What daily practices do you have that keep you happy, healthy and sane? I got thinking about this because over the last week, various things have happened to disrupt my normal routine…and this meant that a couple of my daily practices got dropped. As soon as I picked them up again, clarity was restored, I relaxed, I was able to breathe deeply again (I hadn’t even realised I’d stopped breathing deeply) and I just felt so much better.
Often, life does get in the way of doing things that keep us happy, healthy and sane…we’re just too busy to do the things that restore us, that make us feel good, that clear our mind and help us release tension. And that’s why I LOVE a daily practice! Because if you make it something you do every day, like brushing your teeth, you don’t need to take 7 hours over it…you can just take 5-10 minutes here and there.
5-10 minutes here and there to keep yourself happy, healthy and sane…could you find that time? Do you find that time already? If you do, what do you do? If you don’t, what practice would you love to add in to your life? Over the years I’ve experimented extensively with creating daily practices, and I can tell you with certainty what does not work at all for me:
Creating complicated, time-consuming practices where I try to do 15 new things at once.
Like the time I decided to add to my bedtime routine gratitude journalling, meditation, reading something inspirational, yoga, and getting to bed early. Hmm. I think I lasted about a week. Or the time I tried to create a morning routine that involved meditation, yoga, day planning, visualisation, checking in on my goals, lemon water, and more… that lasted 2 days.
It was just too much to add at once. Now there’s nothing wrong with creating morning and evening routines that involve lots of things…but for me, I’ve found that if I add them in one at a time, I’m more likely to stick with them than if I try to create the “perfect” morning/evening routine involving 32 different things in one fell swoop.
A few years ago, I spent a couple of years experimenting with various different daily practices – each one for one month, including meditation, happy dancing, trusting yourself, morning pages, yoga, lightening up, laughing, playing, self-care, farting around, gratitude, exercising. It’s a great way to really play with a practice – immerse yourself in it for a month…and then at the end of the month, you can see which you want to continue.
(If you follow the link above, you’ll find the blog posts I wrote about each daily practice – one at the beginning and one at the end of every month).
I don’t do all of those practices every single day…but I do many of them regularly, because they feel good…and I have a core of 5 practices that keep me healthy, happy and sane. They are:
Morning yoga for 10 minutes
When I do this, I sleep better, I carry less tension, my posture’s better, the day seems to flow better, I breathe more deeply, I’m calmer and my body feels better.
Which might be sitting with a notebook asking a question and staring into space until an answer comes, or imagining a shower of light falling on me, or omming, or doing a guided meditation, or doing a walking meditation: When I do some kind of meditative practice, I’m calmer, I’m happier, I have more brain space, my intuition is sharper, I feel better.
(Which I do in the afternoon or evening because I’m not a morning person – if I do them in the morning, they take forever and are very grumpy.) When I do my morning pages, my mind is clearer, I am less grumpy, I get less brain fry, I get great clarity on my life and my dreams and I get lots of intuitive, inspirational ideas come through the pages.
This one is a relatively new one for me – just the past 3-4 months, and I love it. I love sunsets, I love the energy of that time of day, I love walking in the lovely area I live in. It’s a great way to clear my mind at the end of the day, get some exercise, and see some beautiful sunsets.
This is my favourite thing. If I was stranded on a desert island, as long as I had my Kindle, or access to a library, I’d be fully entertained forever. If I read, any problems fade away, bad moods disappear, and I feel happy.
When I do these 5 things I feel so much happier, healthier and more sane. These 5 things make such a big difference to how I feel that I really miss them when I don’t get a chance to do them all. And I’ll be honest, I don’t do every one every day – the reading and writing I do 99% of the time; the rest I probably do 5 days out of 7…which is enough to keep me happy, healthy and sane.
What do you do daily to keep yourself happy, healthy and sane? And what one practice would you love to add to your day to help you feel even better? I’d love to know, reply to this mail and share your practice – new and old – with me.