Have a Good Day At Life
Yesterday, as my husband was leaving for work, I said, “Have a good day at work”. In return, he replied, “Have a good day at …. life”.
My days are typically filled with a variety of activities that occur in a variety of places. Laundry, run to Target, computer work, picking up one kid or the other… His wish was a good one to cover any scenario. And it also got me thinking.
How does one have a good day at life? What does my “good day” look like? What about yours?
There’s one thing I want to address right away.
Don't get trapped in a narrow definition of “good”.
Life happens. Things don't always feel pleasant nor go as planned.
If your goal is to always have a “good” day, there will inevitably be times where you fail. Why set yourself up for that? I know I don’t need that extra pressure of making every day a not-bad one.
Instead, redefine “good”. Don't think of it as the opposite of bad. Instead, think of good as a state of wholeness, existing simply because it is. So a “good” day is one in which you are alive to experience the experience of being alive. (Make sense?) This includes the joys as well as the pains, the suffering, the moments that you’d otherwise want to run from and the ones you want to last forever.
Life is a compilation of millions of moments. Instead of trying to cling to some that you define as good and reject others that you define as bad, try noticing all of them as You Being Alive.
That being said...
It would be rather unempowering and frustrating to just practice being ok with everything. There is a joy that we are given in life to creatively engage with the moments that we are given. That means we get to co-design the lives we are given.
So while you can practice being fully grateful simply for the experience of being alive day after day, you can also join in shaping how those days look. You aren’t just at the mercy of whatever life hands you.
What would a “good” day look like to you? What would it feel like?
I don’t think we ask this of ourselves often enough. We seem to forget how much control we have over how we feel and experience each hour.
And it is hard to design a good day, or to even know if you’ve had one, if you don’t know what your good day looks like.
After my husband left me with his wish to have a good day at life, I spent some time thinking about how I would go about doing so. Here are a few things I came up with (to hopefully get you thinking about your own):
1 – Incorporate Movement: Every day I walk for 30 minutes*. (*I have a surprise report coming about that soon! Be sure to be signed up for the newsletter to be the first to hear) Many days, I also try to do a 15 minute strength training routine. While these segmented times are beneficial, I find my best days are those in which I integrate movement into my other activities. This means I’m dancing around the kitchen, moving up and down the stairs to do laundry, walking around a little extra while outside and taking care of chores, and standing up from the computer chair every 30 minutes to stretch.
2 – Consciously Create Connection: As someone whose work is primarily at home, and as an introvert, it is extremely easy for me to be disconnected from relationships other than my husband and kids. I’ve found that I feel better, though, when I have conversations and connections that inspire and enliven me. Whether it is an online chat with someone or a conversation over coffee, creating time for connection always makes me feel better.
3 – Be Present with Parenting: The older my children get, the less they need (and often want) my attention. However, on days where we’ve spent some time catching up with one another and finding reasons to laugh and remember our love, I feel so much more … okay with the other times that they are off forging their independence. I try to consciously create these connecting moments at least once a day.
4 – Physical Nourishment: There are some days where coffee and chips are far too great a percentage of my overall diet. When I do purposefully plan ahead for veggie-filled meals and healthy snacking, I not only have more energy throughout the day, but I head to bed feeling so much better about myself.
5 – Incorporate Inspiration: Energy coming in is crucial to staying, well...., energized throughout the day. If I try to continuously write and share and do for myself and/or for others, I find myself dragging and longing for a beer and Netflix at the end of the night. Although it sometimes seems self-indulgent, I find myself uplifted and actually doing better work when I spend time watching a good Ted talk, reading a contemplative blog, or making it through some more pages of an inspirational book. At the very least, if I’m feeling a bit sluggish, finding a good quote or poem (via a simple Google search) often gives me that extra deep inhale that pulls me into a smile and my next activity.
6 – Leave Space for What-Ifs: A good day includes a bit of space where I’m flirting with the unknown. It is so easy to fall into routine, and routine can become quite boring and dull. Always holding space for the “what if” creates a bit of excitement in the day.
7 – Be Purposefully Productive: I’ve gone entire days (I’m sad to admit) where I accomplish very little – not because I haven’t had the time or energy, but because I simply didn’t practice productivity. It wasn’t conscious relaxation. I was just wasting time. The older I get, the more precious I realize each day is – and that wasting even one feels rather crappy. Generally, I like to consider being productive with my “world work” – that is, anything that I am offering to someone else outside of my home. This could include time spent writing, photographing, and/or sharing my thoughts via social media. But a day spent decluttering the house, helping my kids discover more depth in their studies, or in assistance of others is certainly one in which I feel equally accomplished.
8 – Clean: Much to the disappointment of the younger me who was quite happy with messiness, the now-me finds a clutter-free and sensually-pleasing environment to be a source of great joy. When the floors are swept, dishes put away, and the air is filled with either the scent of nature wafting in through open windows or the delicate fragrance from candle or essential oil diffuser, every single thing I do feels just a tad bit lighter. Disturbed thoughts (of needing to pick up this or that, replace this broken thing, mend that thing) are less intrusive, so my mind is free to concentrate on the other work that needs to done.
9 – Consciously Relax: I can’t tell you the number of nights where I’ve collapsed at the end of the day in front of Netflix – usually with a drink in hand. Not surprisingly, there are an equal number of mornings where I’ve woken feeling not-well-rested and regretting the hours spent before bed. My good days include time where I’ve incorporated conscious restful activities – leisurely stretching, a nap, time spent with a fiction book or even a television show that engages my intellect. The difference between collapsing and consciously relaxing is huge. I leave one feeling even more tired and the other, feeling rested and recharged.
10 – Create: Really good days include ones where I’ve made time to be playfully creative. This takes SO many forms. It might mean I photograph something or someone (my most favorite of activities). It might mean I sketch or paint or edit photos online or even draw with chalk on our driveway. It always means that I let my mind move into different ways of seeing things and my body and/or voice to play with expression of what I experience.
Do any of the above feel like something that would be a part of your good day?
I invite you to spend even 5 minutes quickly jotting down what a good day looks like in your own life. Post your writing somewhere so you remember to look at it frequently. Trust me – when dealing with work and children and the needs of so many others, it is easy to forget to remember yourself.
And, hey –
Have a good day at life today.