Family, relationships, work and/or studies, living situation, friendships, and social engagements are what gives responsibility and definition to our everyday realities. From the time we wake up in the morning; we begin thinking about all it is we must accomplish within the day ahead. If commuting is part of the routine, it also serves as a time for either a few more minutes of sleep or mental preparation. However, if time is spent inside the home for work/study purposes, caretaking, or as retirees, the same still applies for daily organization and planning. By the time 10 a.m. rolls around, it sometimes feels like the day has already been lived and our energy is spent; coffee break, please? The day marches forward and before we know it we are exhausted by the time our heads hit the pillow. But what if we can make small changes within our daily experience to make it more gentle and pleasant? We can if we choose with some rearranging, flexibility, and steady commitment.
1. Whether showering/bathing in order to start the day or before going to bed, make a conscious effort to focus on the activity of cleanse. Replace thoughts of preoccupation with being fully present in a moment that is private yet ritualistic. It will become more refreshing.
2. While getting dressed, take pride and choose clothes/accessories that reflect a personal style whether it be full business attire to active sportswear. Impressions are generally formed by initial visual impact. When one feels good about what he/she is wearing, it also boosts the state of mind.
3. The age old adage of eating breakfast in the morning truly does promote a healthy and balanced diet. It eliminates hunger pangs, thirst, and allows for clearer concentration and energy. It also helps manage overeating at lunchtime and dinner.
4. Make time for a “mid-morning” break. By taking anywhere from 5-20 minutes to pause, stretch, get fresh air, exchange a laugh, enjoy a cup of coffee, or a moment in silence, brings a new set of eyes to the task at hand.
5. Lunchtime warrants not only good quality food whether prepared from home or purchased, but your attention to sit down and slow down. By actually focusing on the process of eating, it gives the mind a mental break and is more enjoyable to all five senses.
6. When appropriate throughout the day, listen to background music, check/play on the phone every so often, keep a small journal, and/or have the newspaper handy. By building in an outlet, it gives you a sense that (at least) some of your time is your own.
7. Join a team or play a sport, go to the gym, take a walk, read a book, enroll in lessons for personal enrichment/fun, garden, cook, shop, meet up for coffee, and/or watch a favorite TV show. Do some type of satisfying activity that promotes creativity, mobility, and mental stimulation of self-nurture.
8. Social exchanges are a basic human need that increases happiness. By being in the presence of loved ones or at the very least someone to converse with, it lessens the feeling of being isolated and lonely.
9. Signs and gestures of affection through actions, words, and physical contact that are given and received on a daily basis create moments of feeling loved, nurtured, validated, and appreciated. Sincere human contact has many benefits on emotional health and well-being.
10. Eat dinner while sitting at the table using silverware and a plate rather than from a box or container. This helps portion control, the pacing of the meal, and giving importance to the nutrients that fuel the body. If dining alone, it’s the perfect moment of solitude and if in company, it’s the perfect way to converse and share the day’s events and everything else in between.
11. Make a bedtime ritual whether it’s sipping a cup of warm milk or tea, reading to promote relaxation (independently or if you have children), lighting a candle, listening to soft music, or finding a quiet moment to sit in a favorite chair. When you are relaxed and sleepy, tuck yourself in bed in and sleep well to avoid getting a second wind.