Monday Postcard #121 – The (B)Right Side of the Bed
Those days when you wake up, hit your foot at the bed, read an annoying message and worry about the meeting ahead. Let’s just roll back into bed, cover our head with the blanket and stay there the whole day. Once you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it sets the tone of the whole day – at least for me.
I have to admit, even though I am a morning person, I am not somebody who wakes up, jumping out of bed thinking “It will be an awesome day!”. I am a bit of a worrier – even when things go well, I dig into the details and make up worst case scenarios in my mind. I then become obsessed to make a Plan B, C and Z – I often end up not even using these “crisis prevention plans”. I find it very tough to stop doing it and I catch myself with these thoughts already in the mornings. I had a discussion this morning about exactly this topic and it made me think what I can do to get up on the right side of the bed. Hence, I decided to write this Postcard as a guide not only for you but also for myself.
Routines have become an important tool to start my day with a positive mindset. I used to be really bad with my morning routine – I woke up at different times and, hence, arrived at the office at random times. I ate my breakfast “on-the-go” and did not take time to sit down for a few minutes and enjoy it. It is important to have a routine, your body clock needs a certain rhythm to function. Now I wake up at 6.15 am. Even though I sometimes like to sleep in on the weekends, I have trained my body that I wake up every day at the same time. To many of you this will sound crazy. But it has proven to work really well for me.
Even though I use my phone as an alarm, I try not to check messages, emails or social media until I am done showering and getting ready. If I check my phone right away, I start my day really stressed out – I see an urgent email (which still could have waited for another half an hour) or I see something annoying on social media. I recently have ignored this habit and started my day scrolling through my phone. This is definitely something I will change immediately.
I am not a meditation enthusiast in the narrower sense. You will not find me in the lotus seat, hands folded and breathing. This is just not me. I think meditation can be done anywhere and in many different ways. My daily mediation session is when I brush my teeth. I take my time brushing my teeth and think about anything which comes to my mind.
Breakfast has become an important ritual – if I do not eat in the morning, I am very grumpy the whole day. I am currently trying to cut my coffee consumption, but my morning coffee is still a cornerstone of my day. I also read the news – Austrian newspapers, the NZZ (the Zurich newspaper), BBC and sometimes Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Southern German) or Le Monde. While writing this Postcard, I thought that I should maybe read or listen to news in other languages again. I used to do this when I worked for the Austrian government. It is not so much about the language training first thing in the morning. It is more about distracting myself: news in a language other than German or English force me to focus more and distract me from annoying or negative thoughts.
The most important task for me is to focus on the positive. It is also the hardest one. It is really easy to go down the negative spiral first thing in the morning. Most of the time, this spiral is triggered by a minor thing and, let’s be honest, not worth it to ruin our days with it. For example, instead of thinking how bad Mondays are and that we want the weekend back, try to think how great the weekend was and what positive things you can take into the day.
I do not have a definite answer or plan about starting my day with a positive mindset. The things listed above are rituals which have turned out to be effective. But I am constantly tweaking my strategy. If you have some advice or tricks, please do not be shy to share them with me. I always enjoy the discussions with you at the start of the week. Writing this down, I realised that the “post Monday Postcard discussions” are another trigger for some positive vibes. This format has allowed me to connect (and also re-connect) with so many of you and it is truly amazing to hear your feedback about them and discuss.
I hope you started your week on the (b)right side of the bed!