How do you feel at the end of the day? It’s such a great feeling to get into bed with a sense of peace, knowing that your day has gone well. Too often though, our days are rushed and scattered. We jump from one task to another, doing the bare minimum we need to simply make it through the day.
Wouldn’t it be great to find some simple ways to have a better day? Putting a few easy routines in place might just be the answer. And I’m not just talking about routines for keeping the house clean or food on the table. You need daily systems in place that allow you not only to take care of what needs to be done, but to really enjoy your life as well.
Here are some simple ways to have a better day that work for me:
Get up before everyone else.
I think this idea is worth a try if your mornings are feeling out of control. But, it doesn’t always work for everyone. If you can’t get up earlier, maybe you can come up with a different solution. My mom used to sit down and have a cup of coffee and some quiet time once she got us kids off to school.
I know some people who trade off with their partners. One day they take care of the kids while their spouse has some quiet time to themselves. The next day they switch.
Start and end your day with something comforting.
You might want to have a warm beverage – coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot apple cider – all of them can give you that warm and cozy feeling that’s especially nice on a cold winter’s day.
Think about things that are pleasing to the senses. Light a candle. Diffuse some essential oils. Play some music.
Do a brain dump.
Some people find it really valuable to do this at bedtime. Just sit down and start writing all those things on your mind so that you’re not lying there thinking about them while you’re trying to get to sleep.
I don’t do brain dumps at bedtime. Instead of allowing me to release all of these things on my mind so that I can get a better night’s sleep, I find it too over-stimulating. Instead, I do mine around lunchtime. I find it a great way to regroup partway through the day and get back to my day.
I don’t work well with a down-to-the-minute schedule all day long. Something will happen to knock it off-kilter and it will often throw me off for the full day. Obviously, I have some specific meeting and appointment times but for the rest of the day, I do time blocking. I find that I get much more done this way.
With time blocking, I work in chunks of time and each chunk has its own theme, so to speak. For that hour or two, that is my focus. When that time is up, I move on to the next “theme”. And yes, sometimes the theme is “rest and relaxation”.
Drop what’s unnecessary. Delegate some of the rest.
I have learned to drop the things that don’t feed my life. Cleaning the house and keeping things organized makes me calmer and happier.
Count your blessings.
Keep a gratitude journal – even just jotting down 3 things you’re grateful for each day can make a huge difference! Don’t worry if they’re just little things. Those little things can add up and appreciation can go a long way to our overall happiness.
Get some light and fresh air.
Sunlight and darkness trigger hormones in our bodies, helping to regulate our waking/sleeping cycles. Every morning – even in winter – I open up the door, taking in the daylight and breathing in some fresh air. Obviously, getting outside for a walk or some other activity is even better, but some days that’s just not possible. So, at the very least, I make a concerted effort to get the light and fresh air I can!
If I can get outside for a morning or evening walk, I do. Many times though, that’s not possible with my health limitations. So, at the very least, I do some stretches, even if I need to do them from bed or in a chair. Our bodies can stiffen and deteriorate so quickly if we let them.
Build more movement in where you can. When you go downstairs to do the laundry, walk back up, then down, then back upstairs. Take the long way to the bathroom, looping around and around some of the rooms on the way. Do jumping jacks while you wait for your coffee to brew. Reach your arms up over your head and then down to the floor while watching TV.
There are so many ways to sneak in tiny bits of extra movement into your day.
Do something nice for someone else.
Think you don’t have time for that? It takes mere seconds to message someone to say, “Just letting you know I was thinking about you. Hope you’re doing well.” or “I prayed for you today.”
When out running errands, take that extra time to smile at the people you meet along the way. Hold the door for someone. Thank those in customer service. A tiny bit of kindness truly can have a huge effect.
Spend time with your family.
Read aloud with your kids. Cuddle up on the couch with your significant other and talk. Play a game as a family. Snuggle up with your pets.
No family around? Skype them. Write them a letter. Text them a message of love.
Spend some quiet time alone.
Recharge your batteries with some time to yourself. Even just 10 minutes can have an impact on a hectic day! You might want to use this time to meditate. Pray. Read the Bible. Write in a journal. Take a warm bath. Or you might want to just sit and do nothing.
Find something to smile/laugh about.
I can’t even count how many times I smile and laugh in a day. Of course, hanging out with my 17 month old grandson helps! But if it’s not just happening naturally throughout my day, I LOOK for things to make me smile.
I browse Instagram for those beautiful, colorful photos. I do a web search for silly animal videos. I message one of my friends whom I know I can count on to make me smile just because of their beautiful spirit. I turn on some funny old movies or TV shows and bust out some belly laughs.
Learn something new.
Sounds like a tall order for a daily to do, right? Wrong. I learned today that my city was the first in Ontario to initiate a Book Mobile library service to areas without a library branch back in 1950. It took me a minute to learn that fact. Sure, it’s nothing earth-shattering and it isn’t going to change my life, but as a bookworm, historian, and someone who spent many hours at the Book Mobile, I found it really interesting.
Listen to a podcast. Read a blog post. Watch a documentary. Look up something you’ve always wondered about. Keeping our brains active is as important as keeping our bodies active.
This is one I struggle with. I don’t drink nearly enough water. The guideline most of us hear about is 8 glasses of water a day but this is not necessarily the right amount for everyone. I’m trying to add a little more each day.
Most experts I’ve read (and doctors I’ve consulted) say that you should drink water whenever you feel thirsty. For some that may be more than 8 glasses and for some that may be less.
Eat more plant-based foods.
I was raised on meat and potatoes. I do love fruits and vegetables but some habits are hard to break. And when you live in a home full of people who aren’t as fond of fruits and veggies as you are, it becomes even more of a struggle.
Fortunately, my grandson loves them and so we generally have a good selection on hand. I’m trying to add more to each and every meal. I’m pretty good at dinnertime but have been making more of a concerted effort with breakfast and lunch. Canada’s new Food Guide says that half your plate at every meal should be fruits and vegetables and that’s what I’m working towards.
Get a good night’s sleep.
This is probably the most difficult for me. Having chronic pain means it’s really tough to fall asleep in the first place. Then, I wake up frequently. Each time I wake up, it takes me quite a bit of time to fall asleep again.
I’m working on developing better sleep habits and have set an earlier bedtime. This is definitely a work in progress but I can feel the difference when I do get enough sleep! It even helps to lessen my pain so it’s important in multiple ways.
Well, that’s it. I know it sounds like a lot but most of them are simple little additions to your day that take relatively no time at all. In fact, you’re probably doing some of them already!
What about you? What do you do on a daily basis to ensure that you have a better day?
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