As the years fly by, I’m learning to value my time and strive for peace of mind. What we do day after day eventually becomes second nature. Because of this, I want to be intentional about what I allow to become a habit. Repeating, backtracking, and being unorganized drains me, and these are the very reasons daily practices work. To get you thinking, I’m sharing 7 practices to keep you thriving.
7 Practices To Keep You Thriving
1. Take something with you.
Clutter quickly changes my motivation. Don’t get me wrong. I love a collection as much as anyone. However, clutter is a completely different beast. I’m talking about shoes, coffee cups, towels, junk mail, you get the idea. All of the “stuff” that seems to just show up all around the house. As you move from one place to another, take something with you. Use that free hand to move something to its designated place. This works whether you are getting out of your car at the end of a commute or simply walking from the bedroom to the kitchen. Always try to take something along!
2. Be still.
In this busy world, silence is rare and can be unsettling. Being still used to make me feel guilty and unproductive. There is always something telling us there is one more item that cannot wait. The good news is, most of it can wait and you will be better for it if you take the time to be still. This may be five minutes at first, but once you experience the space, those 5 minutes will become more. No, you do not have to give this a name. It is simply time to be silent. Meditation, prayer, or reflection can all take place during this time, but there is no requirement. Once this becomes a practice, you will find it is what you need and it will name itself. This practice will become essential and will keep you thriving.
3. Ask for what you want.
This is still a tough one for me. My instinct has always been compliance and following the script. I never really thought much about it until the world shifted in 2020. I had a full-time job that required all of me every day. There was not much time to ask for what I wanted much less think about what that might be! Now that I am allowing myself to “drive” I am discovering what I really love (and hate). If I want something, I ask for it or go try it. The worst answer I could hear is no and how bad could that be? As somebody has said, “If you don’t ask, you won’t know”. So, practice asking for what you want.
4. Read something every day.
I’m not one to set time restraints on many things. Reading is certainly one of those things that will create its own timeline. Depending on what we read, our brain is stimulated, our vocabulary grows, and we become more in tune with others and their life experiences. Where else do we have the freedom to choose what we want, ditch it if it is no good, and pick it up for any amount of time?
Reading simply has no negative markers. I read the Bible nearly every morning and often find myself jumping from one chapter to the next because of the deep wisdom and grace it offers. It is a practice that keeps me thriving and also one I quickly miss when the habit is broken. Other times I read anything by Charles Martin and have recently discovered Kristin Hannah; her historical fiction will be keeping me distracted for quite some time. Books bring adventure, joy, reflection, imagination, knowledge, and a great escape from this unpredictable world.
5. Create margin for yourself.
We don’t need a lot all the time, but we need margin. I’ll be honest and tell you this is new for me. I went many years without margin and I began to feel the effects both mentally and physically. Daybook is my margin time. A time to create, daydream and step away from the day-to-day. We have to be intentional about building rest into our lives. The time is there, we must decide how we use it. Without margin, life becomes a suffocating checklist, not a life well-lived.
6. See things through other's eyes.
Waiting in line at the store with only one cashier, watching a neighbor’s grass grow knee-high, or hearing someone continue to complain can all be times when I could become irritated. When there is absolutely nothing I can do to change a situation, I try to choose the kind thing. This not only calms my spirit but also offers time to think about why this situation exists. Maybe someone called in sick, a job was lost, or someone is struggling with a life change. No matter the reason for the situation, let’s choose kindness and practice patience with each other. You are guaranteed growth from this practice. Life is hard for everyone but a small practice of kindness will keep you and others thriving.
7. Use a calendar and write it down.
The yearly repeat feature in my calendar and my bedside notebook are priceless. Up until this year, I have written in an organizer. I had every appointment and date penciled in. After I left teaching, I realized I didn’t have as much to juggle (I am discovering margin!) so I switched to the calendar on my phone. I have important dates such as birthdays and holidays set to repeat every year. As a bonus, my calendar/phone is always with me so I can quickly add an event. I can even color coordinate everything so my creative side still gets to be involved. The features are there so why not use them!
Can I just tell you that a bedside notebook (tablet, journal, post-it pad…whatever works for you) is life-changing? You may not be one to roll over at night and jot down a thought, but knowing where this notebook is at all times is a game-changer. Trusting myself to remember everything was and still isn’t the best idea. I write down to-do lists, blog ideas, gardening needs, quotes, and often just journal my thoughts. I started this when my kids were little. They were changing and doing so much so quickly and I didn’t want to forget anything. At that time I was overwhelmed as many new moms are so I just wrote things down…randomly. I wrote funny things my kids would say, when they lost certain teeth, what a doctor prescribed, tracked fevers and symptoms and the list goes on.
Now that they are in their 20s I do not need to do this as much (or shall I say, the topics have changed). However, glancing through my daily journals from years past makes me smile or cry…depending on the day. So, get a notebook, find a place for it to remain, and write everything down! This is a practice you will thank yourself for when you stop and realize you are thriving!
A Bonus Practice To Keep You Thriving
Just for fun and certainly for freeing ourselves from the “expected”, I will add a bonus practice. The number 8 practice to keep you thriving is “wear the hat”. Choose what you like and go for it. Whether it is a hat or any other form of expression, don’t let the world tell you no. Too many times I have shied away from wearing or doing what made me feel good because of what I thought were others’ opinions. The reality is that you encourage others when you are your true self. Wear the hat, cut your hair (or grow it long), or paint your front door your favorite color. You will inspire the world to do the same. What do you practice to keep you thriving?