As the second part in our series on “basic essentials” for surviving and thriving after a life transition such as divorce, today I want to talk about developing a daily practice.
My definition of a daily practice is something that you do each day to clear your mind and energize your soul. It sets your intention for the day and puts you on the right track. It grounds you.
I know we hear the term “daily practice” most often in conjunction with meditation and yoga, but that is not what the practice has to be about.
Your practice needs to fit your needs, beliefs, and work for you—it is that simple.
Also, it does not need to be elaborate or take hours. A practice can truly be just a few minutes.
There is not a set time of day that you have to perform your daily practice, although many people have a morning routine or bedtime routine. It just needs to work for you, and maybe your time is different–that is okay.
I have tried many times to wake up at 5:30am to meditate, pray, journal, and exercise. Every time I have attempted this, the little people end up awake as well and I am just too wiped out for the rest of the day.
For me, the best time for my daily practice is after I drop off my kids at school and a few minutes before bedtime.
I’ll give you some examples of daily practices to help you come up with your own.
For me, in the morning I like to just sit quietly and breathe, and sort of meditate. I don’t think I am great at it, but taking the time to just get quiet makes a huge difference to the start of my day. It brings me peace and renews my energy. Also, I take a few minutes to visualize how I want my day to play out.
Another simple practice of mine is lighting a candle in my bedroom before hopping in the shower. As a mom, sometimes those minutes in the shower can be the only moments of peace, and this just adds to that calmness.
Many people find movement to be the key to their daily practice. The movement releases stress in the body and therefore creates clarity in the mind. Why do you think so many people love running so much? The runners I have talked to say it is almost spiritual for them. It is more about the mental clarity than the physicality. When they run, they feel connected to themselves and to God.
A daily walk can be a practice as well. I love to walk in nature, as it always rejuvenates me.
A few people incorporate water into their practice. Think a cold shower, or a daily bath with candles, or even swimming as exercise!
Reading and writing are great components of a daily practice. Dedicating 10 minutes to your personal development by reading is fantastic way to keep learning and growing. I like to do my journaling in the evening before bed. Taking this time to write about my gratitude and successes of the day is the perfect ending. Falling asleep with positive thoughts to end your day is crucial for a good night’s sleep, which also sets the tone for tomorrow.
Now you might think this concept of “daily practice” is all new age. It is not; it’s just a term.
In fact, my 71-year-old mother has a daily practice and likely does not realize it! I’m sure she will find it amusing that I see her doing something positive in this realm. Most days my mom wakes up, makes herself a cup of tea, opens the downstairs blinds (which looks onto trees and often has many birds at the feeder), and then settles into her chair to say her prayers and read her devotional book.
My older brother who is a priest does morning and evening prayers each day as a daily practice.
There is no right or wrong way to go about a daily practice. It can be as simple or elaborate as you want or need. Just make the time each day to connect to yourself and support your soul.
Having a daily practice will help you stay grounded during your toughest times.
Do you have a daily practice? If not, what could you incorporate into your day to stay centered and connected?