Lesley Youngblood

Granola girl, Earth Mama, Crazy Cat Lady, Dragon Whisperer

Tales of Chaotic Good

5 Simple Steps to a Better Day

Posted by lyoungblood1500 on May 27, 2020 at 1:05 PM

I love sleep. Truly.


Until about a year ago, mornings were my enemy. I hated waking up, hated leaving my dreamworld behind, hated the cold of getting out of bed. I had some fantasy about what it would be like to be a morning person – basking in the sunrise, communing with nature in the quiet before humanity stirs into cacophonous activity. But I just wasn’t one of “those people.”


I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was leaving my corporate gig and working from home, where I had the ability to sleep in if I wanted to most days. Somehow the fact that getting up early was an option rather than a requirement made it more palatable. Maybe it was a change in my diet that allowed me to sleep more fully and feel rested in the mornings when that alarm went off. Whatever the cause, I slowly made my peace with mornings. And once I made the switch, I was hooked.


Mornings are no longer my enemy. They are my haven, and my favorite part of the day.


Now, I’m not saying you have to embrace your inner “morning person.” You can use these five simple steps whenever you start your day – even if that’s noon. But I do recommend some consistency to feel the biggest impact. If you can carve out just 30 minutes at the start of your day, these simple steps can honestly make the rest of your day go more smoothly.



STEP ONE: Make a cup of something warm and yummy.


See, this one you probably already do, so give yourself a pat on the back for being on the right track without even knowing it! Maybe it’s hot tea or a cup of joe or a half-caf Mocha Chagalatte. No matter how simple or complex, starting the day with a warm and fragrant beverage actually starts your motor running, and gives you a mental reward for waking up.


STEP TWO: Set a timer.


Now that you’ve dispelled the worst of sleepy-headitus, you’re ready for more focused activity. Setting a timer will allow you to move through the next steps without constant fear of time looming over you. Even if you have all the time in the world – as some of us do right now – setting a timer allows your brain to let go of clock watching and focus on self for this period of time.



STEP THREE: Set your intention.


This can be anything from a specific goal you want to accomplish (completing your to do list, or finally finishing that report you’ve been putting off) to how you want to feel or behave through this day (being more patient with people or feeling more joy.) Whatever your goal is, give yourself a couple minutes to fine tune it down to one clear intention for this day. Say it aloud a few times: “Today I am more loving to my husband” or something like that. Keep it to one sentence and one crystal clear idea. Now visualize yourself doing this. Actually see yourself being more joyful or finishing the last page of that report. See it as though you have already done it.


 

STEP FOUR: Exercise.


Give yourself ten to fifteen minutes of body movement of some kind to get the blood flowing. This can be stretching, yoga, a quick walk around the block, anything. If you have more time and are someone who loves a strenuous workout, bless your heart, maybe this is your cardio or core strength training or your time at the gym. If you don’t have even 10 minutes to spare (full-time parent, I’m talking to you), try one minute of box breathing to get oxygen moving through your body and brain.


Box breathing, if you aren’t familiar: inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, and hold there for 4 seconds. Repeat that entire series 4 more times. As an option, I engage my body as well when doing this, by raising my arms overhead while inhaling, holding my arms up during the hold, then allowing my arms to lower and my body to bend at the waist during the exhale, and touching my toes for the last hold. Each round is 16 seconds, so 4 rounds would be just over one minute, and voila! You’re good to go to step five.



STEP FIVE: Cultivate calm and positivity.


This is the inspirational part - finding something that brings a smile to your face and calm to your spirit. This can be anything like saying affirmations, meditating, EFT Tapping, journaling, prayer, a daily devotional, or just reading something inspirational. Five to ten minutes here is time invested in you, and therefore time well spent. This anchors in the attention to self, grounding your mindset, and equipping you to face the day – and your earlier stated intention – with positivity rather than anxiety.


And that’s it! These five steps can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 40 minutes or more, so it’s entirely up to you and your schedule how long you devote to this self care routine daily. I find that starting my day with these simple activities really does make an impact on my entire day. I’d love to hear what you find works for you and how your days are altered for the better with this practice.


Until next time,

Be well!

 

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