We all have challenging moments--difficult periods in our lives that require perseverance and motivation to overcome. And each of us needs to learn, through trial and error, how to take difficult mornings and transform them into productive and fulfilling days. Unfortunately, changing your mental and physical state is much easier said than done.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling off. I was exhausted from overworking myself the previous few days--something I'm sure none of you can relate to--and emotionally worn down from stomaching anxiety related to my professional future. Adding a few more layers to this cake, I also had a massive to-do list on my plate. I knew that I needed to change my attitude, which at the time was overly pessimistic, and muster the energy necessary to make the most out of my time.
The list below are the practices I employed to successfully change my day from dull and groggy to inspired and productive. I hope that you give them a try!
1. Wake up early and get moving.
The first thing I did was wake up earlier than usual. I noticed that my body was groggy, so I went for a walk to the nearest coffee shop. Waking up early and walking down the busy Chicago streets not only gave me the fresh air I needed, it also provided a natural burst of energy that started slowly improving my mood.
2. Drink coffee and put your mind to work.
Nested within the high-quality caffeine atmosphere, I went to work. I wrote letters, essays, and dissertation sections that required my attention, and then I ran to a downtown meeting. By this point, I still had an aura of frustration following me around, but I felt the momentum I needed to establish a baseline of productivity.
3. See a therapist to process feelings.
Next, I saw my therapist. As a life coach and licensed therapist myself, engaging in my own therapy is vital to my continued personal growth and is an action aligned with my values of self-development. This therapy session allowed me to take all of my feelings--the superficial ones I recognize, and the deeper ones I realize through discussion--and externalize them. Releasing that emotional energy created a sense of relief, in that I felt physically lighter and more grounded afterwards.
4. Exercise to release endorphins.
After the mental, emotional, and psychological workout, I decided to get my body involved. I went to the gym. Lifted weights. Rode the bike. And all of those activities continued to re-align and re-energize my mind and body. I felt inspired to continue working in the afternoon--not with the lackluster focus of yesterday, but with the laser precision of someone passionate about squeezing the most out of each second.
5. Spend important moments with your family.
Later that evening, after an insanely productive afternoon, I went for a family walk with my partner and our dog, Sigmund. Yes, like Freud. Seeing the orange and pink pastels rejuvenated my hope for better days to come, and helped me feel more connected to people that I value. This walking support system helped me gain a better long-term perspective and let go of the attachments and expectations that created my anxiety in the first place.
6. Schedule time to relax.
During the latest hours of the day, I decided to do something else that I hadn't in a long time--watch Game of Thrones. This 50-minute escape from reality, which was incredibly entertaining by the way, was the final piece to an amazing day.
7. Break your usual routine.
All of this to say, break your routine. Try something different. Engage all parts of your being--your mind, your emotions, and your mind--into one dynamic movement forward. When you transcend monotony and work through the emotional barriers restricting your happiness, you can re-ignite your passion and transform a normal, boring day into something memorable.