￼Seven tips to have a better day
Taking care of your mental wellbeing is an important concern in everyone’s life but, too often, it gets shoved aside by other tasks on our to-do lists. There’s always another meeting to get to, another call to make or another spreadsheet to fill out. Sometimes, it feels like there’s just not enough time in the day to take care of ourselves on top of everything else.
The good news is, we tend to be creatures of habit. Once we’ve done something enough that it’s become a habit, we’ll continue to subconsciously do it even while our conscious mind focuses on other tasks. If you prioritise doing one of these tips every day, soon it will become a habit. Caring for your wellbeing won’t just be another thing on your to-do list, but a subconscious effort you make every single day and, we promise, you’ll see the benefits.
- Make “thank you” your first thought of the day
We’ve all been there: we’re woken from a blissful slumber by the sound of our alarm clock and our very first thought is how exhausted we are. Or the dirty dishes in the sink we didn’t get to last night. Or the traffic we’re about to sit in on our commute.
But what if, instead of a list of complaints or anxieties, our first thought of the day was “thank you.” Energy flows where your attention goes. When you start the day on a positive note, it’s much more likely to continue on that way. Your mind also can’t focus on two things at once, so by focusing on the positives, you’re not leaving any space for the negatives to come in.
Have an attitude of gratitude. It’s not ignoring problems; it’s retraining your mind.
- Reach for water before coffee
We love a cup of coffee to start our days as much as everyone else. But did you know our bodies are 70% water, and our brains are 90% water? Humans need three things to survive: oxygen, water, and nutrition, in that order. Scientists estimate that nearly 75% of adults are chronically dehydrated, and sleep itself is a dehydrative activity. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee first – which, by the way, is a diuretic and may worsen your dehydration – reach for a cup of water instead. Your body will thank you for it.
- Start your morning with some light exercise
Exercise first thing in the morning does wonders for your mood, energy levels and general wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be anything especially strenuous either – a 15 minute yoga practice or a brisk walk outside increases your oxygen intake, releases endorphins and gets you energized to tackle the rest of your day with a positive mindset.
- Replace mindless scrolling with mindful reading
Instead of spending your first thirty minutes scrolling through Twitter, checking emails or switching on the TV, instead try consuming something uplifting or educational. This could be a podcast you listen to while you get ready for work or even setting your alarm twenty minutes earlier to read a chapter from a motivational book. Your mind is like a fertile garden: whatever seeds you plant will grow. It’s up to you to plant the right seeds that you can nurture and grow into a healthy mindset. Bad news sells, but you don’t have to buy it.
- Make a plan for the day
This isn’t a list of tasks you need to get done before the end of the day. Instead, take some time to visualize and write out how you’d like your day to go. So often, we focus entirely on how things may go wrong or what we don’t want to happen instead of what we do want to happen. Like starting your day with gratitude, this helps your mind focus on the positives instead of the negatives. If you can then write it down, something magical happens between pen and brain.
We bet you never thought you’d have to be reminded to breathe, but our modern world goes by so fast we often forget to check in with our bodies. We’re stuck up in our minds, full of anxieties and “what’s nexts”, which switches on our sympathetic nervous system or the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Try setting aside a few minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon to stop what you’re doing and shift your focus to your body. Breathe, slowly and deeply. Turning our attention to our breath switches on our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us feel calm and relaxed.
You can also take this time to check in with your physical body. What parts of your body feel good? What’s in pain, or sore, or needs attention? Do you need to stand up and stretch your legs for a moment or drink a glass of water? By taking better care of our bodies we can take better care of our minds.
- End your day with something that makes you feel good
After a long workday, it’s hard not to spend time going over and over the things that went wrong, or the tasks you didn’t get to or what you wish you could’ve done better. But if we don’t give our brain time to rest and recover, we won’t be ready to tackle the next day. We’ll get stuck in a loop of stress and headed down the road to burnout.
Instead, finish your day doing something that makes you feel good. That could be relaxing on the coach, socialising with friends, exercising or anything else that makes you happy. Many people get great benefit from journaling. Just write down the vents of the day, get it out of your head and on to paper as that is the only way to get it to stand still, then see what you can learn from it.
At Business Oxygen, we recognise that your wellbeing is essential for your business success. The business is often a reflection of the business owner(s). If the owner is not doing well then the likelihood is that the business will also struggle. Our goal therefore is to look at it holistically and ensure your wellbeing so that the business can thrive.
Gordon Berry is a Chartered Certified Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, but also a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming and trained in mindfulness and hypnotherapy.