It may seem like an insignificant thing—like, is throwing a quilt in the air and puffing up your pillows really gonna change your life? Well, it just might.
Mini acts of empowerment ground us.
Even when the world seems chaotic (you don’t really trust the government, your job doesn’t seem safe, the traffic seems to get worse by the week), tiny daily rituals not only provide us with comfort, they elevate the control we exercise over our own lives.
Because we have more power than we think.
1. Eat breakfast at an actual table.
Not a desk. Not your car seat. Not in a subway car or standing in line for the elevator. Do you think taking four minutes to actually enjoy that muffin or banana smoothie is too much to ask of yourself? Nooope. Eating too fast means you don’t value yourself enough to take a few minutes to consciously nourish that hard-working body of yours. Even just enjoying a tea or coffee counts too! Sit and munch or sip and appreciate, will ya?
2. Clean your screens.
When was the last time you lovingly swiped your phone or laptop with a lens wipe? Be kind to those always-on eyes that see more artificial lighting than can possibly be healthy. Those 10 hours a day you spend in front of screens will be that much nicer. And if you have a smashed phone screen, fix it. Your shattered glass is not a good look, no matter how justified the story. (I just replaced my smashed phone, and it did feel like go me! adulting.)
3. Declare an off-time (and I’m not talking about screens).
A friend of mine has two teenage kids, and she’s always running around after them. But now that they’re a little older, she’s promoting their independence and minimizing her level of servitude toward them. If she allowed it, her life would be a nonstop rave of, Mom, where’s my charger? Mom, where’s my jersey? or Mom, can I use the car on Friday, and I’ll need gas money oh and probably movie money…
So, at 8:30 p.m. every night, she has a hibiscus tea—which is how she punctuates being off the clock. When someone asks her for something, she smiles and holds up her teacup to indicate, Not now! Sometimes we need to lovingly shut down more than our laptops.
4. Celebrate yourself to sleep.
I love the saying Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious. Your subconscious continues to work as you sleep, and the best request you can make of it is the ongoing flow of appreciation energy. At the end of the day, close your book, turn off the light, and ask yourself, What’s the best thing that happened today?
For me, some days it’s I was productive—I wrote 3,000 words! Other days, it might be that a belly-laugh brunch with an old friend. Less ambitious days, it might be that I cooked something healthy-ish versus succumbing to Shake Shack. Whatever it is, go to sleep giving yourself credit! Something good happens every day (if you look for it). Hey—even a Netflix and chill day can be a money-saver, for example.
There are a million ways to infuse your day with teeny, minute-long rituals that energize you. You’ll never be able to control the whole world, but you’re able to manage the endless repetitions that only you touch. And maybe once you go to bed affirming yourself, making that bed in the morning may even invigorate you. Because even on the worst day, coming home to a well-made bed is worth a mini-celebration