Us moms are always harried and running around doing things for everyone else. For years I popped out of bed like I was shot out of a cannon and took care of everyone and every thing from my husband to my kids to the dogs etc… I’d go, go, go all day long telling myself that I’d take some “me time” later when I finished everything I needed to do. You probably know where I am going with this, right?
Inevitably each day, I ended up running out of time and collapsing into my bed only to start the same routine again the next day. Needless to say I was tired, run down and starting to feel resentful. From being a psychotherapist, student of positive psychology and a little bit of a self help junkie, I knew that this was no way to live a happy life plus harboring resentment is like sitting on a ticking time bomb. I attempted to put what I knew to be true into practice, but when I tried to meditate twice a day, do an hour of yoga, AND an hour at the gym, write in my gratitude journal, cook healthy meals, spend quality time with the kids, have date nights with my husband, work, do chores etc, etc, etc; I realized there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish it all. Of course you already know that 🙂 So after feeling like a failure one too many times, I came up with a quick Sanity Saving Strategy (SSS) that I can stick with every day. So here are my 3 S’s:
THE 3 THINGS I DO EACH MORNING BEFORE I GET OUT OF BED (unless nature calls first).
1. Say The Serenity Prayer
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the strength to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” When some people think of the serenity prayer they think of it as it relates to addiction. In fact it is said to have been written by a Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who composed it in the 1940s. Then Alcoholics Anonymous adopted it. For me this one sentence encapsulates everything I aspire to be and wish to embody. So when I open my eyes in the morning it’s the first thing I say and I often repeat it like a Mantra. Why? Because accepting the things you cannot change does not make you a failure in fact I think it makes you courageous. Spending pointless energy trying to change something that you have no control over is draining when instead you can point your energies elsewhere. Like changing the things you can; which to me means looking inward and reflecting on what I changes I can make in myself to improve my life. In essence this prayer is about having faith and giving control over to god, the universe or whatever your higher power may be. This is very grounding and empowering! A great way to start the day. Try it and let me know what you think.
2. Say A Minimum Of 3 Things I Am Grateful For
The next thing I do is rattle down a list of things I have to be grateful for. Some mornings it’s simply that I opened my eyes and am alive. Other days it’s broader. I always start with at least 3 things, but inevitably end up with a laundry list of things and people I am grateful for. Grateful thinking is in direct conflict with negative emotions which is probably why no matter what mood I’m in when I wake up, this exercise quickly helps me shift into a happier place. It gets me focused on the things in life that are meant to be savored. It’s also an excellent coping mechanism for stress and anxiety.
3. Sit Up And Breathe Or Meditate For A Minimum Of 3 Minutes And Up To 20 Minutes.
So for years I have dabbled with meditation. Even with everything I knew about the benefits of meditation and breathing (and these are now medically proven), my practice was very inconsistent. I don’t consider myself a particularly disciplined person, but for the last two plus years I have developed a dedicated meditation practice which begins each day when I wake up in the morning. Simply focusing on my breathing for 3-5 minutes every day creates a state change in my brain and body that seems to have a long lasting effect on my day. I am calmer, clearer and able to handle whatever the day throws my way with more ease and grace than I ordinarily would. If you are interested in learning about meditation techniques, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anything else I do above and beyond these 3 things is a bonus, but something very interesting started to happen after a few weeks. I started to notice that when I set up my day properly, my to-do-list got done more quickly and I had more time for things I love, like a longer walk, a gym workout, quality time with family and friends or an afternoon meditation.
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