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By Better Days Global, Jul 25 2019 09:24AM


“What nine months of attention does for an embryo forty early mornings alone will do for your gradually growing wholeness.” ~Rumi


We would likely all agree that manicures, baths, and cozy movie nights on the couch all fall under the umbrella of self-care. But I believe that it’s time—actually, beyond time—to go deeper and re-claim what self-care truly means. It’s also time to see self-care as imperative, and to move it from the lonely bottom of our to-do list and plant it firmly at the very top.


For me, self-care has become my fuel and my fire. When I claim time on my calendar on a regular basis for things like play, sister time, and self-reflection, I stay in connection with myself and the things I actually want to say yes and no to.


Self-care is about clearing out the cobwebs in my mind with daily journaling and going to the gym. It’s about telling my husband, “I can’t make dinner for us tonight, my love; I need to go and have some time alone and take a bath after a long day.” And doing so without guilt.


And the miraculous thing is, the more I claim time for myself, the more I overflow with generosity and patience for the people I love most. See how that works? The more I give to myself, the more I can give to others from a place of fullness.


We would never dream of driving cross-country without stopping for fuel, snacks, and water—or trying to make the drive on an empty tank. Yet we seem to think that we can keep pushing through our own exhaustion without consequences.


When I look back at my own journey from physically, emotionally, and spiritually falling apart, to reclaiming myself on all levels, I see it all began with a decision to stop caring so much about what others thought, and to make my own wellness, happiness, and voice priorities again.


I began to notice that when I gave myself permission to speak up for myself in the moment, even as my voice was shaking, I left the conversation with a sense of wholeness, without any lingering emotions that were not honored.


When I didn’t speak my mind, and held in my opinions and needs, I ended up at Best Buy yelling at the customer service manager because I had so much pent up sadness and anger from stuffing things down and being “nice.”


The more I was honest with myself about my self-care needs, the more I could be myself with those around me.


It all started over a decade ago. I had just dropped my son off at pre-school. As I sat in my car in front of the coffee shop where I had intended to work for a few hours, I found myself unable to get out of the car.


I felt the tears start bubbling up, but they weren’t quite ready to flow yet. After all, I didn’t really have anything to cry about, did I? My son was healthy, my husband loved me, we had a steady income from his job, and I had the freedom to create a business.


Our home was warm and furnished. We had friends and family to call on. Admittedly, my sister and mother were both thousands of miles away. And my best friends were on opposite coasts. But I’d thankfully found a few new friends to share the early motherhood journey with, and they were truly lifesavers for me. I’m sure I was that for them as well.


Yet, there I sat in my car, stuck in a fog of confusion, unable to step inside the coffee shop. All I could think was, “Who the hell am I now? Where did the me that I knew so well go? And who the hell am I about to become?”


That’s when the phone rang. It was my sister (i.e. divine intervention). She asked me how I was, and that’s all I needed to hear. The floodgates broke wide open and the waterfall of tears began.


“What’s wrong??? Are you okay???” she asked.


“Yes, no, yes… well, everyone is fine, I’m fine, it’s just…I don’t know what the hell I’m feeling… I’m just… sad.” There was some kind of relief in letting myself cry and saying it out loud. It felt like a valve that had been screwed on too tightly had suddenly been released.


I realized during our conversation that part of me had been hiding for a while. This was the part of me that had been letting go of who I was little by little. As I became a wife, a mother, a resident of a new state, and a homeowner, the parts of me that were used to more freedom, more expression, and less constraint in speaking my truth, began to emerge. And this part of me was pissed, hurt, sad, and ready to run.


But I knew that I couldn’t run back to who I was before I got married and became a mama. And I couldn’t run forward either because the ground in front of me had become uncertain; I didn’t know how I was going to step into all of these new roles while still maintaining a sense of myself. All of my attention was now focused on keeping another human alive, and being the wife of this man who was now my only family in this new place.


Instead of running, I just imploded, but it happened slowly, over time, so that I hadn’t noticed.


Over the last several years of hustling to build a business, raise a baby, and build a home, my body had taken a backseat to my brain and my to-do list. And now, at this very moment, after years of pain in my belly, and sheer exhaustion, my body was ready to be honored again.


Back in the car, my sister asked me the one thing that would shift the trajectory of my life: She asked me if I felt like going to a yoga class. She said she remembered a time in our lives when I was shouting my enthusiasm for yoga from the rooftops. And admittedly, it had been years since I stood at the top of my mat and held my hands in front of my heart.


After I stopped crying, I promised her I would get me to a class.


The very next morning I was in this gorgeous azure blue and gold studio that would become my anchor over the next two years.


I cried at some point during almost every yoga class for the next six months. And I slowly began to feel my body arrive in the moment again. I could feel the parts of myself that had been hiding begin to show up and talk to me on that mat. Each pose was slowly coaxing me back to myself, and molding me into the new self that I was becoming.


About six months into my new yoga habit, Deborah, my powerhouse yoga teacher, offered a six-month yoga teacher training intensive. Even though I had no desire to teach yoga, I felt an instant yes in my heart and body.


We met every other Saturday and every other Wednesday evening. This was the first time I committed to being away from my son on a regular basis. The guilt I spread on myself was thick, but I knew I had to do this. I knew it would be what I needed so that I could actually be present when I was home and give to my family in the way that they deserved.


One of the aspects of the yoga teacher training was to commit to doing yoga every day. More specifically, every morning. As the mama of a young kiddo who was still not committing to a regular sleep schedule, my morning sleep time was not something I was willing to give up.


But I trusted Deborah as my guide and mentor. She had taught me to connect with my body and emotions on a deeper level than I had ever considered before. Through movement, writing, and meditations, she showed me how to recognize my emotional triggers and to release my tension so that I did not hold it in my body for years to come (as I had been doing all of my life). So I begrudgingly decided that I was willing to try this morning yoga thing.


I thought, “I could give up five minutes of sleep and start there.” And that is exactly how it all started. The magic was born in those first five minutes.


I noticed something shifting for me during those first few days of my new morning commitment to be someone who wakes up a little earlier to move my body, meditate, and breathe.


I noticed that my patience level with my son was expanding. I noticed that the things I had normally found frustrating became amusing. I was more peaceful during transitions, and my son began to notice as well. Even at three to four years old, he told me I looked happy. That was all the motivation I needed.


Next, I committed to ten to fifteen minutes of this morning routine. And on days when my son woke up earlier, I began leaving out a little basket of toys and books that would occupy him while I finished. There were definitely mornings when he just needed me to hold him or cuddle. And that was just fine.


I realized that this was truly an evolving practice and that he wouldn’t be four years old forever. There was no use in getting rigid about something that was meant to help me find more peace and joy.


Over the next decade, my morning yoga turned into the Magic Morning Mindset because the more I practiced, the more I found that synchronicity, laughter, abundance, and much more began to arrive with ease and grace.


I believe this is true for everyone. If you’re looking to take better care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, the morning is where it starts.


Whether your morning mindset practice is short or long, includes yoga or dance, includes writing for an hour or for just five minutes, there’s always a benefit beyond the morning hours.


The way you start your day sets the tone for your day. Starting with the Magic Morning Mindset prepares you to be calmer, more joyful, more connected to yourself, and better able to voice your needs. By prioritizing self-care and putting it at the top of your to-do list, you’re telling yourself that your needs matter.



What is My MAGIC Morning Mindset?



M – Movement


A – Alignment


G – Gratitude


I – Intuition (or Intention)


C – Connection



How Can You Start?



1. First, set the intention that you want to create a three-step Magic Morning Mindset.



2. If you have a hard time waking up, commit to going to bed a bit earlier (even fifteen to twenty minutes will make a difference)



3. Decide what you want to do for your mind, body, and soul (you can find some ideas below).



4. Set yourself up for success—lay out a yoga mat the night before, or have your journal and a few pens ready. (I can’t tell you how many pens I’ve gone through over the years.)



5. Stay gentle by starting with five minutes.



6. Notice how you feel throughout the day after doing the Magic Morning Mindset practice.



Some Ideas To Get You Started


Mind


Write down your dreams.


Just write without editing, even if it feels really weird and you’re writing nonsensical words. Just write.

Write ten to fifteen I AM statements: ex: I am committed, I am loved, I am happy, I am light.

Write any thoughts or ideas floating around in your mind until you feel lighter. Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.


Body


Put on your favorite song and dance.


Do three to five yoga sun salutations.

Stretch and move any way that feels good in your body.

Do some push-ups and jumping jacks until you feel warm in your body.

Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.


Spirit


Sit quietly for three to five minutes just noticing your breath.

Choose a guided meditation.Meditate any way that feels good to you (there are countless resources).

Start with even one minute of stillness and see how it feels. Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.



As with all new things in life, you may feel excited about starting your morning with some magic at first, but then find you have less time on some days than others. Over the last decade of practicing this Magic Morning Mindset, I’ve had long stretches where I’ve felt fired up and have woken up early enough to enjoy a luxurious sixty to ninety-minute morning practice. But on some days, I’ve only been able to squeeze in five to ten minutes.


I can feel the difference in my day when I choose to invest more time in my morning. But I don’t give myself a hard time when it has to be shorter. The secret sauce is to stay open and flexible, and to take it one day at a time.


As long as you are showing up for yourself in some meaningful way each morning, you are saying yes to your wellness and your joy, and staying connected with yourself.


Make this practice your own and notice the changes in your day and in your life as you prioritize your own needs and get you back on the top of your to-do list.


By Elena Lipson



By Better Days Global, Jan 5 2018 06:01PM


Striking a balance between work and personal life isn’t easy, but it is extremely important to most of us. In fact, a strong reason why many employees stay with their employer is for work-life balance.

It’s proven that those with a better work-life balance, feel more fulfilment and are usually happier. You are more likely to feel in control of your life because you have choices as opposed to being forced to make sacrifices. You’re also likely to be less stressed and as a result be healthier, both mentally and physically. So, if you are feeling stressed or overworked, there are a number of changes you can consider to better your work-life balance.



Maintaining a work-life balance is about separating your personal and professional lives without allowing one to encroach upon the other. Both are important, neither should be neglected.



There are five main reasons why you absolutely must maintain a healthy work-life balance.



1. To maintain your mental health



It’s unfortunate that not all employers place enough importance on mental health in the workplace.

But the topic is really prevalent at the minute, as studies show the dangers and risks that could lead to a variety of issues, from stress-related illnesses to depression. A very common issue that you may have heard about is burnout. This occurs when immense pressure is put onto a person, culminating in “chronic stress.” That stress could be caused by a variety of things, from outrageous workloads (and no work-life balance) to simply not feeling valued for the hard work you do. If you do notice that you have been acting out of character lately then it may be time to start assessing your work-life balance or speaking to a professional.



2. To ensure your physical health and wellbeing



And, as the old adage says: healthy body, healthy mind… so a great way to maintain your mental health is to ensure that you are physically feeling healthy too. That includes regular exercise and eating healthy but also not overdoing it at work! Perhaps money can buy happiness in certain circumstances, but if you spend all of your time working or thinking about work then it’s more than likely that it won’t. (Yes, there are some exceptions obviously). Worse still, the stress caused from such a lifestyle can lead to other physical issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s just not worth it.



3. It increases productivity



Your company wants employees who are hard-working and productive. And staying for unnecessarily long hours at the office might make you feel like you are contributing a lot to the office; however the quality of work is probably worse… making the effort much less productive. Studies reveal that those who maintain a steady work-life balance are much more productive than those who do not. A positive way of life automatically leads to amazing results.



4. Become a more rounded individual



If your life revolves around work, then you lose a lot of the other positive dimensions that make you attractive to employers (and other people). Having interests outside of work will increase and improve your skills and make you a more rounded and interesting individual. You’ll be able to share those experiences and knowledge with other people. This is seriously something that employers look for. That’s why you need to include a hobbies section on your CV and that’s why they ask what you enjoy doing in your spare time.



5. You only get one life



You only get one life, so live it to the fullest. Whatever happiness means to you, chase it. You don’t want to get years down the line and realise you missed out; time is something you can never get back.



What can you do, now?



Here are some tips to help you maintain a good work-life balance:



- Don’t shy away from taking some personal time off


- Always take your breaks


- Exercise is always a good option


- Going on holiday is a great idea


- Spend time with friends and family


- Don’t take work calls from home


- Get some real sleep


- Maintain a proper diet


- Continue to follow your own passions


- Turn off your phone



Think about who you are, what you want, and what’ll make you happiest. Although those things might change over time, as long as you’re always evaluating and understanding your own direction and goals, you’ll make better decisions. With your personal and professional goals set, decide what you need to do to hit those goals, their order of importance, and the amount of involvement they’ll need from you. Balance is what makes everything “feel right” and what makes everything work. Achieving balance in your own life means putting in the time and energy to hit your personal and professional goals, with an emphasis on balancing the 2. Find an equilibrium between elements like time, motivation, efficiency, willpower, energy, and honesty. This will enable you to remember that you are a human being not a human doing.





By Better Days Global, Sep 18 2017 01:16PM



Many people struggle with living and working. In this very constant quest to move up the ladder, fit into society and secure financial security, we often neglect the very life we currently have.


I once suffered from this conflictual nature. I was working so many hours with the impression that this was productive, without realising that I was sacrificing my very present life for an un-promised future desired life. I burnt out, became detached from who I am, and lost all sense of purpose outside of working.


Striking a balance between work and personal life isn’t easy when we take into account our busy schedules, lack of energy and constant external demand for our time and headspace, but it is extremely important. Having a healthy work-life balance can leave you feeling less stressed, more clear minded, less overwhelmed and happier. While it also improves your ability to work more efficiently, it's important to acknowledge its benefits on your actual life. You are more likely to feel in control of your life because you have choices as opposed to being forced to make sacrifices and feeling guilty about that which you have previously neglected.


I always come across many people who are adamant that they do not have time to create balance. This mindset is dangerous and it reaffirms the unconscious affirmation that you do not matter. If your life has become more busy than your own desire to live it, you're likely to become discontent and may find yourself working without purpose. Creating a healthy balance, scheduling in some You time, picking up a Jonnie, having true downtime is good for you. You’re also likely to be less stressed and as a result be healthier, both mentally and physically. So, if you are feeling stressed or overworked, there are a number of changes you can consider bettering your work-life balance.


Prioritise your Priorities


First, write down all of the things that are most important to you. Secondly, put them in order of importance. Now write down how much time each thing realistically requires per day. Lastly write out a daily schedule allocating adequate time to each thing. Note: You may not be able to do all things each day, so of this is the case, spread out the tasks and priorities over a few days so everything has it's sufficient place.


Do Not Over Commit


When we set small reachable goals, we increase our chances of success. Overcommitting sets us up for a failing end before we begin. Be realistic with how much you can healthily achieve in one day without compromising something else, and stick to that.


Simplify Your Priorities


Once you have organised your priorities, now you must simplify each task. For example: if you goal is to spend more quality time with your children, and to get fit, you can "feed two birds with one scone" by perhaps going for a walk with your child. This kind of simplification enables you to maximise on your time and ultimately frees up more.


Find the best way to do things and you'll soon realise that too busy is just a mindset. After all, what matters more than your wellness and life? Nothing.


This is not how your story ends;


Written By Steve Whyte



By Better Days Global, Aug 26 2017 06:52PM







Whether it is unconstructive habits, relationships, friendships or destructive commitments, there comes a time in life where in order for us to grow and step into our new self, we must let go. Letting go isn’t always easy as our branches get accustomed to holding onto seasonal plants and fruits, however, as the seasons change, the holding onto of out of season harvest can prevent and delay our new season and potential for new growth. Many times in life we come to points where we feel heavy, weighed down and overwhelmed by the plethora of commitments that we periodically carry. In these moments it is essential that we check ourselves and do somewhat of a life audit, filing the accounts of our wellbeing. The essentiality of this task is an understatement when we consider how quickly we habitually conform to unhealthy patterns of life.


As a keen gardener who lives in the countryside, I take great pleasure as I stand in my garden observing the lack of resistance within each plant and tree. Some know that they were annuals and that their cycle is coming to an end, some fear not as they are perennials and will be back next year, and some know they will keep their foliage amidst losing their flowers and unpicked fruit. I observe their patterns, their ability to grow throughout the summer as I prune, top and removed the dead heads. I liken this process to life itself. Sometimes we have dead situations that need trimming, sometimes we will be blessed with a new stem of hope, sometimes we will have to wait, but most of all, the season directs us as God permits.


Every year I witness the amazing act of the trees letting go, and every year it reminds me that not all things are for all seasons. This simple gesture of the plants turns my thoughts inward. Shifting winds blow away what is no longer needed. Nature is pruning, composting, and transforming life into what appears to be dormancy. I myself am compelled to let go in autumn. I am ready for stillness. I am ready for reflection. I am ready to wind down in the final quarter so I am at my best the moment before the buzzer sounds. My previous season prepared me for this moment and it is time to process. What destructive thoughts do you need to left go of? What commitment is preventing you from enjoying life? Where can you find balance? Are your branches too heavy?


It is easy to get caught in the melancholy of change. It is a strange place of unpredictability. When you file your report from your life audit, you may have to face some uncomfortable truths. Habitual mediocrity doesn’t look as harmful from branch levels. By stepping back and viewing the full tree, golden brown foliage sheds light on the conditions we have allowed out of perspective. Change isn’t comfortable, but when we resist, we experience the most discomfort. Remember in the midst of your metamorphosis that, it is in the art of letting go that new life is made possible. Those falling leaves are not perishing into the realm of nothing-ness; they are distilling into something that will fuel new growth and ultimately new life. Letting go means exposure, vulnerability, and a healthy dose of uncertainty. It means new things and we rarely know where new things lead. A new season requires a new mindset. When we change from thinking we need everything we have to realizing we have a plenty, it’s easier to let go. A new mindset will realign you and help you to be more accepting of what is, including some of the pain and dysfunction within your life.


I want you to know today that no matter how stuck you may be feeling, you can in fact transform into your greater self. God has a purpose in each season, and it is no coincidence that you are reading these very words right now. In the autumn, leaves fall from trees effortlessly. Following this cycle will allow you to connect with the will of God, to let go of whatever you can shed right now, without strain, resistance or struggle. The discomfort has its rewards, and you’ll see what your obedience and surrender did beneath the surface as you prepare for the awesomeness that is approaching in spring.


This is not how your story ends;


Written Steve Whyte

Twitter: @iamstevewhyte

www.iamstevewhyte.com

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