When we entered the second lockdown, I began to re-evaluate my lifestyle. My daily routine changed drastically. I was no longer commuting. My screen time radically increased (embarrassingly high). My motivation plummeted (I have never consumed so much chocolate in my life). Before I went to sleep, I wonder where has my day gone, and what have I achieved? Every day seems to blur into the next. So I decided I needed a break. A mental holiday.
My self-care routine has meant I get up only 30 minutes earlier – but, oh boy, I’ve never felt so genuinely relaxed before I start my day (the fifth tip is a life-changer – trust me!).
Here are my top five tips to form a healthy and positive mindset for the day ahead:
1) Wake up and do not check your phone. Louder for those in the back – DO NOT go on your phone!
It becomes so easy to wake up and reach for your phone, scroll through social media or the news, and find yourself in an endless black hole that consumes your mind. The addictive algorithms of social media lock you into a fantasy world where you lose track of time and your ability to decipher authentic or real-world experiences. This process can warp our judgements, which can leave us feeling unfulfilled and drained for the day ahead. Yes, social media can have positive effects, but, a big BUT, you’ve just woken up, take some YOU time. Real YOU time. BEFORE screen time.
2) Make yourself a coffee or cuppa tea [insert your favourite caffeinated bervage] and get journaling.
You may have a half-used journal or a diary, or even an old notebook lying around. Grab a pen and just write. If that seems impossible, then try writing about a dream you had last night or a funny personal anecdote. Often, I write about moments that fill me with gratitude, sometimes even silly poetry (my friends know about my shocking limericks). This moment doesn’t need to take a long, just the length of time it takes you to finish your cuppa. Neat handwriting is not essential!
By this point, you’ve probably made a grab for your phone, checked your emails, replied to a couple of messages, and maybe hopped onto Instagram. Now, before you have your breakfast, take a moment to breathe and stretch. I’m guessing you’re about to embark on a day hunched over your desk, so a few minutes of bending and wiggling will increase your circulation and prepare you for the day ahead (better blood flow = better brainpower – what’s not to love?).
4) Set an intention
What resonates with you? Start the sentence with ‘I am…’ and complete it with how you want to feel today. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, ‘I am present’ could help you feel grounded and centre your thoughts. If you feel a bit low, ‘I am resilient’ will remind you of how strong you are and how far you’ve come. Maybe you’ve got a tough day ahead, so ‘I am strong’ is perfect for you. I always come back to my affirmation during the day to reinforce how I want to feel.
I am not going to tell you what you should have for breakfast. It’s none of my business whatsoever; I respect that. All I am asking is to slow down. When you take your first bite, chew it, and oh I mean really chew it. What different flavours can you taste? Can you separate different textures? How does it make you feel? Take a moment to notice. Not only does mindful eating transform your thoughts around food, but it also aids digestion. (A win-win I think!)
Well, that’s it, time to get on with your day and conquer the world!
Have you tried any of these tips? Let me know in the comments about your morning self-care routine!