Remember the days when life was more carefree and our day was not met with much demand?
I have distinct memories from when I was single and in my 20’s of waking up at 11am on a sunny day, walking down the street with my roommate to get fresh bagels and cream cheese, and spending the next few hours at the breakfast table chatting with coffee and solving the worlds problems.
As we get older, of course, those days are far off luxuries, and how we manage our days around family, work, and other priorities becomes extremely important. Not just because getting married, having children, and careers necessarily change our routines and demand adaptation, but certainly because good lifestyle management promotes good health and a long life.
Personally, my routines and habits have changed many times throughout the years depending on what is going on and how old my kids were at the time, but there are four things that have always stayed consistent and have directly attributed to my positive outlook, entrepreneurial motivation, and good health. If you are looking for a little structure in your day or a re-think of how you manage your time, I hope the following suggestions help you as much as they’ve helped me over the years:
1. Take Some Meaningful Time For Yourself Each Morning
This might mean getting up while everyone else is still asleep to have this time, and if that’s the case, it is truly worth it. This is time set aside just for you, and whether it’s fifteen minutes or one hour, use it to bring a sense of calm and collectedness that sets the tone for your day. Use the time to:
- organize your day
- review affirmations you have written for yourself
If you haven’t heard about it already, there is a popular book titled, Miracle Mornings, by Hal Elrod, and it’s all about taking control of your day and your life through rising very early taking very specific steps to maximize your potential on many levels.
2. Love it or hate it, take time to exercise.
Regular exercise has a direct effect on our emotional well-being and our outlook on life. You may love exercising and go to the gym everyday; you might hate it and avoid it at all costs, or maybe you fall somewhere in between. Just make sure you get at least some stretches and breathing exercises into your morning routine and take a 20 minute walk sometime during the day for fresh air, sunshine, and a chance to let your eyes focus on far away things instead of your computer.
3. Pause at noon to reflect and refocus.
If your day is like mine, I hit the ground running and don’t come to a stop until the evening. So, I find it very helpful in keeping that calm and collected peace about my day to pause at noon, reflect and refocus. I set an alarm on my phone for noon and take a few moments to say a brief prayer, reflect and refocus. But, make it your own!
- You can make a quick review of your morning to see if your day is on track as you planned and adjust if necessary.
- Do a brief scriptural reflection or say a brief prayer such as “The Angelus.”
- Take a moment to be thankful for your blessings.
But remember, this is a brief pause unless you decide you want it to be longer. Mine takes about five minutes tops.
4. Reflect on your day before bedtime.
And here I have to say that, above all, I’m human. Sometimes I don’t want to floss, I don’t want to do my skincare routine, and I don’t want to reflect. I just want to sleep. And, sometimes that’s exactly what I do. But most of the time, I do all those things and in my opinion, I get a better night’s rest and wake feeling ready for the day. When I reflect, there are three things I focus on:
- Failures. Yes! It’s okay to say the word failures! We all fail. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it means we are trying to be better! When we acknowledge our shortcomings, we can be better the next time. We can’t improve unless we know what is lacking.
- Triumphs. Balance is important so if you’re going to pinpoint your failures, make sure you celebrate your triumphs and make note of the way you have succeeded during the day.
- Improve. How can you be better next time? Just identify short, simple things you can do to be better next time. It doesn't have to be rocket science.
- Gratitude. What have you been blessed with? Keeping a healthy sense of gratitude helps everything that’s happened during the day fall into place and bring perspective.