Daily Practices that Improve your Life
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Let me share with you ten daily practices that improve your life and make it better. These are things I focus on anytime I feel stuck or when I need a change of pace.
Life can be an incredible journey filled with special moments, beautiful places, and challenging but rewarding experiences. Or, the days can pass you by in a blur, until the weekend hits and you haven’t much energy left to go on any grand adventures. The choice is yours, you know. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it today but you are the one who decides whether you do this again tomorrow, or you implement some of these daily practices that improve your life and make it better. Don’t sell yourself short; you are capable and absolutely have the potential to do something amazing with your life. A life you never thought possible.
Building habits that improve your life and make you look forward to your day
There was a time in the not so distant past where I snoozed through two alarms, slowly dragged my butt out of bed, proceeded to work a full day, only to return home to a quick dinner and flop on the couch to watch Netflix until I would retire to bed. So that I could do it all over again.
Don’t get me wrong, we all have days where we didn’t get enough sleep, or had a particularly challenging time at work. We’re only human after all. These days still happen on occasion- usually when I have a ton other things going on. However, there are a few key habits that have contributed to me finally feeling like I am living my life more fully, with intention. While some of these following practices can feel like a chore while you are getting started, if you know that it’s going to suck while you build the habit for a few weeks, it’s doable from there.
With a combination of these habits and a number of passion projects that I’ve been super excited about lately, starting my day is something I look forward to. Even if I sometimes have trouble turning my brain off at night; I have tactics to deal with that too.
Daily Practices that Improve your Life and Make it Better
This list isn’t reflective of my everyday life. It’s my ideal every day, for a better life. You’ll notice that I share my story to along with each of the following practices I share. I wanted to share my experience with you so you can imagine what it might be like to incorporate these habits into your own life.
Get a Good Sleep for a Better Day
I ‘m one of those people that if I wake up with 6 hours of sleep, I feel sleep deprived UNTIL I get a full 7-8 hours of sleep. If I am feeling behind on sleep, it’s pretty much on my mind until I make up for it. I will actually prioritize dedicating a night to catching up because it’s so beneficial for me. …and everyone else doomed to interact with me that day. Muahaha!
On days where I plan to catch up on sleep, the planning process starts earlier in the day rather than when I am ready for bed. Once I get home from work I will set up my evening so I can be in bed just after 9:00 pm, usually (I wake up for work at 5:45 am).
Depending what time I get home it might mean having an easy dinner, and tackling a few quick chores instead of watching a show before bed. I make it known to my hubby that I’m going to bed early that night so he can plan to come to bed long after I’m asleep (I don’t want him to wake me up). Once dinner and chores are finished, if there’s time we will go for a walk. If not, I like to have a quick shower before bed. I shower in the mornings so this is either to rinse off if it’s been warm out so I can feel fresh for bed, or to crank the heat on the shower for a couple minutes so I can get my body nice and warm. Of course I am not a doctor, so do this at your own risk, but I just LOVE a hot shower before bed. It makes me feel super cozy when I put my pajamas on.
Finally, after a shower, but at least half hour before I actually want to go to sleep I will get set up in bed with a book and some sleepytime tea. I love to read but if I am tired it doesn’t last long before my eyelids are getting heavy. Once I notice I’m starting to fall asleep I take full advantage by putting everything away and going to sleep as soon as I can.
The next day starts off on the right foot and I feel well-rested so I can tackle anything that gets thrown my way.
Drink Lots of water
This may be a weird one but it makes me feel really in-tune with my body. It helps flush toxins and keeps me hydrated. Also, it helps clear my skin and not feel hungry as often. That’s actually an important factor since I’m a habitual snacker. Drinking a healthy amount of water is an important self-care practice that keeps me feeling good. I mean, its a ‘physical health’ thing technically, but for me it is also the psychological aspect of knowing that I am taking care of myself, which makes such a difference for me. This may sound dramatic but when I have been drinking lots of water I eat better and I feel like I have my life under control.
While I enjoy both guided and unguided meditation, I prefer guided meditation using a phone app. I use it as a tool to be in-tune to my mental health and to manage the hard days. On a good day, I will meditate for 1-2 periods of ten minutes.
My favourite way to meditate would be to do ten minutes of guided meditation using the Headspace app upon waking. I’ll also use the Headspace app for winding down to sleep. By the time the ten minute session is over, I am usually asleep, so I am grateful that it shuts off automatically. If I am running late in the morning and don’t have time to dedicate to sitting and meditating, I will do some self-guide meditation if possible. I will usually only revert to self-guided meditation if I am feeling particularity anxious or stressed, mostly because I especially feel like I need a guided session but don’t have the time.
Taking the time to meditate provides for this “after meditation” time where I get to acknowledge that I set that aside time for me and only me. This always sets me up for a good day. Another bonus about meditation is that you don’t need to put workout clothes on or sit in any particular pose. Honestly, I roll myself out of bed, brush my teeth, sip on a glass of water and curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket, and then I sit there for ten minutes and relax (meditate) before I really even have to start my day. It sounds pretty great all of a sudden, doesn’t it?
It sounds like other meditation apps work well too, but I like Headspace because I enjoy the narrators voice and it also has ten free sessions. I would support paying for the subscription if you think you would used the themed sessions, but the free sessions are good enough for me.
Taking advantage of those few moments after meditating will have a positive impact on your day.
Once the meditation session has finished I take a moment to sit. Like 30 seconds really, not much at all. But it’s really important. During this time I take a look around, listen, feel, smell, and have a couple deep breaths. You can expect to feel different that usual…this is completely normal. I notice how grateful I am to have all I do. Then I realize that the little things are just little things and I decide that today is a great day to have a great day. Finally, I contemplate other practices that improve your life and make it better on a regular day. I don’t mean drinking more water, I mean what I have in my life that makes my life meaningful.
There’s a list I have curated of what adds meaning to my life and refer to it regularly. You should do the same. How can you expect more of these things in your life unless you prioritize thinking about them more often. This is my favourite time to contemplate what makes my life worthwhile and enjoyable for me.
“today is a great day to have a great day.”
Actively Commute to Work or Carpool
It did take some time to build the routine of actively commuting to work, including a few weeks of gaining confidence and getting into the swing of riding next to vehicles. Once I began to commute to work by bike more regularly, I found the exercise and the identity of being someone who commutes to work by bike to be very fulfilling.
I was choosing to work my body and minimize how much I drive my vehicle, therefore reducing the environmental impact, and costs associated fuel with maintenance.
I’m not immune to the desire for convenience and on days that hubby and I don’t want to bike, or when the weather is bad, we don’t think twice about carpooling to work. And honestly, sometimes we go weeks without biking. In absence of actively commuting to work, I can fill my spare time working on side projects from my laptop until hubby picks me up on the way home. I feel good about carpooling even if I choose not to actively commute.
Go for a Walk on your Lunch Break
Walking is something I do to ensure I get some “me” time during my day at work. As an introvert, my best creativity and problem solving comes from quiet time to reflect. So, taking the time on a walk often increases productivity for me at work. However, sometimes I want to use my break to decompress or not think about work at all.
For times like this I am VERY tempted to watch Netflix for a full hour on my break, but I’m usually pretty good at fitting in a good walk if the weather is decent. I’ve built a route that I can walk in the time I have allotted for lunch, generally 45 minutes to an hour. So for where I work, I can generally walk over to the waterfront, walk along the seawall, back up around the cruise ship pier and loop around to the office. This is a good amount of time to listen to a full podcast episode or two as well.
Where I work downtown also has a bank, grocery store and library within walking distance, so there’s a lot of opportunity to run errands and get my walk in if I don’t want to do the full hour walk.
Listen to my Favourite Podcasts
This goes hand-in-hand with going for a walk on my lunch break. I have a number of podcasts that I subscribe to which automatically show up in my playlist each week. Maybe even too many. My favourite time to listen to my podcasts is while on a walking break at work, on a walk from home, or cooking and doing chores around my house.
My absolute favourite time to listen to podcasts used to be during my long commute to my old job, but I don’t drive to work alone anymore, so no podcasts in the car for me! If I took transit I would listen to podcasts then too for sure. For me listening to podcasts is like the better version of listening to the radio, watching a documentary, or reading a book.
It’s like a wonderfully inspiring conversation with your best friend. I hear a variation of the quote all the time on the ChooseFI podcast that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. This is actually such a great quote, but my point here is that by surrounding yourself with people whom you want to be like, you become more like them. The people I listen to in podcasts are mostly individuals that I would consider mentors in one regard or another. Most podcasts typically have the same hosts each week so you sort of feel like you are building a relationship with them just by listening, you begin to trust them. They feel like mentors that I share goals with, some financial, some health and psychology related goals, but all of them are inspiring to me. Further, as I take action on their words of advice or tips, I become empowered.
Shout out to some of my absolute favourite podcasts from around the world:
Podcasts make me more motivated and successful at reaching my goals, hands down.
Positively Contribute at Work
Being part of a Team
Being a part of a positive community, or a team, is known to boost morale and increase life satisfaction. It is worth while to collaborate with your team on your projects: run ideas past each other, get a second opinion, and really get to know the people you work with.
Either way, doing good work that contributes to the goal of your team will leave you feeling increasingly satisfied.
Doing Great Work: Contributing to Autonomy, Mastery, and Life Satisfaction
Try to engage in work that requires attention to detail, helping others, and problem solving. For me, I want to feel like a positive contributor to my team in creating great work. I also want to be trusted by my team to have good judgement while doing good work, which can provide for a bit more independence and control. Not only does it make me enjoy doing the work, I never dread a Monday and the days just fly by. Once my work is finished, I can go back to my family and all my other passion projects, full of energy and ready to go.
What we’re talking about here is the difference between going home after work and feeling like ordering takeout and watching TV all night, and wanting to get some extra chores done before the weekend, baking those muffins to use up the ripe bananas from last week and getting onto your laptop and hustling to reach your financial goals.
Feeling good about the work you do, and how well you do it hugely impacts your job satisfaction. But it also impacts the amount of energy you have left over at the end of the day. It’s the difference of being able to fill the rest of your time with great work as well (hobbies, family time, and side-hustles included).
I noticed a huge change when I switched jobs. My new job may have been closer to home but the workload was more than double. It was overwhelming and it took a few weeks for me to adjust and get back in control of my routine. I switched to working on my blog (side project) more in the mornings and immediately after I get off work to ensure I didn’t lose momentum. When I would go home and make dinner the evening could be my free time to do whatever I wanted. Usually to keep working on my blog, but also to have quality time with my husband or even go for a walk before bed.
When doing the aforementioned Great Work seems Impossible
If you read that last paragraph and thought that was something you could work with, excellent! You’re on the right track. But I know some will have read the above words and it made them feel hopeless, or stuck.
If you’re feeling stuck, know that you aren’t broken. You haven’t make a wrong turn. You’re capable and full of potential. You just need to switch something up to figure out what works best for you.
If the above section was a hard one for you, take the time to think deeper about it. Maybe you are too exhausted from your full time job. Or you need to plan a transition to a new job, or create your own opportunity over the next two years so that your full-time exhausting job doesn’t consume the better part of your next 30 years.
Find something that lights you up and figure out how to get paid for it.
I am grateful that went to university and into a field of work I enjoy. That means this blog is able to remain a passion for me, without needing to supplement my full-time income. But the opportunities are out there. You may need to dedicate some time to figuring out how to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. There has never been a better time to start an online business and create your dream job. A job where you are the boss, you work on what you are passionate about, and you get to work from wherever you like, during whatever hours you like. Every skill you need to become a blogger, you already have it, or you can get better with practice. Skills like perseverance, a personality or things you care about, storytelling, research skills, and willingness to learn. I’m not saying good bloggers or business owners don’t have a lot of skills they excel at, I’m just saying you don’t need them to start your business.
If you’re reading this and throwing your arms up exclaiming “I need to start a blog now so that in two years I can get the hell out of this crap job!” I recommend you take this course. It’s focused on developing a blog with profit at top of mind. You will have the tools you need to create a new source of income.
It’s not for everyone, but if this is something you have been dreaming of, start now. For many reasons making an income blogging and creating a successful blog improves with time, as it gets picked up and seasoned for SEO. Don’t expect to quit work next month, give yourself some time. There is huge potential for you to create your dream job where you pick the hours and work from anywhere you like.
If you’re feeling helpless, you need to hustle your way into new opportunity in your free time so that you DON’T have to be stuck feeling this way forever. If you’re feeling discouraged, let’s pause and keep this discussion going. You’re in control and have the power to improve your life and make it better.
Spend One-on-One Time with my Husband
This is time dedicated to checking-in, and connecting. Sure we watch shows together and eat together but this is more about building and maintaining our relationship. Your version of this may look different than mine, and that’s okay too. To me, connecting with my hubby looks like sharing hugs, telling each other about our current goals, what we learned at work today, what meal we’re craving, what adventures we want to have during the upcoming season, and share emotions about upcoming commitments. We also joke around, tease each other, and have intimate time together. To me its about being best friends and lovers, more than just sharing duties as husband and wife.
Stretching Before Bed
This one doesn’t take long; less than five minutes. I typically do a short circuit of stretches aimed at the whole body just to get myself feeling relaxed. Since I don’t always take the time to stretch after exercising (I know, so bad) this tends to keeps midnight leg cramps at bay.
I’ll generally start standing on a yoga mat (we keep one behind our couch in the living room, since we rent a small space). And you don’t need to wear any special clothes for this one either…pajamas are typically my outfit of choice.
Daily Stretching Sequence for a Better Life
- Start with your hands by your sides, stretching them out to the side until your palms meet, bringing them down to heart’s center. Stay here for a few deep breaths.
- Lean into a forward fold for a few more breaths
- Pull up to a half-fold, and then lower again as you breathe out
- Next I walk my hands out into a plank.
- For a few breaths, go back and forth between downward dog and the plank position. When I’m in the downward dog I focus on stretching out my calves. In the plank position I tend to drop my hips slowly and roll my head back slightly to enhance the stretch
- Roll back into downward dog. Stretch one leg behind you then bring it forward placing your knee by your wrist for about 30 seconds in half-pigeon pose on each side.
- Finally I’ll head into child’s post for about 30 seconds
- Reach your hands from side to side to get a good stretch on both sides.
This is another way to take a few minutes out of the day just for me and really helps me feel like I am caring for my body. It is really important to me because I always have lots going on in my mind and when I get busy I will occasionally prioritize my projects over traditional exercise like going to the gym. I also tend to snack more on convenience foods, so dedicating time for myself reminds me that keeping in-tune with my body is important and it keeps me focused on having a well-rounded lifestyle.
I truly value those close to me and I like to provide recognition when people have done something kind, helpful, thoughtful, etc. If hubby brings me coffee in bed, or switches over the laundry I started just because he noticed it was ready, I absolutely appreciate that and will thank him for helping out and being sweet to me. Never take this for granted- people don’t do stuff like this all the time because they are lazy, don’t care, don’t ‘notice’ or don’t want to. If I notice my husband did something when he didn’t have to, I always show him my appreciation. This type of gratitude is contagious, facilitates open conversation and mitigates resentment. It makes me feel lucky to have all that I have each and every day.
Also, expressing gratitude helps me realize that when something goes wrong, I can make it through because I know I am surrounded by so many great things in life. It’s in the little things every day that make your life better. Showing gratitude is hands down the difference between a happy person who sees problems as mini inconvenience and someone who becomes absolutely distraught by an unforeseen problem and thinks life is against them.
Okay, so I generalized. I know people go through periods where it may seem like everything is going wrong….lets consider those to be anomalies and therefore not applicable to my above comments. I’m basically talking about personality and mindset.
Incorporating these Practices Daily to Improve your Life
I know that not everyone will be able to successfully incorporate all of the above practices into their daily life, but even if you start by picking one or two items, try to build a habit. Perhaps you start with getting a good sleep, meditating and showing gratitude. Maybe you want to walk on your lunch break while listening to a new podcast. Or maybe you just want to drink more water. You do you.
I truly believe that adding any of the above daily practices will improve your Life and Make it Better
I’d love to hear in the comments below if you have a daily practice that improves your life and makes it better. If you received value from this post, please take the time to share it with your friends and family. It means the world to me.