Yesterday was the first time my family had been to an in-person church service since March 2020. We’d been attending virtually for quite some time and, as such, had gotten used to a very different Sunday morning routine.
Life is so much easier when you can participate in activities from home in your pajamas while sipping a hot cup of coffee.
As you can imagine, yesterday was a bit of a mess as we tried to prepare for church. We needed showers, we needed to get dressed in something other than comfy pants and t-shirts, and we had to get out the door and be at church by 9 AM.
Nothing short of a miracle was going to make everything happen that needed to happen to get my daughter to Sunday School class yesterday, the driving force behind our in-person visit as they were supposed to visit the church library.
An epic field trip, to be sure, consisting of a trip down a flight of stairs and walking about 250 feet from her Sunday School classroom. But, in the midst of a pandemic, you take what you can get to make life a little more interesting.
Somehow we made it. But the rest of the day sucked. Without question, the morning’s events jacked up the rest of the day and left us all thinking about what we could do to make it better.
Maybe we were just out of practice. Maybe we (I should say “I”) didn’t really want to go to church yesterday morning. Or maybe, just maybe, we weren’t set up for success because we ignored some simple rules that would have made the day better.
In my own attempt to better prepare for our next in-person church trip, and for a general reminder to myself and whoever may be reading this, I put together a shortlist of tips that will help you, and I have a better day.
There is nothing revolutionary to share here, but oftentimes we forget the simple things that make our lives better. At least, I forget them, and I’m hoping that at least some of you do, too.
If I’m not able to have a few moments to myself in the morning, my day doesn’t end up going so well. I need some time in the morning to acclimate to a new day, focus on just being, and getting in the right mindset to take on the day. This means that I spend some time reading and sitting quietly. On most days, it also means that I do a ten-minute mediation with the Calm app.
Your quiet time may look similar, or it may look completely different. Some people take time in the morning to pray. Some sit and think. Some sit so quietly but sit and listen to music that helps them center themselves.
Whatever works for you, take some time to yourself in the quiet hours before the day begins.
I also spend some time journaling. What I write about depends on the day: sometimes I reflect on the previous day (which this article came from) and sometimes plan out my day. Most of the time, my writing is almost completely “stream of consciousness” and has no theme whatsoever.
My journaling is very often a brain dump that gets stuff out of my head. It allows me to think more clearly and helps bring some order to the constant stream of activity that lives in my grey matter. My brain doesn’t like to stop, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m thinking grand thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts are, “oh, I forgot to pick up deodorant yesterday so let’s do that, and also I need to see if that package is coming in the mail and I’ve got to get more toothpaste and how am I going to design this next professional development session for my teachers and what’s for dinner?”
Your brain may be equally as untamed as mine. Spend some time clearing thoughts from your head each day.
I will be the first person to tell you that working out is 100% not my thing. It isn’t. I’ve always thought that my body was merely the delivery vehicle for my brain, and I wasn’t concerned with how I treated it. Thus, I’m 44 years old, severely overweight, and struggle to walk up more than one flight of stairs without feeling a blast furnace in my chest.
This year (actually beginning in December of last year), I started working with a personal trainer. I go to his gym three days a week. And every time I go, I almost leave before going inside. It’s a battle.
But it’s a simple process. Pick up heavy things, put them down. Repeat.
Yes, I still hate working out. Yes, it sucks on so many levels that I can’t even begin to describe. Yes, I’m sore. Yes, I hurt.
But when I’m done, I feel good, so much better than when I don’t work out.
So much so that, even on days when I’m not going to the gym, I find time to get in some exercise in the morning. For me, it’s becoming a key part of having a good day.
For me, each day is its own adventure and brings its own set of challenges. Working in education, I very often have no idea what obstacles I will face on any given day. I have to come into every day with a great mindset and an uncluttered mind.
Sit. Write. Sweat. These things help me face my day and help me feel like I am doing the work I was meant to do, that we were all meant to do, to be a good person.
How about you? What sets you up for success each day?
This piece originally appeared on An Idea (By Ingenious Peace) on Medium