How You Start Your Day Matters
The other day I was rushing around like a mad thing, stressed, because we had woken up late and had to be at swimming lessons and there was just not enough time to get everything done. I was outside, hanging out the washing, when my almost 3 year old son walked outside (and, before I could get cranky at him for having taken his pants off) put his arms in the air, took a deep breath and said (with eyes closed) “Today is a beautiful day”. As I looked at him, he picked up a toy, looked out at the view and turned and walked back inside.
I was stunned. In that one moment, my son had reminded me of all the things I hold important, those that I value and aspire to attain…..and all those that I was currently NOT being true to. Let me tell you what I did in that moment. Firstly, I walked inside and gave that small human being a large hug and kiss (to which he responded, “I don’t want kisses mummy, just hugs” – so I gave him another one!). I then made myself a cup of tea and sat outside. While I drank my tea, I enjoyed being in the space – it really was a beautiful day. At that time in the morning, the temperature was cool, the sun was just coming onto our balcony, giving that fresh warmth that only comes with early summer mornings. My mind started to drift and berate myself for how I could have possibly missed how lovely it was and how I was so stupid for getting caught up in the chores. I then re-focused, put aside the self-punishment and just enjoyed the moment. I realised how lucky we were to have slept in – a very rare opportunity in our house, and how grateful I was to have my family. After I finished my tea, I continued on with the chores, however I did them in a way where my values and how I know I want to live my life was in the forefront of my mind. I was thoughtful having out the washing, I involved my son in cooking breakfast (which of course takes 3 times longer) and I made notes of the things I missed to do later.
The day continued on and was busy, however the way I moved through the day was significantly better than other days. I was slower, less rushed and more productive. I was more aware of HOW I was doing things as well as WHAT I was doing, and I did it mindfully. On reflection I realised this was because I had started my day differently (well re-started my day!). I had consciously thought about my values and how I wanted to live, and then, most importantly, I had done it.
We wake up and then get straight into whatever we need to be doing, the long list of chores, personal development and child caring. As a result of this, sometimes it feels like we just float through like, not really experiencing it, expressions like, “where has the time gone?” and “I don’t feel like I’ve had a weekend at all!” come to mind! We need to be aware of HOW we do things. If we would like to think a particular way, be a particular way, it is important we work towards DOING that in each moment. The problem is it’s hard, however if we can start our day right, it will give us the opportunity to start off on a good footing, to set the tone for the rest of the day to maximise the chance of success.
Tips for starting your day
- Journalling activity: Think about, in an ideal world, how would you start your day? What would you be doing differently, what would you be doing the same? What would other people be doing around you? Is this realistic?
- When you get up in the morning, is the first thing you do in line with your values and how you want to run your day (ie. do you pick up your phone, watch tv, kiss a loved one, do some exercise, meditate)
- Pick one thing you are going to work on for the next week to improve how you start your day. This could be starting the day with 10 deep breaths, it could be having a good breakfast, NOT looking at your phone while you are still in bed or making sure you say good morning to everyone in your household mindfully. Make sure this resonates with you and your values (what is important to you).
How do you start your day?
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