all the people that we coach, and we do therapy with is to literally just allocate more time to the existing things on your calendar uh than they take. Um So for example, this uh this interview today, I’ve got it blocked out for two hours, it never takes two hours, but that forces margin into the schedule. If I only book it for an hour, somebody’s going to book that next hour. Uh if you’ve got to run to the dentist or to your PCP office or whatever. Uh and you think you can probably get in and out of there in 90 minutes. Don’t put it on your calendar for 90 minutes. Put it on your calendar for two hours. Force margin into your calendar by booking your things for longer than they take. Yes, it will feel like you have less time, but we finally have some down time. Again. One of things we recognize Michelle is is that some of the natural margin that existed even 10 or 20 years ago has disappeared because things like downtime in the car are gone right in part with the pandemic, a lot of us stopped commuting, but now with our cell phones and podcasts and all these things, our brains are constantly inundated with information and connection, even when we should have some natural decompression time. So, by building an extra margin extra length into the times of the things we do. Uh It helps. I also highly recommend many fast, right many, many abstinence periods from electronics, especially when you’re in the car, especially when you’re sitting on an airplane. We don’t create a lot of room for our brains to just look around and wander and turning off the electronics as valuable as they are, is part of creating margin because if not the little bit of margin we have is filled with news headlines and Facebook posts and all kinds of things that ramp us up.

MR: And for as much as we need that margin. So oftentimes when we do go on like a Facebook fast or a social media fast or we’re flying and we leave it at home. It’s uncomfortable now to sit with yourself.

KC: Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s, that makes me think of as you know, the float tanks and the isolation rooms that are all the rage now. Like people can’t sit in those for five minutes without losing their minds, right? Like all that silence. Um, yeah, it’s quiet and downtime and being in nature and all these things are things that we’ve actually become uncomfortable with because they’re so rare. We need them, our brains need them, our nervous system needs them. But the only way to get used to them again is to force it upon our, our schedule and, and a climate and you need to sit through that uncomfortableness until it passes. There’s so much value on the other side.

MR: Great advice. One more quick question for parents who have a new school year on the horizon. Any hacks to kind of ease school transitions?

KC: It’s all about sleep in my opinion. There’s, there’s so much data around how sleep impacts mental health, brain function. Nervous system function Clearly, we need a routine to get our kids out of bed in the morning. So, I would highly recommend two weeks before school starts. Not the Friday before school starts but two weeks before school starts, we institute the bed times that we are going to wind down routines and the brush your teeth routines all kind of stuff that we are going to have um uh during the school year as well as the wake up routines and to get ready routines and put your room together routines. Um I think what a lot of us tend to do is we uh make the most of those last few weeks of summer. We stay up late. We packed vacations and we travel all that kind of stuff. Um And there’s no way that your kids’ bodies brains and nervous systems acclimate to what they need to by the time school starts. So really work on building those routines and even if you’re on vacation whatever two weeks before school starts and that that will give their body plenty of time to acclimate. That includes diet when you eat breakfast and what kind of dessert, they get whatever those routines are going to be that help your child during the school year. They need to start two weeks at least before school uh kicks back into gear.

MR: Alright, great advice at all as always Ken, thank you so much for joining us today.

KC: Great to be here. Thanks for asking the right questions.

MR: And thank you for joining us today. We’ll see you back here next week for more AFMC TV.