Begin your day with an uplifting mantra or statement as soon as you open your eyes. Make it something meaningful to you and what you are intent on accomplishing. Too many of us wake up to negative self-talk, worry and anxiety, stress and doubt – things that guarantee a day wrong from the start and limit our thinking. Do not let yourself get down from the get-go; even if your mantra isn’t something you wholeheartedly believe that morning, there’s a reason “fake it ‘til you make it” is a turn of phrase.
Stretch and wake that body up! Devote time to each body part and feel the strength and strain of your muscles beneath you. Get out of your head for a moment by practicing mindfulness, focusing on the corporeal sensation of being alive and in your body.
Beyond stretching, perform some sort of physical activity (within what your schedule permits and within your own means). Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a half-hour yoga practice at home, or a brisk walk with the dog, getting your blood pumping and your body moving will prepare you for the day, both physically and mentally. (Take it a step further by refusing to turn this activity into yet another way to measure yourself to some quantifiable standard: make it a point to appreciate the fact that your body can do what it can within its own limits instead of asserting that you have to “run for x number of minutes” or “lift x lbs for x reps.”)
Get outside at some point, even if it’s just a stroll through a nearby park for a few minutes to grab a coffee or choosing to walk part of the way to your destination instead of taking transit. Allow your gaze to look externally rather than focusing in on your mind’s prattle. Observe the colour of the leaves, the flow of traffic, and the people and nature around you.
Read. Whether it’s a list of websites you peruse through in your free time, a newspaper or magazine on the subway, or a physical book on your lunch break. Consume beautiful and tragic and informative words. Keep up with the world around you. Learn something new.
As frivolous as it may sound, take some step to clean and organize your place of home or work. It is important to maintain some form of order in the space around you, as a chaotic space leads far too easily to a chaotic mind. Make things easier to find, easier to navigate, and easier for yourself in general. Simple acts like cleaning are great, easy goals to achieve with minimal effort so you can feel a sense of accomplishment and calm.
Spread your truth in some way. For example, a good (and easy) truth to spread is kindness. Smile at everyone you engage with. Go out of your way to perform a small act of kindness or compassion for someone else. Simply be mindful of other people around you. You never know what minor thing can make someone else’s day, and inspiring joy and appreciation in others is a sure path to finding it within yourself.
Make a tiny discovery each day by doing at least something new. It can be as simple as pushing yourself to do a new task at work, making small talk with a stranger on the streetcar or at the coffee shop, or physically going somewhere new, like taking a new route to wherever you’re heading that day or going somewhere new for lunch. Or, it could be as big as booking a trip or buying tickets to an event you can look forward to. The world is full and expansive and offers endless opportunities – though routine is in many ways a necessary part of life, why limit yours and make it more mundane than it has to be?