How do you start your day? How do you end your day? I’m a big believer in the power of Intention – making a conscious choice to embed a supportive routine into your day. I’m not talking perfection or rigidity here, just a gentle commitment to yourself, to create an atmosphere that sets you up the likelihood of a more successful day, because you have chosen to create a positive headspace, even if you only managed to take 5 minutes for yourself.
In the past I fell into the routine of waking up and immediately rolling over the check my phone for emails. Immediately plunging into headspace of my To Do list. Immediately feeling the pressure descend, the pressure that scattered any lingering remnants of restful slumber!
I usually followed that up by arriving at my desk in a rather hyper state after the crazy morning breakfast, lunch boxes, school bus and train run, plunging into my To Do List that had been taunting me since 6am.
And the evenings? Quite often I fixated on what I didn’t get done and thus the whole slightly crazy routine would repeat itself in the morning. Groundhog day.
And when I finally realised that this wasn’t serving me (rising stress levels anyone?) I began to open to an alternative way of being, creating what I have termed “The Bookends of my Day”. It’s taken awhile for me to discover that works best for me, I can say with conviction that there really are some simple changes you can make that will make a significant difference to your days too.
Links and key resources from this episode
I like to begin my day with a Guided Meditation – they’re the type that manage to keep my “Popcorn Brain” occupied!
I’ve found some of my favourites on You Tube – one of these is a 10 minute Grounding & Chakra Balancing Meditation. I’m also a big fan of the Meditation Collection created by Krista Jane – I love “Start Your Day” not surprisingly! You can take a look at them on her website.
Once my meditation is complete I spend another few minutes freehand writing in my journal as inspired by Julia Cameron when I read The Artists Way. Just getting those top of mind thoughts out and on paper, the process of externalisation helps me to see what’s going on with me…. It’s really interesting to see over time, recurring themes, especially fear and worry – my goodness do they get recycled! There is power is recognising that fact, that my own Inner Critic keeps trotting out the same old concerns, just in different clothes.
Once I’m at my desk for the day (that’s after train ad bus stops for the kids and all the normal morning stuff) I begin my day playing the same relaxing music every day – I’ve found that my body and brain like the familiar. It becomes sort of like a flag to my psyche that the day has begun and I can fall more naturally into my routine. Try Yellow Brick Cinema on You Tube for background music – it really does help. I also buy myself flowers for my office every week – that really makes me feel well taken care of.
Now onto the key resource for this Episode – the Weekly Planner. This has become such a central part of my business week – it stops me from plunging straight into the day, instead I pause and check that my attention and energy are being directed at what s most important for me this week. I’ve usually completed the planner on a Monday morning and it then serves as my anchor for the rest of the week. You can download a copy through the link below. It’s a little different from the usual weekly planner – I like to get connected to my vision, bring in gratitude and see how I can help others as a part in the flow of giving and receiving – see if this works for you too 🙂
And finally to my evening bookend. You’ve no doubt heard a lot about Gratitude. I’ve been keeping Gratitude Journals for almost 10 years (that’s a photo of many of them above) This is a big part of the Recovery Movement and I’m so glad that a Mentor recommended that I begin this ritual too. I’ve found the routine of looking for 5 things to be grateful for in my day has really turned my brain around as I’ve needed to deliberately”filter for the good” each day and so now, I tend to notice small, positive things naturally, things that in the past would have sailed by under my nose without me even giving them a second glance.
I like to add to this practise a simple “personal inventory” as well – just noticing and acknowledging where I’ve done a good job, where I’ve handled things well in my day as well as where there is room for improvement, with a gentle commitment to personal development and expansion.
And so that’s it – my own Bookends of the day, and a little of my mid day too. I’m by no means perfect – I think I manage this about 85% of the time because life does get in the way some days. But I have seen so clearly the benefits of bringing these simple routines in… life flows smoother on most days and when the road does become rocky, the routines become even more important – anchoring touchstones that keep me as grounded as possible.
I’d love to hear what your Bookends are – please share your thoughts below.
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