Monday, September 3, 2012

Ten Building Blocks of a Great Day

You know it was a good day if you didn't hit or bite anyone.
Nathaniel Parizek, age 4

Isn't that the truth? And while we're at it, here are a few more suggestions.

1. Eat well.

This one is foundational to the rest. Eating three healthy meals a day, with the emphasis on whole grains, wild caught fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables keeps my blood sugar at a consistent level and provides me with both sufficient energy to get through long, busy days and good nutrition to ward off illness and disease.

2. Exercise

I love running except when I'm doing it, the t-shirt says, and that pretty well sums it up for me. But the simple truth is that when I do something physical every day, I feel better. Sometimes when I think I think I am too tired to exercise I do it anyway, and I am usually rewarded with a burst of energy. A couple of days a week, I work out with a Body Bar and a video; the rest of the time, I hit the elliptical machine at the Fitness 19 or go for a run in my neighborhood. I don't have six-pack abs and I jiggle in places I wish I didn't, but my BMI, my cholesterol and my blood pressure are all within the normal range and I can actually run a 5K without stopping. 

3. Connect with a friend.

Whether it's writing a letter, making a phone call, sending an message on Facebook, or actually meeting for coffee or lunch, spending time with a cherished pal gives me an emotional lift that lasts for weeks.

4.  Do your job and do it well.

I am a piano teacher; as such, I have an important responsibility to the young people with whose music education I am entrusted. My job is not only to instruct, but also to motivate and inspire. No matter what else is going on in my personal life, no matter how scattered and distracted I might feel, I do my best to put that all aside and provide every student who walks into my studio with a joyful and creative musical experience and to coax a smile, however fleeting, from the most reluctant of participants. Sharing my love of music with my students, keeping their sparks ignited, brings me joy like nothing else.

5. Take a step towards your dream.

I aspire to be a traditionally published novelist. Although my daily goal is to add 500 words a day to my manuscript, even a paragraph is progress in the right direction. 

6. Bring a sweater.

I am cold by nature. In the winter, I shiver for obvious reasons, but even in the summertime I find that many establishments--restaurants, movie theaters, the grocery store--keep their thermostats set at much lower temperatures than I keep the one at my house. Simple solution? I keep a sweater or a fleece jacket in my car so I can grab it if I need it.

7. Work with your hands.

Doing something creative every day, whether it's beading a pair of earrings, knitting a few rows of a scarf, or putting together a scrapbook page gives me something concrete to show for my time on a daily basis. It also inspires me in other endeavors, like blogging and fiction writing.

8. Treat yourself to something special.

I have a beautiful crystal dish that I keep stocked with beautifully wrapped dark chocolate candies. I reward myself with two every day: one after I have met my daily word count goal, and one after I exercise. If I have missed one of these for some reason - I rarely miss both - I might treat myself to one more goody at bedtime, as a reward for simply making it through another day.

9. Give thanks.

Last thing before I turn out the light every night, I pull out my gratitude journal and make note of three to five things I am thankful for. It's easy. Less than five minutes and I am in a satisfied state of mind conducive to sleep.

10. Get sufficient rest.

This is the hardest one for me. My teaching day doesn't wrap until until eight or nine at night; by the time I make dinner, clean up, and crawl into bed, it's getting late.  My body feels it, but my brain is still fully charged. I am trying to develop a soothing nighttime routine to ease that transition from wakefulness to sleep and get a solid seven or eight hours of shut-eye every night.

Your list is probably different from mine. What does a day well spent look like to you?


S.M. Carrière said...

I am never satisfied with my day unless I've written. That is all it takes to make me happy.

And I find that exercise helps immensely! I don't train every day as I frequently walk to and from work (an hour each way) and I train intensively four nights a week when my Kung Fu school is in (next week. Next week. Hurry up, next week!).

Exercise keeps me sane. Writing keeps me happy.

Oh, by the by, if you have trouble unwinding before bed, try taking a cup of herbal tea in with you. Any herbal tea is good, but look for something with camomile, mint and or liquorice root.

Pam Asberry said...

"Exercise keeps me sane. Writing keeps me happy." That's so simple! The truth is, that's me in a nutshell. ;-) And thanks for reminding me about herbal tea at bedtime. I used to do that; I don't know why I stopped. I think I'll try it tonight, S.M.!