My Day | Thoughts and Resources on Mindset
We all have routines, right? Busy schedules that influence our days and nights. I had one before becoming a parent. I knew that once children entered my world I would most likely lose freedom and flexibility. I am also a teacher, and my work day starts and stops according to the bell. I am needed by children in the mornings. I am needed by children all day long. I am needed by children in the evenings. What’s leftover for me? But it doesn’t stop me from seeing the opportunities. I practice choosing gratitude over disappointment when it doesn’t work out the way I wanted or expected. Because it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
I think much of this mindset revolves around understanding expectations. Get clear on what you want to have happen, give up what’s not serving you, and say, as they do in improv, “Yes, and…” I invite you to check out Tina Fey’s Rules for Improvisation that Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat* — ha! I love the way her experiences in comedy connect to life; “the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.” And although I also advocate saying yes more often, understand that when you are a yes in one area of your life, you are also no somewhere else. I wonder how this could apply to your work/life balance. Leave a comment below and we’ll chat!
Before I can share my routine, I want to first share how I practice managing my mindset and expectations. I emphasize “practice” because I don’t always get it right. Which is why forgiveness is my number 1. Give yourself some grace and space for imperfection.
Forgive yourself for not getting it right all the time — Just do your best. If you are truly showing up day after day and doing your best work then there is nothing to feel bad about. And if you’re not doing your best? Simply acknowledge it and resolve to do better starting RIGHT NOW. Nothing here to fix, because nothing here is broken.
Be aware of what you consume — Whether it’s social media, food, information, gossip, clothing — What are you consuming? How does it impact you, both positively and negatively. Me? I shop when I am unhappy. Instead of addressing why and where and how I am imbalanced - I buy something (Starbucks, a cozy cardigan, shoes) that offers temporary relief. Practice mindful awareness and you can begin learning how to bring real happiness into your life. Don’t band-aid the real issue. Get in the habit of noticing and wondering - get curious about your habits and reactions. Tune in to what brings you JOY so that you may respond better.
Make clear agreements — Be impeccable with your word. Act with integrity. This book was first introduced to me at yoga teacher training. If you say you’re going to do something, do it! If you cannot keep that word, be honest and upfront and make a new agreement. I try not to make promises to my children, my students, my husband I cannot keep. And in the moments I cannot keep my word, I acknowledge it, ask for patience, and make a new agreement. BE CLEAR with your language and your intention.
And I’ll be honest with you — I break my word a lot when it comes to the agreements I make to myself. I hustle for everyone else and put myself last on my own priorities list. Woof. Recently I have resolved to getting up at 5 am everyday just to ensure I get ONE hour alone. I have also told myself (and my family) that I have yoga class on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I want to treat this the same way I respect how committed I am to getting my daughter to Theater class on Wednesdays and Ballet on Saturdays.
Personal Growth — Is necessary and AWESOME. Take time to learn. To evolve. To reach for more. I am constantly looking for ways to grow my mindset. I also go to therapy (also awesome). My current favorite writers who speak wisdom right into my soul are Brene Brown (Rising Strong) and Rachel Hollis (Girl, Wash Your Face). Follow people who light you up, listen to Podcasts, read or listen to some amazing and profound books, or go to a conference. Some of my Instagram favorites who inspire me with their lifestyle, message, business savvy, and art: @mamawaters @morganharpernichols @natalieborton @erinwitkowskiphoto. This brings me back to “Be aware of what you consume.” Surround yourself with the inspiration you are craving. Unfollow/Unfriend relationships that are not serving you (on the internet and in life).
“Give up what you must” — A phrase from my yoga practice, Baptiste’s Journey into Power. The spirit of the practice is POSSIBILITY. If you fall out of a pose, it means you tried for something… on the mat and in life. This connects to my earlier thoughts on managing expectations and looking for opportunities often clouded by smokescreens like a busy schedule. “I’m too busy” is a lie I often tell myself. “I’m tired” is another. Smokescreens are excuses I’ve turned into reasons why I can’t do x, y, or z. And everyday I practice giving up these lies. The biggest lie I give up is that my voice doesn’t have value and isn’t worth being heard. Can you believe this lie, this fear, defined me for much of my life? The moment I recognized it for the nonsense it is I embraced my new way of being—POWERFUL. Friends, this blog is my call to action.
My best advice on mindset is ultimately to practice being present wherever you are. Wake up early to claim your alone time; drink your hot coffee, savor the stillness, the quiet; meditate and daydream. If you commute, listen to Audible/podcasts/music. When you are at work, be at work. Commit to doing all you can while you are there and then… leave it there! I have a very strong boundary on this. I do not bring work home. Not ever. I am thorough, organized, and productive at work because I am so firm on this. It also aligns to my educational philosophy as an educator.
Do your work at work. When you’re home, be home.
Get your children involved in household duties as much as possible (clean up, cooking, etc.). Play! Explain everything your doing and why you’re doing it to your children (great for language acquisition and for understanding purpose). In the moments when you’d rather do something alone, offer calm, quiet work — an invitation to play — to the kids. Coloring/scissors/glue sticks/googly eyes + their favorite music is my go-to. If your child says, “mom, play with me!” and those dishes in the sink can wait (and they can)— say “YES!” Once the kiddos are in bed, work with your partner to finish up house stuff, talk, pour a glass wine, snuggle, get frisky, watch a movie, play a board game.
Whatever it is you’re doing - be all there.