The hustle and bustle of raising families can blur days into diaper duty and homework in the blink of an eye. Life is unpredictable, changing, and surprising, but building days around a few simple keys can really change the quality of every day. When we choose to make a plan and stop reacting to everything that comes our way, we give ourselves an amazing opportunity to experience every day as awesome. As parents, there is the additional component of building a successful day for people who do not yet have the skills or understanding to make the best of every situation.
6 Tips to Make Today Excellent:
1. Get up before the kids
Having loved ones who are up by 6am can make this feel like crazy talk. However, starting the day by waking up to them starts us off in a reactive state. Imagine brewing a cup of coffee and taking 10 deep breaths before seeing those sweet faces. The whole day would be different. It can be accomplished by setting the alarm for 10 minutes before they get up. 10 minutes to change the landscape of the whole day is certainly worth it.
Whether it’s salsa dancing or hitting the CrossFit gym, take time to get your heart rate up. If the only opportunity to move is with kids in tow, offer to play tag with them at the park, run races in the driveway, or do a few sun salutations in the toy room.
There are many ways to learn to take longer, deeper breaths. Some of my favorite breath patterns are:
- 10 count inhale with 10 count exhale
- 5 count “box breathing” – Mark Divine’s box breathing is amazing. (If you aren’t familiar with Unbeatable Mind or Kokoro Yoga, check them out at unbeatablemind.com or their best-selling books by the same names. There are not enough amazing things to say about Mark Divine and Catherine Divine’s teachings.)
4. Make a hot minute for our spouse
Look each other in the eyes, give each other a kiss, take their hand and actually speak to one another for at least five minutes. We have created life with this person and we can build awesomeness together if we have intention.
5. Find silence
Even sitting quietly often has us experiencing rapid thought. Thought is not silence. Find a breath pattern or simple mantra that can help quiet the mind, become a witness, and connect to our true self. A couple of my go-to mantras are: “I will fill today with kindness, patience, and grace” and “God, my heart is open, and I am ready”.
6. Act with intention
If we know we have a busy day ahead at the office, make a plan for some deep breathing between meetings and determine three tasks that can contribute to achieving the overarching mission. If we are home with the kids, think of at least two activities to do together. Kids often thrive in routine and understanding what to expect. We can give them that with a little intention in our planning. At the end of the day, make bedtime consistent. Stop answering work emails, scrolling social media, and flipping through the channels. Our life is so much bigger than that and we need good rest to make tomorrow amazing.