If there’s one thing I’m intimately familiar with (for better or worse), it’s being in a funk.
In general, I am a deeply emotional and highly sensitive person. I find it difficult not to get swept up in my imagination, which that tends to steer me in a direction of negativity when left unchecked.
I can also end up in full-blown autopilot mode if I don’t actively drive my own life. Before I know it, I find myself on the couch for the second (or third) week in a row, I haven’t spoken to anyone I love in days, and I’ve done just the bare minimum to get by.
There are lots of ways to combat this, and reading more about my Enneagram type has been incredibly helpful for uncovering my behavior tendencies (if you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, I highly recommend taking a free online quiz and digging in to your own personality type!).
What I’ve learned over time and with practice is that for me to keep myself afloat, it’s of upmost importance to create and follow through with daily structure that focuses on health and meaningful productivity.
Now, meaningful productivity may mean something different for everyone, but for me it’s doing something that helps me feel like I am driving forward in my personal life, career or marriage. It’s following through with a small goal that involves a bit of work, some creativity, and a fair amount of bravery to fight off the voice that tells me ‘just put this off til tomorrow.’
The best way I’ve found to keep myself structured is by beginning each day with a 30-minute morning routine.
Why? Because it starts my day on the right foot forward and with a feeling of positivity. It also kicks off my practice of telling that nagging and negative internal voice to fuck right off, which makes it easier to continue to do so throughout the rest of my day.
Without my morning routine, I tend to feel lost and aimless. But when I take part in it–especially when I don’t feel like it–I feel so much more in control of where my life is heading. Not to mention I just feel so much better overall.
And it’s not fancy, y’all! There are no ritualistic hymns or candles. All I need is time, a paper and pen, and a little bit of quiet.
It looks like this:
I wake up, drink a tall glass of water, and do 20 minutes of guided mindfulness meditation (I use the Waking Up app by Sam Harris).
Then, I write down 5 simple yet palpable things I am grateful for. Rather than writing down something general like ‘my health’, which is elusive and doesn’t evoke any sort of meaningful feeling state, I recall little things that recently happened that I can feel back into, like ‘having a good snuggle with Ramona on the couch last night.’
After I write each one, I sit with it for a moment and allow it to elicit feelings of ease or joy or contentment.
After that, I think of one small yet achievable goal I want to accomplish that day. I write it down, and I either get started on it right away or I add it to my day’s calendar so it’s set in stone. This is usually something I’ve either been putting off for a while or that I’m slightly intimidated about doing (today’s, for example, is ‘publish my morning routine article’), and I make sure it’s always something that will help me feel like I am contributing to the forward motion of my life.
It’s so quick and simple, you guys. But the impact it has on the rest of my day is nothing short of tremendous. I find that I can stay on track with the other items on my to-do list without getting bogged down by procrastination or laziness. I can also better recognize when I’m beginning to give myself a hard time (aka starting on the downward spiral to Funktown), and I catch it so much quicker than if I were to just simply go through the motions of my day.
The reason for these incredible benefits is intention.
Beginning the day with active intention is the best way to get and keep yourself out of an icky feeling state.
So if you feel like you need something simple to ground you and keep you off of your emotional hamster wheel, give my morning routine a try!
Do it just 7 days in a row, and I guarantee you will start to feel more positive, more productive, and more at ease overall.