Sometimes it’s very easy to get caught up in the ongoing, regulated process of living. Whether you’re a mum, working a 9-5 job or even unemployed, gradually routines can begin to become so ingrained that we can often end our days lost as to where the time went and feeling as if we really didn’t accomplish enough. I know, although I’m a serious lover of routines, that it’s often on the days where I go beyond my typical routine of getting done what just needs to get done that I really feel fulfilled with my day - as I accomplished more than just the ordinary. I’m able to hit the pillow at the end of the day feeling that my day was productive, well spent and actually achieved something substantial.
I think what we forget to realise, is that the simple act of getting up in the morning, getting the kids ready for school or yourself ready for work is actually already a bit of an achievement. And the routines which seem too often feel so ‘mindless’ or ‘automated’ are actually layers of habits which we’ve become so used to completing that we no longer take into consideration the importance of them. By giving ourselves the opportunity to reflect upon our days in their entirety, rather than what our to-do list tells us that we accomplished, we can actually gift ourselves the opportunity to end a lot more than just a few of our days feeling fulfilled.
This simple process of reflection enables us to congratulate ourselves for accomplishing all that we have, whether that’s smashing out your entire to-do list or just making it to work that day. Self-reflection has become a significant part of my personal self-care. And it’s unique in the fact that it’s not all about spending an entire evening taking a long hot bath and painting my nails (although I’m always down for a spa night). This form of self-care is more about understanding yourself, appreciating yourself and genuinely reflecting upon the accomplishments you make on a regular basis.
Let me break down how ‘daily reflection’ looks on paper:
I like to spend at least 30 minutes before bed as what I call my ‘self-care hour’. This time consists of lighting a candle, perhaps reading, or organising myself for the next day - simply listening to my body and completing small tasks that bring me joy or relaxation during the final hours of the evening. Every self-care hour looks slightly different, and it may be something you would like to incorporate into your own routine. I find the act of simply listening to my body something that we often ignore during the course of the day when we’re too busy, or there is too much involvement of other people for us to simply act according to ourselves. It would be a lovely time for you to spend with yourself once the kids are in bed.
I digress, so back to the process of reflection.
You could grab a journal or notebook to complete this in, however working through it mentally can be just as effective. Run yourself through your day from beginning to end and note (or mentally emphasise) the notable achievements you made. These are your personal achievements, big or small, you are the only judge upon what makes it into your list of accomplishments for the day just been. Perhaps making it to work felt a little more difficult today, but you did it anyway. Perhaps you weren’t really feeling up to an evening walk, but you did it anyway. Or perhaps you initiated that difficult conversation that you were worried about last night. Recognise the times you pushed through your fears, accomplished more than you thought possible, or even just accomplished all you needed to to make it through. Celebrate it and celebrate yourself.
Grow comfortable with yourself and your current state. This isn’t a time of judging what you didn’t make it through or recognising the areas where you failed to push yourself. Become comforted by the progress you made today - no matter how big or small.
Understand that not everyone gets up and does something amazing every single day of the week, there will be more days where you just get up, go to work, cook dinner and then head to bed. But those days deserve a little celebration too - because at least you got up and got on with it anyway.
It’s as simple as that. Reflection isn’t some big life-changing exercise, but rather a small time of personal reflection and giving yourself a pat on the back for making it through.
The funny thing about this is that I often find myself thinking about my time of reflection even while the day is ongoing. I’ll picture myself writing my list of achievements that evening and visualise writing something that I’m really proud of. More often than not, just recognising that I get to write my daily accomplishments down at the end of the day inspires myself to push myself further and find even more opportunities or situations where I can find something original to add to the list. The power of reflection actually lies in how it has the ability to alter the way you live your future.
Think of it this way, we’ve always learnt that it’s only through our mistakes that we grow. We’re taught to embrace our mistakes, be grateful for them. But reflect upon them in a way that alters how we behave the next time the same situation returns. Subconsciously, we’re reflecting on our pasts and our brain tells us ‘hey, remember what happened last time?’. We make a different choice, and more often than not, it’s a better one.
Through my own process of reflection on a daily basis, I’m learning and motivating myself to change how I live my present and visualise what I would like to accomplish in my future. That’s the true essence of this process.
Although daily reflection has become a great habit of mine, I would love to expand this in the future into a monthly, weekly or every yearly time of reflection. However, this would be more ‘goal’ orientated with the intention of keeping myself on track with accomplishing my goals for the year itself. However you would like to incorporate a time of reflection into your life, I would encourage you to do so.
As I’m writing this, I’m currently in the process of healing from laparoscopic surgery. While lying in bed (often in pain), I feel a little frustrated that even watching Netflix makes me want to fall asleep. However, even though the cleaning routines have fallen to pieces, the washing isn’t done and my room is a specifically arranged yet disastrous mess of pillows, medications, and blankets, it’s my time of daily reflection which has allowed me to understand that even in moments like these small accomplishments deserve big congratulations. For example, getting myself up and into the shower, or choosing to put a fresh outfit of clothing on (even if it’s just another set of pj’s). Find ways to bring praise into your day, in whatever scale necessary.
I hope this blog post inspires you to do so, or at least grants you permission to bring a little more self-praise into your day. We don’t all have time (or the energy) for lavish acts of self-care. However, this is a small, yet impactful way to reflect upon your day and actually be grateful for the energy you have expended.
I hope you are all having a wonderful week, a lovely Valentine’s Day - whether you a single or not. Be your own lover and give yourself a little self-care - trust me, it’s not overrated at all.
Lots of love,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!