Are you starting your day happy, full of energy and purpose or do you wake up exhausted, filled with worry and dread about getting it all done?
I ask you this question because it is one I often ask myself in order to determine whether I am on track – on track with how I want to feel and experience my life. It is so easy to get wrapped up in and eventually run by the schedule of day-to-day living. When we don’t take time to notice whether what we are experiencing is what we actually want, we can create a perpetual cycle of activity, anxiety and exhaustion.
When we are stuck in this cycle it can feel true, like it is just the way life is, and I want you to know there is a simple, two-step way out:
2) Do something different
I realized in recent years that a big part of self-care is how I plan and structure my days. Reliably, the way I feel waking up and heading into my day tells me how well I am caring for myself. What I mean by caring for myself is creating an ideal environment for me to be myself. When I don’t create the right environment, I do not thrive. I lose connection with myself and forget the purpose of life – to be the fullest expression of myself. As a result, I get anxious and exhaust myself doing tasks that are not in alignment with who or how I want to be; or what I really want to do. I know that I am not alone in this pattern of self-forgetting as I see it in clients, friends and family members every day.
Do Something Different
When I finally noticed this very common pattern of falling asleep to life, instead of just sucking it up and trudging through the day, I started doing regular morning check-ins with myself. The first thing I do when I wake up is notice how I feel – sad, anxious, worried, angry or happy, excited, content, peaceful, energized, etc. After checking-in with myself, if I notice that I don’t feel positive about the day ahead, then I look at how I have the day structured. I usually realize that what I have lined up for the day clearly doesn’t feel good, so I look for what I could do differently and then DO IT! Sometimes, however, it is not clear what needs to change, so starting the day as planned can actually help to illuminate where a shift could be made. This morning was a great example of that.
I was doing my regular routine of coffee, breakfast and reading the paper. I could feel the anxiety rising as I thought about wanting to write this newsletter but not having time to do it until later in the day, if at all. So I stopped what I was automatically doing and decided I would prefer to be writing. I closed the newspaper, grabbed my notebook and pen and wrote. As a result I felt clearer, calmer and more energized about the rest of my day.
Noticing how you feel and doing something different are simple steps, but not also so easy, particularly if you have others depending on you – children, spouse, or even elderly parents.
When you have others relying on your time and attention, it can be more challenging to tune into yourself, but those demands do not diminish the importance of doing so – they make self-care more essential. In a recent article, There’s One Thing The Very Best Mom’s Do Every Day, I address why this type of self-care is important for mothers, but it truly applies to the impact of self-care in all relationships.
When your day doesn’t feel good to you, it doesn’t matter whether the shift you make is big or small, whether it is: choosing a different task, doing things in a different order, for a different length of time, in a different venue, in a different way, etc. The key is to tune into what would feel better to YOU and then do it!
Would like some support with tuning in and creating a better day for yourself?
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