Stay Present, Joyful, and Happy By Creating Your Routine!
2018 taught me there is no shame in doing whatever it is you need to do in order to stay present, happy, and joyful. These are concepts taken for granted daily and something I now thank God for every day He gives me a good day. I am a girl who thrives off routine so I figured out what works for me and I try my best to follow this each day. Whatever works for you, whether its routine or spontaneity, try to make it happen because feeling the joy is something so precious yet not everyone takes the time to relish in.
These 10 daily habits are what works for me!
1. Wake Up Early & Practice CBT Allllll Day
As much as possible, I don’t set an alarm. I know myself and alarms give me insta-anxiety so on those mornings I wake up naturally on my own I pop out of bed before the rest of the house wakes up in order to have some quiet moments to myself before the hustle gets going. For instance, as I am writing this, it’s 5:23am and I am enjoying my warm cup of coffee all to myself. Simple moments like this one remind me to practice my CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) from the moment I wake up: I thank God for the beautiful sunrise, find joy in a hot cup of coffee, and browse the internet before my kids wake up. I love these mornings and I feel so grateful to have these moments to myself.
2. Gratitude Journal
The moment I sit down at my computer with my cup of coffee, I pull out my gratitude journal and jot down 3 things I am thankful for. There is a lot of research about starting your day off thanking God, in fact, there are 7 proven benefits; opens the door to more relationships, improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy and reduces aggression, improves sleep and self-esteem, and increases mental strength. Thankful items can be large such as healthy children, a supportive husband, a beautiful house and then it eventually leads to smaller pleasures such as, watching a good movie, talking with a friend, or wearing your favorite sweater. It absolutely sets the tone for the day. Any kind of notebook or pad works with this but I found this super cute journal online that I love.
3. Verilux Light Lamp
This was suggested to me by my therapist and psychiatrist because I live in an area that’s cold a few months out of the year and research shows this can lead to depression. I have no idea if light lamps actually work or if it’s the placebo effect but it is said that light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. I turn it on first thing in the morning when I have my alone time at the computer and it quite literally brightens my day! This is the one I have but there are a ton to choose from.
This is easier said than done but I remember my psychiatrist mentioning that one work-out a day can act as an equivalent to taking one Zoloft each day. You can imagine how I ran with that one. I used to have the lowest self-esteem and really struggled with body image. I worked out too hard, ate too little, and then it was quickly followed by binge eating and a self-esteem crash. Oddly enough, I became more confident after kids, I feel like a superhuman that I actually grew and popped out two beautiful kids so I have a much healthier relationship with work-outs. Even if I can only get 10 minutes each morning, I do it. I sometimes include my kids in order to make this happen. There are so many ways you can incorporate working-out into your daily routine: DVD’s, iPhone Apps, at-home equipment, working-out with kids, etc. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and DO IT. Whatever you need to do in order to make this happen, I can’t recommend this enough! You’ve never heard someone say “damn, I really wish I hadn’t worked out”.
5. Dry Brush
This might seem odd but for me dry brushing has something to do with staying present. Every time I use a dry brush I relish in the feeling. It gives me goosebumps, scratches softly on my skin, and exfoliates and I really notice myself staying present during these 30 seconds. There are also a lot of benefits to dry brushing: not only does it slough off dead skin but it promotes tighter skin, cell renewal, and blood flow. This also helps the lymphatic system to release toxins and aids in digestion and kidney function. These things are uber cheap and so worth the purchase.
I feel so trite writing this down but I love meditating. I still have no idea if I’m doing it correctly but everyone says, “that’s the point, just be calm” so that’s what I do. I think the key part to meditating – at least for me – is finding the right time. Most people love to meditate in the morning but I know that doesn’t work for me. When I wake up there are websites to browse, coffee to be made, and Amazon purchases I just need to buy before the kiddos wake up! I meditate in the afternoon when the kids are sleeping (I am lucky, both my kids still nap praise be to Jesus!) and I find that I am ready to be a better Mother afterward. It re-sets my mind, allows me to practice gratitude and calmness, and often times I sit quietly and pray. This is another thing that’s so hard to find the time for but I suggest 10 minutes during your lunch break, cut down Insta scrolling by a few minutes, or watch that TV show a few minutes later! I promise you, it’s worth the benefits of better sleep, helps deal with anxiety and depression, lowers blood pressure, and lessons fatigue and cloudy thinking. Some great apps to help get you started are Headspace, Calm, and 10% Happier.
7. Oils, Oils, Oils
I am a creature of habit and I absolutely love my morning routine that includes oils and supplements. I included supplements with this section because I often consume my oils at the same time as my vitamins to help with my energy, hormone control, and health boosters. If you need some guidance on where to start with essential oils on a daily basis, you can visit this blog post. I can’t recommend this enough to add the positive benefits to your day. You can also visit here to get your oils.
8. Get Outside
Praise be to my Sister-in-Law (who lives in the same mountain town as we do) who had 3 kids before I had 1 and showed me that leaving the house is essential to living in this town. I have only ever known planning a daily activity, and by daily I mean Every. Single. Day I take my kids to a planned activity that gets us out of the house: gymnastics, music class, the local park, local kid center, indoor jumping places, the bookstore, a restaurant… anything! This is sooo much work when you live in snow 6 months out of the year but being outside can improve short-term memory, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. There is also an innate need for humans to feel as if they belong and by staying inside, you won’t know how much this benefits you until it’s too late. I say it again, GET OUTSIDE and leave your house.
9. Get on the Floor and Play with My Kids
This might sound so completely obvious but my OCD state of mind is always thinking about the dinner that needs to be made, the laundry that needs to be done, and the room that needs picking up. I have had to teach myself to let those things lie and get on the floor and play with my kids. I leave my phone on the counter, the dishes in the sink, and laundry in the dryer in order to make this happen on a daily basis. I never, ever, regret playing with my kids and these are the moments that the sweetest things often come out of their mouths. I can’t tell you how many times my son has looked at me and said “I love you, Mom” while I am building with him on the floor. It’s those words that make all the mess worth it… or at least until 7pm when the Dracula comes out and enough is enough and everyone has to help clean up! For some crafty ideas, start with an activity bin that promotes a ton of daily fun!
10. Read a Book
The 10th item was a tie between watching my favorite TV show with my husband and reading a book. I adore and look forward to time with my husband every single day but I choose to write about reading because sometimes media puts negative and stressful thoughts into our minds at the end of the day. Reading a book is truly what helps me come down. When I scroll my phone before bedtime, 90% of the time I don’t sleep as well. I also know that where I am in life, I can’t keep up with all the amazing TV shows and movies out right now so I had to let my focus on pop-culture go for the time being. Reading is calming and brings out such happiness in my life. Books can also lead to an open mind, which will increase happiness: you can become more tolerant and less prejudiced by reading. If you need some good reading material, take a look at the post I did at the end of 2018 for some awesome fiction reads.
That’s all folks! Now go ahead and find the 10 items that make you happy and try your best to do those every single day! It’s called Self-Care y’all!
What are some habits you do on a daily basis to bring happiness into your life?