When you get out of bed in the morning and hit the ground running with barely a moment to spare, let alone a thought to yourself, you are NOT in charge of your day. You are operating on automatic, going through the motions to get you from point “A” to point “B.”
If you long to be a self-determined individual with goals and aspirations, in good physical and mental health, you need to stop operating on automatic and take the reins of your life. This begins by taking control of your day. Experts call this sense of control “agency,” and it ranks as a high predictor of good mental health.
Setting the tone from the start of your day predicts how you move through the rest of it in terms of your attitude, focus, perspective and motivation. When you choose to be active and direct upon waking allows your time to engage in a routine that energizes, invigorates and inspires you. You send the message to your brain that
your world is full of possibilities
and YOU are a clear, strong, calm, and capable person able to seize them!
The best way to go about seizing these possibilities is to find one or two things that resonate with you and practice these consistently, just as you make time in the beginning of the day to shower, dress, and check your email.
Here are some ideas for daily self-care practices to fill your cup:
Keep a journal or log to jot down passing thoughts, feelings, dreams, or ideas; it helps to unload if you tend to have a lot on your mind.
Go for a walk in your neighborhood or at a close by park or garden so you are able to take in some fresh air and sunshine, especially if you are likely to spend the better part of your day indoors.
Do some light stretching or yoga to feel back in your body, to warm up your muscles, and to relieve achiness and stiffness after a night’s sleep.
Engage in a meditation or breath awareness practice. These can be one in the same as meditation, in its most basic form, is relaxation of the body and the mind with a gentle abiding awareness of the breath. There are several apps to assist you with meditation and guided breathing practices such as Headspace, Brightmind, Calm, and Meditation Time.
Sit outdoors on a patio, deck or bench, enjoy the sun and fresh air and do absolutely nothing but watch the world go by and breath deeply, knowing you have things to tend to later, but for now you have absolutely nothing you need to do but be.
Read from a book for pure pleasure or inspiration; sometimes just grabbing a line that inspires at the start of the day can serve as a focal point for the day and bring us back to center when things start to go haywire.
Go to the kitchen and cook something slowly for yourself like warm cereal with added spices, nuts and chopped fruit, enjoying the ritual of doing something healthy for your body at a pace that supports your peace of mind.
Consider these practices a way of consolidating yourself. These simple routines help you pull your efforts inwards first towards self-care before continuing your day and putting your energy, effort, thoughts and ideas out into the world.