When it comes to creating routines and habits in our lives, the reason why is simple: we want to feel good! We want to feel good emotionally and physically, we want to have great relationships, and we want to feel motivated to reach our goals. But which habits will make us feel the best, and keep us striving and living our extraordinary lives? I have eight tools for you that will help. Some of them are a part of my routines while I lean on others when I need them; but all will help you feel better across multiple areas of your life.
It may be funny to think of sleep as a tool to help you achieve your goals. But think about it: when you aren’t well rested, everything else becomes more difficult. You may be moody, grumpy, or crave unhealthy food, and it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything when you are exhausted. Deep down, your body knows this, which is why it craves the routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
When you can work with your natural biorhythms, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to greet the day with intention. You’ll learn the best times for you to be productive, exercise, and rest. It’ll even become easier to fall and stay asleep when you stick to your bedtime.
Of course, this is all in a perfect world! This past week I had troubles sleeping due to kids and drinking too much caffeine during the day. We can all do a bit more to encourage a more rested sleep, which is why I have a whole guide to setting better morning and evening routines. Grab your free copy for ideas on how to create a sleep routine that works for you.
Meditating has become a part of my normal morning routine, though I did let it slide over the summer. To be honest, I missed it! Meditating has tons of benefits, including:
I like to meditate in the morning to start the day feeling calm and grounded. You might want to do it later in the evening to quiet your mind and decrease your blood pressure before bed. Whenever you choose to meditate, a daily practice is best to reap the most benefits. There are lots of apps to get you started with meditating, and just five minutes a day can be enough to benefit from this practice.
EFT, also known as “tapping” or Emotional Freedom Technique, isn’t part of my regular routine. Rather, it’s a tool I keep in my back pocket when I’m feeling stressed, anxious, or something similar. EFT is the action of tapping on different meridian points on the body while saying specific words to send a calming signal to your brain. It’s proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which thus helps relieve stress, anxiety, and pain, and can improve sleep and productivity. Again, there are apps to help you learn the technique (this is my favorite), or you can find tutorials on YouTube.
I practice yoga with my teacher a few days a week, and try to do some at home when I can. I love how yoga connects you to the moment, your breath, and your body - very much like meditating does. It’s great to get your body moving, and can be as gentle or as intense as you like it. There are many types of yoga to suit all abilities and preferences. I’ve even seen “dance yoga”! I put together a short 15 minute (and a 30 minute) practice a few years ago. You can access them here.
Over the past nine months I’ve been learning the Egoscue Method, also called postural therapy. It’s not yoga, but it is getting my body moving. My instructor, Sue Butzow, gives me specific exercises to make my body feel good, especially after all the time I spend sitting or hunched over working. My back, hips, shoulders and neck all feel amazing! Again, these tools are meant to do just that: help us feel better in our lives so we can show up and do the things we want to do. Hint: she does classes on Zoom so check her out!
Practicing gratitude has become non-negotiable for me. There’s been a lot going on for me lately, with my family being evacuated from wildfires, to my daughter heading to college, unexpected home repairs, and all of those other things. For me, a daily gratitude practice helps me keep a positive focus and keep things in perspective. It’s not about seeing everything through rose-colored glasses, but rather being intentional about noticing the abundance around us. It gives you a dose of feel-good serotonin, and can even strengthen the connections between the thinking and emotional parts of your brain. This is excellent news if you suffer from anxiety. Read more about what I learned from 591 days of gratitude.
Like sleep, most people don’t see good nutrition as a tool for success. When you eat the right foods for your body that give you energy, you just feel better. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that nutrition is how I started my coaching journey. My son was having behavioral issues following a hospitalization, and changing his nutrition made such an impact that I had to learn more.
For my daughter, she saw a big improvement in how she felt by removing gluten from her diet. After a lot of tests and reading about it, she decided to try going gluten-free - and now her energy and mood are so much better! I’m not saying everyone needs to stop eating gluten; but eating good, healthy, whole foods can make all the difference. And if you’re still not feeling great, there may be something else going on, like food intolerances.
Learn more here about Why Your Mood Isn't All "In Your Head."
We often think of exercise as something we need to do physically for our body, which is true, but we also need it for our emotional well-being. I’ve already touched on this above, with yoga. Regular exercise (especially the kind that gets your heart rate up) will improve your mood, sleep, energy, outlook on life, and even your relationships! Because when we feel good, we project that feeling to those around us. Read more on Why Movement Matters.
Do you have a day planner? It’s such a helpful tool for me to stay organized, but there are benefits that go beyond that. Once something is written down in my planner, it’s out of my head. No more swirling to-do lists or “I have to remember to” thoughts popping up while I’m trying to focus. The planner I use also has journal prompts that help me remember why I do the work I do. And I know this isn’t just me, but crossing things off as I get them done feels amazing!
I separated walking from exercise, because I think it deserves its own category. Walking has the power to clear your mind and centre you in moments of stress. It’s also a great way to break up the day. Sometimes I’ll take a stroll to the mailbox in the middle of a busy day to move a bit, relax, and look out at the horizon. A walking meditation, perhaps?
The tools we need to keep us feeling good and to support our journeys towards an extraordinary life don’t have to be complicated. In fact, some of the most simple (sleep, walking, and gratitude) can be the most important.
I’d love to hear your comments about the tools or habits that work for you to keep you feeling good in your body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
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