For the majority of us with a daily routine, it's easy to get in the habit of just "going through the motions" to get through the day. What can possibly be exciting about the commute you've made at least 1,000 times in your life? Another day, same as the one before, right?
This is the kind of mentality that causes us to lose the joy in our life. Life should never feel like something you just "get through" on your way to another (hopefully brighter) place.
Life is something to be lived every moment; it's something that requires us to be present at all times.
By using these tips, you can turn your everyday routine and former "time-killing" activities into something positive and productive to inspire your growth as a person.
1. Waking up
OK, so not everyone is an early bird, and when the alarm clock goes off it's tempting to throw it against the wall and slip back into the sweet bliss of your dreams. However, I've found that the attitude you have when you start your day will set the tone for the rest of the day's activities. A lazy start will make a lazy, less productive day.
Instead of thinking about how tired you are or how you're dreading your afternoon presentation, think about something you can look forward to, like the sunshine or the delicious leftovers in the fridge.
Think of every day as an opportunity, not an obligation.
2. Getting ready in the morning
You probably know your routine for getting ready in the morning so well that you could do it with your eyes closed, but that doesn't mean it has to be monotonous. Why not try a different look with your makeup, or style your hair differently?
You can also use this time to mindfully choose your attitude for the day. If you need a boost of confidence, tell yourself in the mirror that you are confident. If you're stressed, take some deep, calming breaths.
Everyone always says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and in this case it's true. If you skimp on breakfast, you'll start the day hungry and with low energy. Use this opportunity to get a nutrient boost with your favorite smoothie or juice.
Instead of eating on the go, take the time to sit down and eat everything before continuing to the next activity.
4. The commute to work
If you're someone who commutes, you probably understand this better than anyone. It may not be the most exciting time of the day, but think of it as free time for self-improvement.
Download books on tape or podcasts to listen to, or simply use it as a quiet time to reflect on your life and reorganize your mind. Getting frustrated won't help anything, so try to use the time productively instead.
5. Challenges at work
You know that time at work where you just can't handle it, and maybe it makes you want to scream? I'm sure we've all been there once, but it doesn't have to be that way.
When faced with a frustrating situation, usually our lack of patience, knowledge or guidance causes us to feel out of control. Take these moments to identify exactly what's affecting you, then focus on overcoming it. It's a great character-building exercise that can be applied to all aspects of your life, not just your job.
6. Daily exercise
Not everyone loves working out, but most of us do it for the good of our well-being. There are always days when we groan at the thought of having to go to the gym or put on our running shoes.
But exercise releases dopamine into the brain, which makes us feel happier. It also reduces stress and gives us more energy. Instead of letting lethargy get in the way, consider all the health benefits.
Even better, find an activity that you enjoy and try to make a workout from it.
7. Washing dishes
I have to say that I really don't like washing dishes, and I don't really know anyone who does. However, there's value even in this household task.
It can be a time of psychological and spiritual cleansing if you put your mind in the right perspective. I use this time to clear my mind and imagine washing all the negativity and stress away down the drain with the rest of the mess.
8. Alone time
Life can be demanding for those of us with families, friends, co-workers and customers constantly needing our attention. Sometimes it can seem that we only live for others' needs and not our own. However, when we finally get some time for ourselves we often don't know what to do with it.
Well, it is your time. Enjoy it! Find something that you like to do, take a relaxing bath, watch your favorite show … just don't spend this time worrying about others.
9. Going to bed
After a long day it's tempting to want to flop in bed and pass out, but the pre-sleep ritual is very important. Use this time to mindfully relax all the muscles in your body and unwind your mind.
If you want clarity on a subject or to remember your dream when you wake, tell yourself out loud several times before you sleep. Yes, it does make a difference.