Earlier this month, I challenged you to make an intention to actively practice gratitude in your daily lives. In an effort to really focus on this single goal, I have been using Danika Brysha’s Self Care Checklist. If you are not familiar with Danika, please go check her out on Instagram. A body-positive role model and self care guru, she is worth a follow. She designed her Self Care Checklist to celebrate big wins, make monthly intentions, and highlight her biggest “To-Dos” for the day. It has absolutely transformed my mornings.
My Self Care Checklist prompts me to reflect on three things I am grateful for in the morning. In fact, it has been the motivating factor in getting me out of bed before my kids (a few times), instead of hanging out on my phone for a half an hour (hey, we’re all in this together). I grab my coffee with Nutpods and open my computer to my checklist. My gratitude lists have included items like the amount of sleep M2 gave me the night before, the beautiful view out my window, current events, my husband, and personal victories. It has opened my eyes to see the light through moments of negativity in a very organic way that does not feel contrived. These few moments it takes to write three things have literally transformed my days.
I am holding Catalina Wellness’s first monthly self care virtual book club (I have to get a better name) meeting at the end of the month. We are reading Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead. Coincidentally, but unsurprisingly, she speaks about joy and gratitude extensively early on as a leadership tool. All too often, we skip over joy. We are so good at turning the emotion of joy into something more negative because it is such a vulnerable state and we are afraid of getting hurt or everything crumbling to the ground. The antidote to this, she describes, is gratitude. By practicing gratitude, we acknowledge the joy, the achievement, the love, the hope. By practicing gratitude, we can hold onto the good in the midst of the bad. Check out this video for more on joy and gratitude from Brene. And head over to Facebook to join the discussion later this month!
Each and every morning, I am reminded how fortunate I am and what matters in life. It has even prompted me to reach out to a mentor and thank her for her constant support. Even throughout the day, I have been able to celebrate the small wins, which is so important as a new mom. All too often, it is easy to dwell on all that is going wrong. Just a few weeks of this intentional practice has allowed me to see the wins, like successful drop offs and pick ups at school, naps of any length, and stretches of night sleep longer than an hour. This is HUGE for me, as I spent nine months complaining about how uncomfortable I was in my pregnant state. Gratitude adjusts perspective and attitude, and I needed that. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits also explains that a gratitude practice can combat boredom and feeling overwhelmed. Gratitude ground us into the present moment. It is mindfulness. It is a healthy coping mechanism!
If you have not taken up my challenge this month, consider sliding it into your daily routine. Here are some ideas on how:
- During your morning routine.
- With your morning coffee.
- In the notes app on your phone.
- While you meditate.
- In a specific app on your phone, like Day One or Grateful.
- In the shower.
- Out loud at every red light.
- Instead of saying “I’m sorry,” say “thank you.”
- During your lunch routine.
- When you’re stressed.
- Around the dinner table.
- During your evening routine.
- While you brush your teeth.
- In a paper journal.
- Set a reminder on your phone.
Most importantly, I want you to be patient with yourself as you begin this practice. It is called “a practice” for a reason. There is no room for perfection with gratitude, only grace and love. If you forget to do it for a day, a week, a month, no problem and absolutely no need to quit just because you’re not “doing it right.” Pick it up again the next day. And the next day. It is a gift for yourself, so treat it like one.