We all know the old saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and the same principle can be applied if you want to declutter your home. The trick is to begin small and take it one step at a time. Here’s how to get started.
Use 20-Minute Time Boxes
Begin by choosing a small area that contains things you do not have any emotional attachments to – just a drawer, a shelf, a small cupboard or something similar.
Set an alarm to go off in 20 minutes and start decluttering. When your alarm sounds, stop and pay attention to how you feel. If you you feel like you’re done for the day, that’s fine. If you feel like doing a bit more, set the timer for another 20 minutes and keep going.
Continue in 20-minute time boxes, pausing after each one to assess if you would like to finish at that point or keep going.
If you have good stamina and find that 20 minutes is too short, set your timer for 30 minutes or an hour. But be sure to stop before you feel too tired. When you end each session feeling good, you will be more likely to return the next day to do more.
The lovely thing about time boxing is that each small area you clear releases energy for you to do more. The stagnant energy that accumulates around clutter causes you to feel tired but when you start clearing it, this frees up stuck energy in your home and also energizes you.
In fact, so many people have experienced this invigorating effect that I once wrote an article Don’t read or listen to this book at bedtime! to warn what can happen if you read my book too late at night.
Doing 20-minute time boxes also means that with each one you complete, you will experience the feel-good dopamine release that accompanies each achievement, which will encourage you to want to do more.
Break Each Area Down Into Small, Manageable Chunks
Don’t make the mistake of dragging everything out of your cupboards or closets, piling it in the centre of the room and trying to sort the whole lot out in one go. I’ve never heard from anyone with more than a trivial amount of clutter that this method worked for them.
Instead, break each area into small, manageable chunks. If you are clutter clearing a cupboard, work shelf by shelf, completing each one before moving on to the next. For chests of drawers or dressers, work drawer by drawer. If you have a whole junk room full of clutter, divide it into chunks and tackle each area one at a time.
If you get easily distracted, spread sheets or blankets over the other stuff in the room to hide it from view, which will enable you to focus completely on the area you are working on.
Use the Box System to Sort Through Your Clutter
The box system doesn’t take long to set up and will help you enormously to sort through your things and make decisions about what stays and what goes. Two boxes that are particularly useful are the Transit box and the Dilemma box.
The Transit Box
The Transit box is used when you are sorting through an area and find things that don’t belong there at all.
Suppose you find a kettle that has somehow ended up at the back of a shelf in your bedroom. You may be tempted to take it to the kitchen, plug it in and see if it works, then perhaps make yourself a cup of tea. And, before you know it you are sitting in the garden reading a book while you drink your cuppa and you’ve forgotten all about your clutter clearing mission.
Using my method, you put the item in the Transit box and carry on. At the end of the session, you go around your home putting the items in the box where they belong, or if you don’t yet have space for them, put them near where they belong.
The Dilemma Box
The Dilemma box is another lovely invention. When you come across something that you can’t decide whether to keep or let go, in the past this may have brought your clutter clearing session to an abrupt standstill. But, if you use a Dilemma box, any items you are not sure about can get put in there, and you can just continue.
At the end of the session, stash the Dilemma box away somewhere and put a reminder on your calendar to check it a few months later. The passage of time will usually bring much more clarity about whether to keep the items or not, especially if you haven’t used any of them in the intervening period.
If you’d like a more radical approach, ask a friend to open the box for you. Anything you can name, you get to keep. If you can’t remember what’s in there, it rather proves the point that you don’t need any of the things, and your friend gets to take them away and dispose of them for you in any way they see fit!
Have you tried any of these methods to help you declutter your home? Which one helped you the most? Which items did you find most difficult to let go of? Please comment below
BY JACQUI HOOK
We all have those days when mustering the motivation to exercise seems like more of a challenge than usual. We just can’t seem to get going and we end up giving ourselves permission to skip the gym or yoga class, or postpone the run or walk.
I don’t have my gym clothes on. I’m too tired. I haven’t eaten. My back has been bothering me. I just washed my hair. It’s raining. It’s getting dark.
The excuses are endless. As a result, we end up feeling guilty about our laziness or regretful about missing an opportunity to do something that would improve our physical, emotional and cognitive health and increase our longevity. To make matters worse, the hour that would have been spent building strength and endurance, or increasing mobility and flexibility is replaced with more time sitting at the computer or lounging on the couch. Instead of burning calories and increasing metabolism, we’re doing just the opposite.
If you really want to know how to motivate yourself to exercise, here are a few tips.
How to Be “Workout Ready”
So, how do we get workout ready? Replace laziness with preparedness.
We prepare for natural disasters and emergencies by keeping a disaster kit in our home and a spare tire in our car. Exercise is equally important to our survival, so it stands to reason to be prepared for it as well!
Here are five surefire ways to increase your chances of working out on any particular day:
Dress for Success
Eliminating the task of having to change into your workout clothes can go a long way toward getting yourself to that yoga class or starting your run.
Put on your athletic wear as early in the day as possible. If you work at home, put on your fitness garb first thing in the morning. If you work or volunteer outside the home, bring your workout clothes with you and dress out before leaving the workplace. Being dressed and ready to go can mean the difference between a sure bet and an unfortunate regret.
Start the Music
Nothing is more motivating for me than hearing the songs from my workout playlist. If you like working out to music, have your earbuds and playlist handy and turn on your music before hitting the gym or Pilates studio. Put on a song that gets you into the workout frame of mind and you will surely get up and go!
Between-meal hunger can be a workout killer. Don’t let your appetite get the best of you. Keep a favorite protein bar and sports drink in your backpack, gym bag or purse, and make a point to fuel up and hydrate. Once you have some nourishment, your body will be revved up for an awesome workout!
Set Your Alarm
Sometimes we can’t seem to pull ourselves away from what we’re doing, especially when at the computer, and the day seems to just slip away. Don’t let time pass you by. Schedule your workout and set your phone alarm to go off 15 or 20 minutes beforehand. This will give you enough time to finish up what you’re doing and get yourself out the door.
Promise a Partner
Invite a friend to work out with you at a specific time of day. Agree to take a fitness class together or go for a walk, hike or run. For extra insurance, have the friend pick you up. This will decrease your chances of a no-show. Exercising with a friend adds a social element to your workout, which is almost always an extra bonus!
Put It All Together
It’s hard to go wrong if you combine all five strategies. Put on your workout clothes as early in the day as possible, turn on some energizing music, power up with a protein bar and a sports drink, set your alarm and invite a friend for good measure.
Being dressed, motivated, nourished, duly reminded, and partnered up will make it easier for you to steamroll through excuses, get your workout in, and feel fantastic!
How do you get motivated to exercise? What motivates you to go for it whether you’re tired or the weather is bad or you’re just not in the mood? Any favorite workout music you’d like to share? Please comment below
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Money and debt consolidation advice anyone can use
SPENDER, IDEALIST, STAR, AVOIDER OR SOMETHING ELSE?
BY KATHLEEN M. REHL
Your money style, whatever it may be, can be helpful, but it can also block your progress. Oftentimes we cling to beliefs about money without even thinking about why we hold them.
They may be based on your money history. Or, if you’re on your own after a divorce or the death of your spouse, that big transition can greatly impact your money style.
Experts, including Olivia Mellan, have defined several money styles or money personality types. Below are some examples of these various styles.
Do You Recognize Any of These Styles in Yourself?
Guardians are always alert and careful with their money issues.
Spenders prioritize pleasure and enjoyment through spending money on “the good life.”
Idealists put the most value on creativity, compassion, social justice, or spiritual growth.
Hoarders seek security and abundance by accumulating more ﬁnancial assets.
Stars spend, invest, or give money away to be recognized or feel classy and increase self-esteem.
Avoiders don’t pay much attention to money, believing or hoping that life will work out for the best; they may feel incompetent or overwhelmed with money tasks.
Caretakers give and lend money to express compassion and generosity.
Empire builders and entrepreneurs thrive on power and innovation to create something of enduring value, which may include their own business.
Amassers like to have lots of money available to spend, save, or invest. They equate money with self-worth and power.
Nesters think that money invested in their homes brings happiness.
Bag ladies believe they don’t have enough money and may be out on the street soon. They feel powerless to do much about their ﬁnancial situation. Many suddenly single women might feel this way at some point, even if only for a short period.
Does Your Money Style Trip You Up?
Sometimes your dominant money style can cause problems. For example, Guardians may prefer ultraconservative investments such as certiﬁcates of deposit and money market funds. This tendency may block their ability to build a diversiﬁed portfolio over time.
For Avoiders, whose husbands handled most of the family ﬁnancial issues, it may feel strange to be in a decision-making role about money when this time arrives.
Some women may be fearful they won’t have enough money and can experience the Bag Lady syndrome. That was definitely me immediately after my husband died more than a decade ago.
I suddenly craved safety and security. Facing an unknown future, I felt insecure and lacked self-confidence. But that unhelpful money style dissolved soon afterward as I stabilized my life and moved forward.
Indeed, simply taking a deep breath and not embarking on a radical action may be the best move after a major life change. I re-evaluated my financial situation, calculated my numbers and knew I was going to be OK.
It’s Really About More Than Your Money
Ultimately, it’s not about the money. Rather, it’s about understanding your money and how you react to it. Recognize your natural inclinations toward spending, saving, giving, and investing, and what’s motivating those habits.
As you get to know yourself better, you can make important changes to create the ﬁnancial life that’s best for you. Have an honest discussion with yourself about your money style.
Are you a saver or a spender? Are you a penny pincher who clips coupons? Do you give too much money to your children? Are you carrying lots of credit card debt?
What’s your money style today? Has your money style changed as you’ve matured? If so, why do you think it’s different now? What’s a positive feature of your money style today? What, if anything, about your money style, may be problematic going forward? Please comment on your money style and how it’s helping or hurting you today. What do you want for the future?
Which door do you dread opening? Is it your clothes closet, the linen closet, the kitchen pantry, or perhaps the one to the back seat of your car?
We all have those places where we stuff, hoard and ignore clutter, and they mock us every time we walk by. We realize, eventually, we must face them, but just can’t find the time, the energy or the willpower. What might help? A clutter buddy!
Last week, while hiking with a dear friend, the conversation turned to the sorry state of our cars, confessing it had been ages since we sifted through the shopping bags, dog leads and whatever else was stacked up back there. Instead of procrastinating any longer, we made a date for the next morning to park our cars side by side in my driveway and get busy.
By the next afternoon, the items that belonged in our vehicles were well organized, the interiors were vacuumed, and the windows washed. We even washed the exteriors. We were so energized by our accomplishments. Having each other’s company and encouragement made all the difference.
We’ve now set our sights on our linen closets!
So, here are a few thoughts about why I think this works so well for us and how to capitalize on this idea, choose your clutter buddy and get your world decluttered and organized.
Be sure you’re very comfortable with whomever you invite to be your Clutter Buddy. My friend and I have been through years of life together, we’ve seen each other through heartbreak, babies, illness and hard times.
So, opening the door to an over crammed linen closet isn’t going to cause any real embarrassment. We’ll still love each other just as much.
No Clutter Shaming Allowed
Even though we laughed at some of the stuff we dug out of our dirty cars, there were no disparaging remarks that would leave hurt feelings. You must trust each other to be kind, no matter what you discover.
You Are Both Sworn to Secrecy
No one else can ever know what lurked in the far reaches of the darkness. The condition of each of your homes, cars and lives stays between you. You’re in this to be supportive and be supported.
Tackle the Easy Stuff First
The cars were nowhere near as daunting as our linen closets, or our clothes closets. Having a win under our belts makes moving to the next challenge easier.
Devote the Day to the Task
Don’t try to shoehorn the job into a few hours in the morning with other plans for the afternoon. You may run out of time and end up shoving it all back in, and feeling quite defeated as a result.
Have a Plan for Your Unwanted Items
Sort into three large garbage bags marked, Keep, Donate, and Discard. Decide where you will donate and be sure to get the items out of the house and to their destination by the end of the day, or at least by the following day. The goal is to see results so you feel satisfied and proud.
Schedule Your Next Project on the High of an Accomplishment
Even if it has to be a month or more into the future, get a date on the calendar to work on the next bastion of clutter. You’ll be more likely to stick with it when you’re feeling good about your progress.
Have a Little Fun
Put on some great music, enjoy some tempting snacks, and perhaps a glass of wine, while you work and enjoy your time together.
Most of all, celebrate your friendship. Savor the company. Be grateful to have a friend in your life who loves you enough to help you make your life more comfortable.
Have you recently started a decluttering project? Did you tackle it yourself or did you choose to invite a clutter buddy? How did it go? Which part of your house did you start with? Please share with us!
Work out why, don’t just work out
Our reasons for beginning to exercise are fundamental to whether we will keep it up, says Michelle Segar, the director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center. Too often “society promotes exercise and fitness by hooking into short-term motivation, guilt and shame”. There is some evidence, she says, that younger people will go to the gym more if their reasons are appearance-based, but past our early 20s that doesn’t fuel motivation much. Nor do vague or future goals help (“I want to get fit, I want to lose weight”). We will probably be more successful if we focus on immediate positive feelings such as stress reduction, increased energy and making friends. “The only way we are going to prioritise time to exercise is if it is going to deliver some kind of benefit that is truly compelling and valuable to our daily life,” she says.
Get off to a slow start
The danger of the typical New Year resolutions approach to fitness, says personal trainer Matt Roberts, is that people “jump in and do everything – change their diet, start exercising, stop drinking and smoking – and within a couple of weeks they have lost motivation or got too tired. If you haven’t been in shape, it’s going to take time.” He likes the trend towards high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and recommends people include some, “but to do that every day will be too intense for most people”. Do it once (or twice, at most) a week, combined with slow jogs, swimming and fast walks – plus two or three rest days, at least for the first month. “That will give someone a chance of having recovery sessions alongside the high-intensity workouts.”
You don’t have to love it
It is helpful not to try to make yourself do things you actively dislike, says Segar, who advises thinking about the types of activities – roller-skating? Bike riding? – you liked as a child. But don’t feel you have to really enjoy exercise. “A lot of people who stick with exercise say: ‘I feel better when I do it.’” There are elements that probably will be enjoyable, though, such as the physical response of your body and the feeling of getting stronger, and the pleasure that comes with mastering a sport.
“For many people, the obvious choices aren’t necessarily the ones they would enjoy,” says Sniehotta, who is also the director of the National Institute for Health Research’s policy research unit in behavioural science, “so they need to look outside them. It might be different sports or simple things, like sharing activities with other people.”
Be kind to yourself
Individual motivation – or the lack of it – is only part of the bigger picture. Money, parenting demands or even where you live can all be stumbling blocks, says Sniehotta. Tiredness, depression, work stress or ill family members can all have an impact on physical activity. “If there is a lot of support around you, you will find it easier to maintain physical activity,” he points out. “If you live in certain parts of the country, you might be more comfortable doing outdoor physical activity than in others. To conclude that people who don’t get enough physical activity are just lacking motivation is problematic.”
Segar suggests being realistic. “Skip the ideal of going to the gym five days a week. Be really analytical about work and family-related needs when starting, because if you set yourself up with goals that are too big, you will fail and you’ll feel like a failure. At the end of a week, I always ask my clients to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe fitting in a walk at lunch worked, but you didn’t have the energy after work to do it.”
Don’t rely on willpower
“If you need willpower to do something, you don’t really want to do it,” says Segar. Instead, think about exercise “in terms of why we’re doing it and what we want to get from physical activity. How can I benefit today? How do I feel when I move? How do I feel after I move?”
Find a purpose
Anything that allows you to exercise while ticking off other goals will help, says Sniehotta. “It provides you with more gratification, and the costs of not doing it are higher.” For instance, walking or cycling to work, or making friends by joining a sports club, or running with a friend. “Or the goal is to spend more time in the countryside, and running helps you do that.”
Try to combine physical activity with something else. “For example, in my workplace I don’t use the lift and I try to reduce email, so when it’s possible I walk over to people,” says Sniehotta. “Over the course of the day, I walk to work, I move a lot in the building and I actually get about 15,000 steps. Try to make physical activity hit as many meaningful targets as you can.”
Make it a habit
When you take up running, it can be tiring just getting out of the door – where are your shoes? Your water bottle? What route are you going to take? After a while, points out Sniehottta, “there are no longer costs associated with the activity”. Doing physical activity regularly and planning for it “helps make it a sustainable behaviour”. Missing sessions doesn’t.
Plan and prioritise
What if you don’t have time to exercise? For many people, working two jobs or with extensive caring responsibilities, this can undoubtedly be true, but is it genuinely true for you? It might be a question of priorities, says Sniehotta. He recommends planning: “The first is ‘action planning’, where you plan where, when and how you are going to do it and you try to stick with it.” The second type is ‘coping planning’: “anticipating things that can get in the way and putting a plan into place for how to get motivated again”. Segar adds: “Most people don’t give themselves permission to prioritise self-care behaviours like exercise.”
Keep it short and sharp
A workout doesn’t have to take an hour, says Roberts. “A well-structured 15-minute workout can be really effective if you really are pressed for time.” As for regular, longer sessions, he says: “You tell yourself you’re going to make time and change your schedule accordingly.”
If it doesn’t work, change it
It rains for a week, you don’t go running once and then you feel guilty. “It’s a combination of emotion and lack of confidence that brings us to the point where, if people fail a few times, they think it’s a failure of the entire project,” says Sniehotta. Remember it’s possible to get back on track.
If previous exercise regimes haven’t worked, don’t beat yourself up or try them again – just try something else, he says. “We tend to be in the mindset that if you can’t lose weight, you blame it on yourself. However, if you could change that to: ‘This method doesn’t work for me, let’s try something different,’ there is a chance it will be better for you and it prevents you having to blame yourself, which is not helpful.”
Everything You Need To Know To Be Healthier Overall!
By Amy Copenhagen
How Well Do You Really Feel?
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Talk to someone
Suffering alone adds to the pressure. Share the situation with friends or family if you can. Even if they can’t help, just talking to someone could help you see the problem with a clearer focus. You can also get free and independent money advice from hundreds of debt charities and organisation across the country. Find free and impartial money advice near you
Know exactly what the situation is
If you’ve lost track of your spending, it’s even harder to find a way out. Though it could be scary to see the true extent of your problems, a simple budget will clearly show you how much you spend and where. There could be some simple ‘quick wins’, where you can instantly find places to save or cut back.
Take it one at a time
If there are so many bills you feel overwhelmed by what to do next, stop. Take one concern at a time. You don’t need to solve it, but you might be able to make it less of a worry. Then move on to the next, and so on until you feel able to look at the bigger picture. Focus first on the priority expenses such as rent, Council Tax and energy.
Make some simple changes
Though some of your money worries might be big, you might ease the pressure with some small and simple changes. You could free up extra cash by switching your energy company or changing to a discount supermarket. You might be able to raise some money by selling things on eBay or at boot fairs.
Help Overcome Every Day Financial Anxieties And Money Worries
While 2020 was certainly trying for most of us, the Year of Covid can also be viewed as one that forced us to slow down and see our lives through a close-up lens. It shined a spotlight on what was working and also unmasked what was not working in our homes and in our lives.
If your life was spiralling out of control, if your life was on autopilot, if you were too busy to even experience life’s little moments with loved ones, when Covid struck you were suddenly challenged to figure out new ways to live, work, learn, play, and communicate while sheltering in place.
What Was Different?
For the first time in a long time, you:
- Prepared home-cooked meals together.
- Sat at the table for family meals.
- Enjoyed conversations around the kitchen table.
At the same time, you were challenged to:
- Work remotely and run businesses from temporary home office setups.
- Home school your children or grandchildren from the kitchen table.
- Communicate with colleagues, family, or friends for hours on Zoom.
And yet, through the many challenges and inconveniences,you learned to adapt, you grew, you changed.
As your home began to play a greater role in your life:
- You began to experience yourself, your family, and your home differently.
- You found new ways to balance work, home, and relationships, in spite of the clutter and chaos.
- You became more aware of the little things you may not have been present to before.
- You discovered ways to “make due,” to live with less while enjoying it more.
- You likely discovered newfound freedom and flexibility, a whole new life outside the office.
- You began to lean into a simpler, more meaningful life you desire post Covid.
- You learned a lot about what you really needed to be happy and content.
Born out of necessity, you, along with many others, discovered how to creatively convert closets into make-shift home offices (cloffices). You learned how to help homeschool your grandkids overnight. And you may have found ways to repurpose your deck or patio for a much-needed getaway or sanctuary.
In effect, you reinvented the way you live, work, learn, play, and communicate – perhaps without even knowing it. You made yourself at home in your own home… all because of the pandemic.
Our Houses Became Our Homes Again
Covid gave you more time to rethink what matters most. It might have even given you a “new set of eyes” to help you “see through walls” that helped you rediscover the true meaning of “home.”
You’ve learned. You’ve become wiser. You’ve changed.
As you turn the page and begin to shift your thoughts and focus to 2021, you have an opportunity to continue this journey of creating the life and home you really want… one that nurtures, inspires, and energizes you.
In 2021 and beyond, your home will continue to play an even more important role in your life.
- Many of us will continue working remotely from home, choosing the freedom and flexibility it offers.
- New entrepreneurs will start home-based businesses, opting for more purposeful and fulfilling work.
- Others will simply enjoy and experience their homes in a completely new way.
As we become more reliant on our homes in the future, and as we spend more time there, home design and layout will need to adapt to accommodate our ever-changing needs and demands.
Emerging Design Trends: How Covid Is Changing Home Design
So, designers will need to reimagine how our homes can work smarter and harder for our ever-evolving lifestyle post Covid.
Homes now must have the ability to quickly and seamlessly transform to an open plan into a variety of functioning areas for work, learning, and entertaining. Several ways that this can be done is via sliding glass walls, barn doors, and movable partitions.
“Going to the Office” Offices
Dedicated home offices that make you feel like you left home to go to the office will be well outfitted spaces that incorporate functioning work areas, ergonomic chairs, proper lighting and acoustics so you can be more focused and productive.
The “Great Outdoors” Rooms
Creating outdoor spaces where we can live, work, play – and get away – are now “must-haves” for good mental health and well-being. Sanctuary spaces connect us to nature, a must in our work-from-home world.
Zoom calls and conferencing have become an integral part of our daily lives. In addition to having the right video equipment and lighting, staging the right back-drop for your calls and conferencing is equally important.
Spa Bath Hideaway
A spa-like bathroom is a room with a purpose: relax, recharge and get-away from it all. It has become a place to hide, a sanctuary, a retreat from much needed space to unwind.
Each of these new home design trends were driven by lifestyle changes resulting from sheltering in place and working from home. Our lives have changed drastically in 2020 and will likely continue to change in the years to come.
How will you make yourself at home in your own home in 2021? Have you embraced growth and constant change? What new designs have you implemented in your home to make it more work/family friendly? Please share in the comments below!
When you make a choice to pay off your debt, you’ll probably want to start figuring out ways to bring in some extra cash to help. This is especially true if you find out during your budgeting process that things are worse than you thought they were. In any case, there are lots of ways to find extra cash for debt payoff.
Get a Side Gig
You can find a side gig that you do in your spare time like babysitting, dog walking, house sitting, house cleaning, or anything you think you’d be interested in doing. Look at Thumbtack.com to get some ideas. You can also become a virtual assistant, content writer, graphic designer, or any other side hustle that will generate cash fast.
Find a Part-Time Job
If you aren’t comfortable starting something on your own, you can also get a part-time job. Some flexible job ideas to look for include jobs like retail merchandiser, parking assistant, and other part-time jobs on job boards.
Sell Your Junk
If you have a house (or a garage, and especially a storage unit) full of stuff you don’t even use, it’s time to sell it. You can sell things on the Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, at a garage sale, and on consignment
Use Your Credit Card Rewards
Since you have credit cards, check out the rewards you’re not using. You never know when you can add some cash to your pocket from these rewards.
Switch to a No Fee Bank
If you currently have a bank that charges fees, find one that doesn’t. While you’re at it, find an account that pays interest on your balance. Credit unions and many online banks like Ally.com are good options to lower your fees. Five bucks here and there does make a difference.
Use an FSA or HSA
If it’s an option for you, a great way to find more cash is using a flexible spending account or a health spending account to help lower your tax liability by paying for these expenses with pre-tax dollars.
Have you got any more helpful tips?
Let me know in the comments box below
What we do in our daily routine can either inhibit or enrich our life and health. The phrase that has had a profound effect on me is ‘body before business’. According to physiotherapist Michelle Lyons, we should attend to our body and mind first thing in the morning.
But how do we do that?
Some Typical Types of Morning Rituals
In our current day and age, most people keep one of the following morning rituals:
#1 Checking a mobile/iPad/computer first thing on waking. A study from IDC Research revealed that 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking each morning.
#2 Turning the television or radio on first thing in the morning.
#3 Rushing around in the morning and buying a croissant and coffee on the way to work.
While we are used to our particular morning rituals, there are plenty of other ways to set ourselves up for a brilliant day ahead. Take for example the Mindful Morning Rituals, which are so much healthier than what I described above!
Let’s Begin with Morning Mindfulness Meditations
Because of the current fast pace of many people’s lives, our days may include more stress and pressure. People assume this kind of stress is simply an unavoidable part of life, but meditation can help enable us to manage our home and work lives in a more skillful manner.
A regular morning meditation practice helps create and cultivate peace of mind and happier relationships. As a result, we may become kinder and less judgmental of ourselves and others.
True peace of mind is always there, but we must let go of everything that obscures such calm and clarity – our confusion, our ruminating, our expectations, our inner chatter.
When we achieve calmness and peace of mind with morning meditation, our perspective changes and we may feel more positive about ourselves and the day ahead.
What Does a Morning Mindfulness Ritual Look Like?
As previously discussed, the practice of mindfulness meditation is one form of a morning ritual. However, there are many sorts of mindfulness practices to choose from. It is important to pick something you are happy doing consistently.
These can be anything you like. You can establish them as timeout sessions where the focus is on you and your body, with no distractions. Here are some examples:
- Exercise is a type of mindfulness. A long walk in nature has double effect, as nature provides those beautiful feel good hormonal releases in your body.
- Make your favourite healthy meal and enjoy the flavours and textures, while taking your time to eat it. To support mindfulness, put the meal on a beautiful plate and decorate the table.
- Put your bare feet on the ground and feel the sensations beneath you.
- Take deep breaths in and out to connect with your body and mind.
How to Start a Morning Mindfulness Ritual
Choose some routines that feel good for you, or you could try my challenge below.
You need to commit to the process and allow yourself the time and space to practice your ritual. Remember, this is your special time.
You might start with a minimal time frame that best fits your lifestyle and increase it if you find it insufficient. First thing in the morning is best. However, you can also do this last thing at night. The full seven minutes to yourself, without distractions, remains nonnegotiable. This is for YOU.
The 7-Minute Routine
Step #1: Drink a Glass of Water
Most of us underestimate how much water we need. Water will help with your digestive health, your mental health, and will hydrate your connective tissue and organs to help you feel less stiff and sore.
Step #2: Put Your Gratitude in Writing
Write a quick gratitude sentence, such as “Today I am grateful for………….”
Practicing gratitude daily may lower your stress response, increase immunity, and help with mental health.
Step #3: 1 Minute of Breath Work
Take a deep breath in through the nose filling your lower belly and expanding your ribs, then slowly exhale through your mouth, making your exhale longer than your inhale.
Or breathe in, as above, to the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 and repeat for the full minute. Breathing exercises help with stress, mental health, pelvic health, better lung capacity and feelings of wellbeing.
Step #4: 5 Minutes of Mobility Exercises
Mobility/flexibility is something we lose with environmental factors, including desk work, sitting for too long, phone use, and repetitive work. It is also something we lose as we age and hormonal fluctuations occur.
However, we can help ourselves become more flexible and mobile with just a few simple moves that don’t require equipment. This assists that water you just consumed get into the connective tissue inside your body. It helps with stiffness, digestive health, mental health, and it makes you feel good!
Why These Four?
An array of different lifestyle changes and rituals is important for overall health and wellbeing. Having extensively researched the area of women’s health, I know different lifestyle factors can inhibit the physical, mental, and emotional health of women. I believe this will help cover many of the basics, so you can see and feel a difference in yourself.
What Do I Need to Do?
- Complete the 4 tasks first thing upon waking or last thing at night.
- You can also complete the 4 tasks morning and night. You could choose the same rituals or introduce others into the mix.
It takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. I hope you continue this restorative practice beyond 21 days and make it an important part of your lifestyle.
Currently, what is your morning ritual? What do you do immediately after waking? Have you formed a working mindfulness ritual to open/close your days? Has it become a habit? Please share your story with the community!