“Must have coffee.” Is this your morning mantra?
If rising from the bed feels more like rising from the dead, on a quest for coffee, you need a more balanced morning to go with a balanced breakfast. Leave the morning rush to the zombies 😉
It’s called the morning rush for a reason, of course–and many of us can relate. Sticky notes point you toward important agenda items, and you check your pockets for your keys at least three times before leaving. You’ve done the locked-out dance before and don’t want to talk about it.
You do this all over again the next morning. Details you said you’d remember slip, and the whole work-life balance seems like a tall tale better left with Paul Bunyan. Unfortunately, when we begin our day feeling flustered like this, we set ourselves up to struggle for the rest of our waking hours.
On top of that, external pressures in your relationships, activities, and profession leave little time to pursue personal dreams or reflect on how you feel about life. On the flip side, your entire world may be focused inward, and you feel clueless about connecting with the world, though you want to try. Where does one even begin to “get it together”?!
Indeed, shaking feelings of fogginess, disconnection, and being flustered is easier said than done. Yet work-life balance–and happier mornings, days, and evenings–are possible. The following 5-minute visualization ritual and accompanying tips will help you reframe your day so you simply feel better, get more done, and go to bed looking forward to doing it all over again.
Chasing Your Center When You’ve Had It All Along–A Visualization Ritual
Balance is about finding your center, not running around in a circle. You’ve been connected to your center all along, but you need to get in touch with your personal rhythm and way of being. Try this short ritual and accompanying tactics to reclaim balanced mornings (and, ultimately, a more balanced life!):
1. Pick a Better Metaphor to Help You Process Time
Instead of imagining time on a clock, come up with another metaphor that works for you. Maybe your time is a garden, with various plots for areas of your life. Some plants thrive best in shade, and others need full sun.
Your metaphor is up to you. Choose a canvas or a mountain as your metaphor. What metaphor most inspires you?
Consider why you chose this metaphor, and how close it is to the way you really envision your life versus how you live it. For example, is your garden overrun with thorny plants (obligations) that fail to motivate you? Or is your garden full of your favorite things? Does it make you want to wake up in the mornings, to start a new chapter?
2. Take Stock of Your Garden
Now consider what’s not working where in your garden (or metaphor of choice). Take a walk through it in your mind’s eye, reserving judgment.
You will find physical evidence in your daily life, such as missed calls, deadlines, and events. Parts will feel overwhelming, in chaos and pleasure. You’ll be surprised by the beautiful, wild things you find there, too. How do all of these elements make you feel? Take special note of what brings you anxiety and dread and what fills you with hope and excitement.
3. Get to Plotting
In order to have smoother, happier mornings, you’re going to have to make adjustments in your daily routine. The previous visualization ritual in #1& 2 will help guide you with the following activities.
Cut back the harmful weeds and invasive plants that are overgrown in your mind’s garden. Trim back life’s overwhelming parts, and say “no” more often. Leave the extra work at work. Cut out the screen time before bed, because studies show your internet surfing and tube time are affecting your sleep quality.
Look at areas that have been neglected. Do you nurture your mind, body, and spirit in effective ways that actually relax you? Developing a bedtime routine will help you improve your sleep quality and reset your circadian rhythm. Do yoga. Read a book. Take a walk. Engage in something creative.
Continue to nourish what’s been neglected, especially in your morning routine. First, drink a tall glass of water infused with cucumber. Take the time to make yourself a delicious, nutritious 10-minute breakfast, with fresh fruit, whole grains, and a healthy plant-based protein. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Start simple.
Let these small but important changes radiate through the rest of your life.
Look at what’s working well. Acknowledge it. Be proud of it.
4. Leave an Area Wild
Finally, continue on your visualization journey, and carve out time to pursue what inspires you.
Give yourself an hour — or heaven forbid, a whole day — on the weekend to unwind and follow whatever wayward path you want. Sleep in, or go on a day trip. Create!
This area of wildness is your connection to yourself, removed from obligation and expectation. You are safe from the clock. Where does your wildness want you to grow?
Striking a balance in a modern world of demands is difficult, but it must be done. You have to be mindful of how your time is used and what takes away the precious moments of your life.
Nourish what adds to making you want to wake up and experiencing a new day. Release what doesn’t. When you trust your own sense of rhythm in daily life and honor it, you’ll find your mornings are more balanced and enjoyable.
How do you establish work-life balance? Have you tried this visualization ritual?
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