Do you have effective daily routines to help you feel good and get the most out of your day? The way we start and finish our days provides the framework for the entire day and essentially sets the tone for everything contained within it. In photography, how you frame a picture and the subject within it has a huge impact on the perceived beauty and quality of the image. You can take a rather ordinary subject and frame it so cleverly that the image becomes incredibly compelling and something to appreciate. Framing is a form of art. The same art applies to how we go about creating our days.
There are a lot of uncontrollable things that happen in a day such as the weather, the mood of our colleagues and people we interact with, the traffic, our email inbox, the news and so on. Sometimes it can feel like you’re freestyling with ease and sometimes you might feel like you’re just bowled over by it all.
Framing is an act of self-care that proves itself to be valuable most especially on those days when we need help to cope with the stresses and challenges we might meet. It helps to give us resilience and it creates balance by grounding us. Imagine, for example, sitting on a swing that is held by a very strong frame. If the frame and swing is well designed and constructed, no matter what the day throws at us, we might get tossed in the air this way and that way, but it will feel smoother and safer, perhaps even enjoyable.
Having a routine and a discipline also helps empower us to feel more in control of our days and it is also a creative act to design it in a way that suits you. Many people have studied the habits of highly successful people and they always have routines no matter how busy they are. You don’t need to copy what everyone else does, but experiment and create something that works for you. Design a framework for yourself so that even on a boring or crappy day, you can go to bed with a sense of appreciation or satisfaction nonetheless.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
1. Get Enough Sleep
There is plenty of scientific research now to show that the importance of sleep is paramount to high performance of any sort. Arianna Huffington launched Thrive Global prompted by her own personal experience of being overcome by exhaustion and lack of sleep. When we sleep well, we will not only perform better (although we don’t want to suggest that a good day is measured by productivity) but we will also enjoy our day so much more.
2. Create a Morning Routine
Create a morning ritual that sets you off with the right attitude each morning. Professional athletes always have a warm up routine to get them prepared for their races and the principle is basically the same. We don’t necessarily want to be competitive, but we want to be ready to give and get the best out of our days. A morning ritual can be a list of 5 easy items that you do each day, they don’t have to take up a lot of time and it’s ok if you don’t always manage to tick all of them off. The key is that they should help to put you in a positive and resilient frame of mind, so avoid things like checking your phone or turning the news on until after you’re done.
- Make bed.
- Brush hair.
- Drink a cup of coffee.
- Morning prayer and set intentions for the day.
- Meditate 25 mins.
- Yoga Stretches 20 – 30 mins.
3. Create an Evening Routine
The same applies as for the morning except this time you are winding down for a peaceful nights sleep. You will need to mind the timing so that you get to bed at the time you want to aim for. It can help to put a bedtime alarm on to remind you to start your evening routine and prepare for bed.
- Review to-do list for next day.
- Phone and technology off.
- Play with cats 20-30 minutes.
- Read a chapter of an inspiring book.
- Brush teeth.
- Evening prayer of gratitude.
- Meditate 25 mins.
What happens if you don’t manage to tick off everything on your list? Nothing! Just do your best and do your best the next day again. But it is likely that overall you will still feel a lot better, being able to tick even just a couple things off your list will make you feel like you’ve already accomplished something. You can also expand this to create good habits to frame your week, month or year if you feel really creative.
Final tip: If, like many people, you use your phone for everything including as your alarm clock, music player, note taker, meditation app etc., find a way to work with these extra functions in a way that doesn’t tempt you into checking your emails or social media. For example, get a separate alarm clock, try meditating without an app or do the phone tasks last thing on your list in the morning or first thing on your evening routine.
We’d also love to hear from you. What do you do for your morning and evening routines? If you’re a parent, how have you managed the issue of getting enough sleep, what advice would you share with other parents?