It’s a cliché, but I’ve found it to be true: that life really is all about the little things.
Writing this blog I realised how much of my general positivity comes from having a few little routines in place that ensure every day is a little bit amazing and gets started on a good note. It sounds lame, but I really do want to be my best self for everyone around me. Life is better, work is easier and impossible tasks become mere challenges.
If a day is going south, I like knowing that I can turn it around. It can be as simple as eating something or as complicated as re-organsing my entire week, but either way - it's nice to feel in control.
Over the years I’ve found some things that work for me! My bright mood is usually always attributed to having had a good nights sleep. My energy is usually always because of the mammoth breakfast I downed earlier. Adding a slice of lemon to most of my cups of water has become a habit after so long I do not even think about it any more, but know this little addition has made such a positive impact on my health.
How to begin this daily magic? I think there are small, simple, very effective ways to feel in control and overly positive. Finding what works so that you know how to turn a bad day into a good one is simply brilliant.
Warning - inner hippie comes out. Chic Hippie, of course.
1. Do you have a morning routine?
The benefits of a good morning routine are endless. I'm not saying you have to become all Jack Nicholson OCD on me, I'm just saying: find things that work and then do them when you can. That's only logical.
Firstly think about what your morning must include and then what you would like it to. Map out how long this should take-ish, add in some time to lie in bed after your alarm to stare at the ceiling thinking about how amazing your life is and then start implementing it. I would recommend including:
- A morning cup of hot lemon (See point number 3)
- Cleaning your teeth (duh)
- Stretching (see point number 2)
- Making your breakfast
- Peace and quiet
Now, the last point is obviously a personal preference. Perhaps your dream morning includes blasting Disney soundtracks while you clean your teeth and some mornings I definitely change it up and want this. But - most mornings I wake up, lie in bed for a little bit (often trying to remember all the things roaming my mind as I was falling asleep "oh yes, pay council tax" "oh yes, that's a possible blog idea" "oh yes! Send that email"), then I get up, go turn the kettle on, clean my teeth, then stand in a nice spot facing the window and do some stretching. After the kettle is boiled I'll have my lemon hot water while getting ready, which really just involves putting my hair up and picking suitable clothing. Then I'll make breakfast, sit at my table and check emails and Facebook while I eat. Done, dishes, pack my bag and then - shazam! Ready to face the day.
2. Morning Stretching
MORNING STRETCHING IS THE BOMB. THE BOMB I SAY! If you haven't tried morning stretching before - do so tomorrow and then email me to propose marriage as I know you will. Stretching out your joints and "reawakening" after a long rest just feels so damn good. It helps you to wake up, feel present and is almost like my own version of meditation. It also forces you to just spend some time connecting to your body, checking it over and seeing how it's feeling. Chances are - you may finish your stretching and be enjoying moving your body so much that you'll THEN want to go do a walk around the block. I know because it has happened to me a few times. Scary.
3. Morning cup of hot lemon.
I didn't invent this by any stretch of the imagination. It's a big part of the old "health" world that makes the rounds for a very good reason: it works, it's amazing and so bloody good for you. Simply add hot water to a few slices of lemon in the morning and make it a part of your daily life. If you want to be crazy - you can even make it an evening beverage as well!
While you were sleeping - your amazing body was performing lots of duties and "cleaning up", if you will. When you wake up (if you didn't eat McDonalds for dinner) you should wake up feeling fresh, rejuvenated and like every day is a fresh slate. If you start your day drinking a lot of water or making lemon hot water, you are giving your body such a good "Good Morning" and another hour or so of detoxing and cleansing before you get on to the "heavy" stuff.
4. Having a lovely, FILLING breakfast
I have always logically felt that breakfast should be a lovely, satisfying and, well....BIG. I wavered after reading "Crazy Sexy Diet" as Kris Carr promotes juices for breakfast with a handful of berries. I understand her logic of giving your body an easy morning, but...to be honest....when I eat a small breakfast it just makes me eat a hell of a lot more throughout the day. You have to do what works for you and I know after years of experimenting - that I'm a big breakfast girl. It fills me with energy and positivity first up and then I don't have to think or worry about food again until I'm just actually HUNGRY. So, if you have time each day to make a lovely, big, nutritious breakfast, I think you are setting yourself up for a lovely day. There's nothing worse than grabbing crap on the go or just snacking your way through weird things to try and feel satisfied.
These days - a giant bowl of porridge topped with fruit is my favourite or a big banana smoothie. I'm talking BIG. I also am making lots of Overnight Oats :)
4. Opportunities to Walk?
Can you walk to your destination instead of driving? This won’t always be practical (heels, long distances, blistering cold) but when possible: can you increase your steps? A lovely walk in the morning, when your mind is still open and free, can work wonders for our mental sanity. I don’t have time for classes or any sort of gym-time before work, so when I can, I try to get in some kind of walk and always feel the better for it. Even if I walk to the bus stop that’s a bit further away, it still makes me feel better!
5. Remember to Smile
How many smiles can you manage a day? This old, dirty cliché from primary school needs to be re-implemented into our adult lives immediately! Goodness fuels goodness, happiness fuels happiness and, yep, smiles create more smiles. I can remember the few times in my life that a random stranger smiled at me. A stranger? Smiling at me? Just for no reason? It’s an incredible buzz. Smile at strangers, your co-workers and cute boys. See if it improves your day!
6. Is Your Food Making it Better or Worse?
What fuel are you getting today? Whether it’s alkalizing veggies, incredible smoothies, heavy bread or cupcakes, make sure you enjoy it, are eating for energy and try to get in as much good stuff as possible. I’m still wowed by how much of a difference food makes to my mood. It’s just a fact that I feel better when I’m eating well. There is nothing better than effortless energy and feeling happy for no real reason. If you are feeling crappy and your day is "awful" - eat something! Haha. Try eating a banana and chances are - you may feel a little bit better immediately :)
7. Do you Get any Alone Time?
This may seem impossible, with our hectic lives and schedules, but see if you have even just fifteen minutes to put aside and do whatever pleases you. Read the paper? Sit on the back porch with your book? Go for a walk around the block? Sneak off to a cafe for fifteen minutes? Whatever it may be – some time alone with our thoughts is priceless.
8. Is It All Building Up?
Look at your forgotten “To Do List” and see if there’s something you can tackle? Often the cause of my stress or frustration is that I have a list of tasks building up I’m trying to ignore. Sometimes the simple act of just checking in and tackling one thing on the list is enough to make me feel light as a feather. Also - as my Mum would say: "can you take something off your plate?" If you are overloading yourself it can be as simple as just saying: okay, I need to remove that social event, that "task", that "job".
9. Are you Excited about Life?
Plan something for the future that excites you. When none of the above works, try making a plan that puts a fire in your belly to look forward to. It may be inviting people over for dinner in a few nights’ time, volunteering for an event over the weekend or finally messaging that one person who you never reply to! Because I’m lame – one of my favourite things to do is plan a day or an evening totally to myself to do whatever I want to do; a “date night” if you will? I’ll take myself to a movie….go shopping….whatever I fancy. Again: free therapy. (Although the movie isn’t free I guess… still cheaper than therapy!)
10. No Expectations.
Also – never stress! Not every day will be perfect. Some days are absolutely resigned to sitting on the couch watching an entire box set of Dexter, devouring peanut butter and that is an amazing way to spend the day! But if you’re finidng that more days are difficult than not, hopefully some of the above tips can help. If you hit the hay, feeling like you’ve achieved something, been well fed and have a good night’s sleep – you’re doing a brilliant job.
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