How To Set Yourself Up for a Good Day
Having an occasional bad day is inevitable, no matter how hard we may try to avoid it. It may begin from the moment you wake up, mid-day, or while making dinner. Regardless of when this dreadful event takes place, one thing remains constant, we go to sleep crabby.
For the past few weeks, I have attempted to monitor the quality of my day by modifying factors that contribute to my daily routine. I believe that figuring out what works best, differs on a person to person basis, since our personal perceptions are what lead us to react in a unique manner. What I will be describing below may not work as well for others as it does for me, but it can still be helpful all things considered. So, let’s begin…
1. Plan ahead. Man oh man, do I love planning and having a nice routine. Yes a routine gets old, but you just have to switch it up from time to time and find a new one. One of my most sacred items that I own is my planner. I love to plan a couple of weeks ahead, what I have going on and what needs to be done. By buying a flattering planner, highlighting the important stuff, and writing in your favorite pen (dorky, whatever), planning ahead may actually become enjoyable. I know with technology booming nowadays, some prefer to plan electronically, which is great, but not for me. In my eyes, nothing beats an old fashion written out plan, and the satisfaction of crossing it off your list once finished. Aside from my planner, where I write out my goals (both short term and long term), what I have planned, my daily schedule, events, etc., I also have a separate weekly pad that plans out our meals for the week, and our to do list (both of which stay on our fridge door so that it is visible to the both of us). Every Sunday, I take about an hour or so to plan out my week in my planner, update our to do list, and plan out our daily meals for the upcoming week. Doing this allows me to stay focused and on track on a day to day basis, without feeling overwhelmed and confused with what to cook, what to remember, and what needs to be done. It may also help to plan out tomorrow’s outfit the night before as to avoid the rush in the morning.
2. Waking up early. Ugh I know I know, this one is so hard to do, especially if you’re a night owl like me, but it sure does make a difference. For example, work starts around 8:30 – 9:00 for me so I try to trickle in sometime between those 30 minutes. Plus, I take the bus to work, which takes about 50 minutes to get there from my house. So, I have found that on the days that I have woken up around 6:30, I did not feel rushed (and annoyed), had time for a nice shower in the morning, breakfast, and to get ready in time for my 8:00 am bus. By making sure that my day runs smoothly from the moment I wake up, I noticed that I am able to handle everything else that follows more confidently.
3. Get a good nights rest and eat breakfast. Just like waking up early, going to sleep on time can be difficult. In fact, I typically get caught up with what I am doing and lose track of time. But on those days that I put an extra effort into “calling it a day.” I notice that I am more rested in the morning, which automatically puts me in a good mood. I also have more time to put into cooking my breakfast and playing around with recipes. Having a hardy breakfast allows us to sustain energy throughout the day and stay focused. Also, it fuels our digestive system, allowing the metabolism to operate efficiently. A poor digestive system and a lack of sleep may cause feelings of anxiety and a preoccupation with thoughts associated with these factors. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man/woman healthy, wealthy, and wise.” 🙂
4. Take some time to look put together. I know this may sound superficial, but it sure as hell works. Looking nice physically, puts in a psychologically better mood. This allows us to feel more confident. I do my best to plan my outfit the night before so that I don’t waste too much time in the morning picking out what to wear. I like to put on a little foundation, blush, and mascara, to brighten my appearance. I usually wear my hair up, or in a braid to avoid it getting in the way (even if I wear it down I end up putting it back up within an hour). Lastly, I spray on a little perfume (which I am trying to transition from due to my transition to all natural/organic) or rub some essential oils on my skin, to smell nice.
5. Keep your mornings interesting. My idea of an interesting morning consists of listening to some upbeat music in the morning while getting ready and while on the bus. I occasionally switch from listening to music to reading on the bus. Another routine I enjoy in the morning is watching a lively show while I am getting ready. My current morning show is Friends (which I have seen a billion times, so I don’t have to devote too much time to it), and Cut Throat Kitchen. Eventually, to vary the routine, I will replace these shows with others. Everyone has a different opinion of what an interesting morning means to them, but the most important thing is to try out different routines and alternate between your favorites to keep the morning interesting and fun.
6. Smile and be pleasant with others. How hard is it to smile? Shouldn’t be too difficult if you intend on having a good day. I am sure we all have days where we don’t feel like being social, and would rather isolate ourselves in an effort to refuel our soul. Of course, if this type of behavior continues, and is out of the ordinary for you, please seek help, as it may reveal symptoms of depression. Anyways, back to smiling :). There are times where I feel like keeping to myself, and I do just that. However, when looking back at my well spent days, one pattern was consistent, and that was my interactive nature. I have noticed that being social and smiling at other people, has resulted in the law of attraction. This means that the more positive energy I put out into the universe, the more positive energy I receive. It sure is a good feeling, it is almost as if I am manifesting good energy to come my way, and I feel that it all begins with a smile.
7. Workout. Now, I know that not everyone is into working out, but I strongly recommend some sort of physical activity throughout the week. Health professionals and the American heart Association recommend at least 30 minutes per day for five days a week of “moderate-intensive aerobic activity” or 25 minutes three days a week of “vigorous aerobic exercise.” Not only does it help keep you in shape and healthy, but it also releases endorphins which can turn your day from stressful to amazing. Much research has been done on physical activity and its beneficial effect on reducing stress, decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep. I am sure you are well aware of this, but sometimes it is good to hear someone say it just once more. I typically workout 3-4 times a week, usually after work. Some prefer working out in the morning before work/school, but I prefer extra sleep :). Unless of course it is the weekend, then I workout mid-morning, around 10 or 11. I recently found a pretty awesome app called “Pact,” that motivates you by charging you for each missed day of a workout. Basically, you sign up and link your credit card to the app and make a ‘pact’ of how many days you plan to workout (you actually have to check in to the gym and stay there for at least 30 minutes for it to count, or take 10k steps). If you fulfill your “pact” you get paid, if you don’t you are charged a minimum of 5$ for each missed day. Most definitely a great way to keep you extrinsically motivated. 🙂
8. Make large portions of dinner to last for at least the next day, and to pack as lunch. I have found it somewhat difficult to make a large portion and have left over (especially when you have a husband who CAN EAT lol). So after a few trial and error runs, I have discovered a way to make just enough food to last for a few days without going bad. One of my favorites methods is using a crock-pot because it is healthy (minimal amounts of oil need to be used), it is convenient, and I have tons of food leftover. This eases my mind for the following day because I am less preoccupied with the idea of “what’s for dinner.” Plus I get to save money, since I am not spending money on eating out for lunch everyday. This in turn allows me to have a clear mind to take in what the day has to offer, while saving money of course!
9. Have something to look forward to. I am not quite sure how I would get through life without having something to look forward to. Life can become quite repetitive if all we do is work, home, gym, work, home, gym. It is important to get out and live a little. When we have something to look forward to our day’s become more meaningful. For example, me and my husband decided to plan something every 3 months that we can look forward to. Knowing that I have something exciting coming up, I feel more motivated to put in my all at work, home, and my relationship, before I take that break. Aside from planning long term events, it may also help to plan something throughout your week to ensure more fulfilling days. This does not mean it has to be something extravagant. It could be something simple buy joyful at the same time. A facial, a massage, at home spa-day, a nice long walk at the park, a dinner out with friend, or your loved one, whatever sounds achievable based on finances, time, and personal needs.
10. Convince yourself that you are going to have a good day. The mind is a powerful entity. Our mind can play tricks on us, cause us to feel self-conscious, irritated, embarrassed, angry, or depressed, among many other things. When an event occurs, we can’t help but analyze the situation, how and why it happened, what are the outcomes, or how we were perceived by others. These thoughts in turn can makes us feel a certain way, depending on the situation and our perception of it. So who is to say that we can not train our minds to feel like we are having a good day and actually believe it? This phenomenon is often referred to as manifesting positive energy, which works by way of the law of attraction. When waking up in the morning, it helps to repeat to yourself: “Today is going to be a great day,” “I am an awesome person,” “I am so happy to be alive.” This way you begin your day with positive affirmations and structure your mind to perceive your surroundings from a positive perspective. Continue your day by looking at the glass as “half full” not “half empty.” Meaning hold close the good things, and let go of the negative. Keep your mind focused on the positive energy around you and assure yourself that you are having a good day.