DEVELOPING ROUTINES

Starting My Day with Making the Bed

For anyone dealing with any sort of mental health challenge (any health challenge really) ((or just feel like there is too much to do in a day)), we struggle with what some may describe as procrastination or laziness.

For example, over the years, I had slid into a habit of reading the news, work email, and/or social media on my phone while trying to get out of bed after the alarm went off. After a while of that, I would jump out of bed and rush around getting ready to start my day. My husband did the same. Our bed was rarely made. I also had a couch that served as a dumping ground for clothes that got tried on, but didn’t make the cut that day. Every few weeks someone would have to go through the pile and hang everything back up.

Our cluttered bedroom was not a relaxing place. Sheepishly, I feel obliged to let it be known that both my parents and my in-laws taught us to make our beds. They always made theirs and I’m sure would have been extremely appalled at how it was NOT happening in our home. Shame, guilt, shame, guilt.

In January, I thought about all the usual new years resolutions, like losing weight, learning to play an instrument, exercising, learning a new language, going vegan, etc. but decided I didn’t want to set myself up for failure yet again. This year I really wanted to be able to accomplish my new years resolution. 2020 was going to be my year. So, I picked Making the Bed.

Reasons why Making the Bed is a great way to start the day:

  • SIMPLICITY: It’s honestly as simple as you want/need it to be. We just take the comforter and cover the bed. Then we line up the pillows. That’s it.
  • PRODUCTIVITY: A 2019 study surveying 1,000 American adults suggested a correlation between making the bed in the morning and being productive.
  • ACCOMPLISHMENT: It’s also something accomplished, done, out of the way, first thing in the morning. It’s a way to create momentum to start checking things off the To Do List. See Productivity.
  • PREVENTION: As my 11-year old pointed out, after making his bed, it was a lot less inviting to crawl back in as you don’t want to undo what you’ve already accomplished.. It kind of gently FORCES you to start your day. See Accomplishment.

It’s weirdly both an easy and difficult resolution to keep. It’s an easy enough task that takes minimal time. But it has an emotional weight to it and it requires a 365-day commitment.

I definitely feel guilty if I can’t even take 1 minute to get it done. (Working on shifting that shame to a self-talk that asks: So! What is the barrier? How can I make this easier on myself?) Plus, different awake times with a partner can also throw this off. I tended to make my side of the bed when I got up, while my husband would leave it for me if he was up first. This annoyed me to no end until I decided to assume that we were both trying to be thoughtful. I was trying to reduce his work while he was not to disturb my sleep. (Confirmed with husband, yes that was it!)

Once I cleared that up, I was able to feel good about this little routine no matter how it happened. It became a routine that just got done.

This is a daily win for me now!

If you are looking to build a daily routine, I highly recommend making your bed as a foundational one.

If you already have that one down, then add something else that brings you closer to your aspirations, like stretching or meditation for your health.

One step at a time.

One day at a time.

PODCAST INTERVIEW, STORYTELLING

“Perfect Chinese Son” to “Backpacking Bum”

Watch Jonathan’s TEDx talk, enjoy the Su Family photo album. and listen to our interview below.



The Su Family on their last day of quarantine in Hong Kong!

When you visit their robust website, you can tell that they are living their lives THEIR way, not necessarily the way they were brought up by their parents to. But they have been able to balance the best of the East and West to parent their three amazing children.

Authentic (and brutally honest), Jonathan and Annie share their experiences in our podcast, touching on numerous Sandwich Parenting Topics, such as:

  • Generational Difference: Their parents grew up during in World War II and lived with chaos, war and starvation. Their parenting mentality was all about how to survive, to be safe, and to provide for the family.  Jonathan and Annie had to move from survival mode to a focus on living with meaning.
  • Education: For Asians, education is important and its costs are usually all covered by parents.  The Sus did not want to have the kids graduate with debt, but also wanted them to develop a sense of responsibility. As they did not want their kids to feel like they were getting handouts, they developed a graduated educational cost covering system. This is such a good idea, I’m going to copy them! Listen to the interview to hear about this awesomely thoughtful system. Pro skills!
  • Cultural Differences: Annie was parented with a Confucian mindset, which includes a top-down approach where elders (even strangers) “feel entitled” to tell us what to do, what to think, and how to look.  Learning a Western approach to disagree was difficult for her.
  • Mental Health Issues: Annie had to go through counselling to learn how to push back and encourage elders to mind their own business.  Simultaneously, in a typical Sandwich Parenting situation, she recognizes that her former parenting style may have caused her kids problems, but now she’s able to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know better. Yes, my life choices or mistakes may have negatively impacted you, but what are we going to do now? Let’s figure it out.”
  • Meeting parental expectations: Jonathan did everything the Chinese immigrant parents want for their son. He had made his parents very happy with his model education, career, marriage, and even two kids (one boy, one girl)… Then, at age 30, “he became a bum picking up trash with the street children in Kunming” when he decided to pursue a more meaningful life for him and his family.

Their Key Message:

Don’t be confined by your culture or environment.  Be creative in finding and pursuing your passion and helping your kids find and pursue theirs.

Jonathan Su’s TEDx Talk at Yunnan University 2018.

Su Family Photo Gallery