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  • Writer's pictureSteph

How to have a great day - channeling resilience

Updated: Jun 7

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Good morning! (Or is it?)

"Life is just so daily," are the wonderfully perfect, wise words of Dick Sattler illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit. Some days are awesome, some days are challenging, and many days are in between. How can we find joy, grace, self-compassion, and resilience in all scenarios?

We savor the good times. With empathy, we embrace the common humanity that on some days and in some seasons of life, it is a mighty challenge to greet the day - especially if you are in a job that doesn't fit or if you are actively looking for work. Personal and professional obstacles can come up and by honoring their validity, we can fuel our dreams with self-care, take breaks to recharge, get help from supportive resources, and strategize ways to persevere to create the life we want - and deserve!

As an athlete, I talk a lot about Championship Mindset. It's about cultivating a sense that good things are possible, and we can incorporate this over our morning coffee. It's not Pollyanna thinking nor does it negate tough stuff we may be dealing with; instead, it's a mindset that channels tools like resiliency, optimism, and a bias to action while surrounding ourselves with support and positive influences.

Here are a few ways to make your day a little easier.

Do something enjoyable before you start work

Want to know one driving reason why I'm passionate about coaching and consulting? It's because I personally know what it is like to have a work situation that is so challenging it affects you at the core of your being from the moment you wake up - and, I don't want anyone to experience that. I'm here to tell you that it CAN get better and whether it's a work situation or something in your personal life.

One transformative strategy is to do something for yourself before starting the workday - this is a great practice if you have an external job and especially if you are a parent (doubly important if you're in both camps). Before you say you don't have time, the enjoyable thing you choose can be any size, big or small, and it can change on different days.

The goal is to feel true to yourself, first, before you have to share your day with others and especially if you are in a work situation where you have limited control. It gives you something to look forward to in the morning and helps to set a relaxed, grounded tone for the day.

Here are some creative options to consider:

  • Exercise/movement for any length of time, even 5 minutes, to jumpstart endorphins and improve mood

  • Enjoy a favorite breakfast or cup of tea

  • Practice mindfulness meditation, such as with one of my favorite morning meditations, and the very first guided meditation I listened to(!) from the free app, Insight Timer

  • Listen to great music - Check out my new Spotify playlist for inspiration in the morning or any time of day

  • Spend time with your pet or chat up your neighbor's dog on your walk

  • Paint, draw, or color before work

  • Journal it out before you start the day

  • Research your next weekend getaway to have something to look forward to

  • Indulge in a hot shower with your favorite aromatherapy soap or shampoo

  • Watch something funny for a few minutes before opening your inbox

  • If you're craving some learning, choose from thousands of free courses on Coursera or LinkedIn Learning (available with Premium) over brekkie

  • Read motivational quotes or listen to a chapter on an audiobook platform

Cultivate gratitude as a way to find inner peace

So okay. We can all agree on the power of gratitude, but how often do we actually do it? The first time I started this intentional practice, I was in a tough job situation and took the challenge of writing 3 things I was grateful for each night before bed for 21 days, along with other supportive and strategic things to better my situation. It definitely helped. For me, it took me out of my current mindset of what was going on in my life and gave my overtaxed system a break - it allowed me to put something sweeter into my mind during those few minutes. I also had an easier time falling asleep, which made it easier to wake up the following morning.

Reflecting on things we're grateful for (and especially the act of writing them down) is a scientifically proven way to rewire our brains to cultivate positive emotions. It trains us to notice things that are going well, rather than to see only things that aren't. I've continued this habit in the morning and evenings to bookend my days. Here is one of many articles explaining how beneficial this is for our health & well-being. Many of the superstar clients I coach enjoy this journaling exercise as a way to refocus.

If this sounds unattainable, you might want to experiment with sending a thank you note to someone who did something kind, texting or calling a friend to tell them how much you appreciate them, or sending an email to a colleague who makes your days brighter.

Catch some Zzzz's to make waking up easier

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the game-changing influence of sleep. We live in a culture where it seems to be a misguided badge of honor to brag about how little sleep we're getting. The recommended target amount of sleep is 7-9 hours per night, and research shows women can benefit from the higher end of that. It might surprise you to know that athletes build sleep into their training regimens because rest, muscle growth, regeneration, and energy benefits are so vitally important.

How do you feel after a great night's sleep compared to grabbing a handful of hours or tossing and turning? We can all agree the wake-up experience is dramatically different.

When we are stressed, often our sleep habits are first to take a hit. In fact, one of the things I talk about with new clients is how much sleep they are getting. Why?

  • Our amount and quality of sleep profoundly affect the lens through which we see the world, and how we view our capabilities and possibilities

  • Sleep directly influences our mood, motivation, and strategic patience

  • Restorative sleep gives us energy, stamina, and resilience in our goals

  • Creative solutions and resourcefulness - key ingredients to creating the life you want - are more accessible with consistent sleep

  • Being well-rested gives us an advantage for complicated, emotional tasks (AKA a job search) - we also bring better energy to interviews

The good news is that sleep hygiene is totally doable and the payoff is huge. Remember; sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. You don't have to earn a good night's sleep - you deserve to rest simply because you're human. If you have an extenuating circumstance or life stage (shoutout to all of the parents, and especially moms, reading this) you deserve great sleep even more.

I can personally relate to the desire and struggle for great sleep. Here are some great ideas to start with, and I'm also adding some of the things that have helped me the most. As always, this is general information and is not intended as medical advice. Everyone's personal situation is unique, keep trying things and find what works for you.

Steph's favorites:

  • The research is true - getting outside in the sun in the morning supports our circadian rhythms and makes it easier to sleep at night

  • Exercise/movement of any kind (especially early in the day) helps with improved sleep

  • Sticking to the same wake-up/bedtime schedule even on weekends can feel inconvenient, but can be very helpful

  • Dimming the lights in the evening close to bedtime and limiting or stopping screen time for at least an hour (or more) helps to naturally signal it's time to wind down (by contrast, the blue light in our phones/TVs keeps our brains awake)

  • Having dinner earlier gives us time to digest between eating and sleeping

  • Enjoy pleasant, calming tasks before bed - typically, I encourage job search tasks to take place at other times during the day/week and not right before bed; it's too activating for our mental energy

  • Creating a nighttime routine that involves a true wind-down such as a calming bath or shower, reading, doing a puzzle, gentle yoga, or home care that can be meditative such as ironing or doing the dishes can shift our minds toward sleep

  • Focus on quality of sleep at first, then approach length while showing yourself tons of self-compassion and kindness

There are so many more! Keep trying new things to see what works for you. And, a special note to moms - we understand things are different, for example, if you're a new mom or working parent outside the home.

Compassionate bonus: all of us deal with worrying before bed from time to time. Here is a great article on why anxiety tends to show up at night and how to find calm.

Your best day could be today

You are not alone if mornings require extra effort, and we send good luck vibes and extra applause for all the things you're doing to chase your dreams.

Keep finding ways to make waking up easier and doing things during the day to support your goals. The effort will pay off with increased fulfillment, prosperity, and contentment.

We're all rooting for you!

Keep going, and let's make it an amazing day.

What lies behind us and what lies before us

are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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