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My 3-step mini exercise to enhance my day


A visual of a woman with a big blue shirt on who has her face buried in her shirt with her hair popping out

It’s still full on sweater-weather in my valley and the left-over snow in the yard can still swallow me knee high in places, so it feels a bit strange to talk about Spring being here. But even though we’re still trudging around in boots, and hats, and gloves, I like to imagine I can feel this fresh energy buzzing around that comes with the change of seasons. 


I like the thought that Winter is the season for introspection and Spring is all about new beginnings and fresh starts. When after a long winter you can feel the excitement for the ‘high energy’ months to come and you’re filled with a new energy.



But let’s talk about those nerves that kick in as well when something new is going to happen. Spring means change—whether it’s in the weather or within us—and change is uncomfortable. You know, when you sense this strange, tight knot at the bottom of your sternum that tells you it’s time to move but you don’t feel ready for it yet. I think this ‘I have to change something’ feeling can be very disorganizing and difficult to handle. 


To be honest, I kind of enjoy this transition phase. It’s not that I like change though - it’s actually the opposite, I need a lot of time to adjust - but my brain really enjoys planning and organising. So when preparing for the warmer months ahead I let my thoughts stay on dreams and plans and goals and inspiration. And when at some point I feel my hibernation energy has shifted into active energy, I know I am ready for the change to happen. 


I still feel very uncomfortable though and it’s not exactly smooth sailing from here on on, because this transition phase looks something like this:


Graphic with three ladies and the three different stages she is in.

Graphic with two ladies and the two final stages she is in.

The trap I don’t want to fall into is piling up lists of to do’s that will leave me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and like I’m already behind. So my focus with figuring out what I most want to spend my time and energy on is how well my ideas align with what I find most important: tranquillity, spending time with great people, elevating my art/design skills and activities in nature. 


My 3-step mini exercise to enhance my day 

My process therefore involves a bit of exploring my day-to-day, untangling my mind, envisioning ideas, defining some activities and planning for action. In the video below I share my mini exercise for the first bit: exploring your day-to-day and how to enhance it with activities that bring you joy. You can go through the 3 steps yourself or follow along with me in this video:





Step 01 - Map all the activities that keep you engaged and drain your energy

So, for the first step I want you to start with categorising what a normal day in your life looks like for you. This will help you create an overview of all the activities that keep you engaged and drain your energy. It will also show you what activities are important to you but often get overruled by other things or emotions. 


Grab a sheet of paper, and draw a timeline. Pick a regular day in the week and start at the beginning. Write down the activities that keep you engaged in some way on the top of the timeline and I make sure the activities that have a negative impact on your day are included below on the timeline. Once you have filled out all the main activities, add another layer that includes all the things you love to do but don’t get around doing as much as you would like to.


Step 02 - Identify your biggest challenges during your day

For the second step I want you to take a moment to go through all of your activities and pick three things you experience to be your biggest frustrations or challenges during your day. Next, I want you to define these three biggest challenges of yours by describing how they make you feel and why they make you feel this way.  


Do this by filling in the blanks of this sentence for all three challenges:

My biggest challenge is [fill in the blank] and it makes me feel [fill in the blank] because [fill in the blank].

Step 03 - Define what changes to make and actions to take

Once you have clarity on these three challenges that are necessary to change in order for you to enhance your day to day, you can now define what changes are needed and what actions you can take. 


So for step three, I want you to fill in the blanks of this sentence for all three challenges:

Because I feel [fill in the blank] I need [fill in the blank]. So what I can do is [fill in the blank].



Of course you can come up with more ideas than one for what you can do to solve your challenges. I hope you have gained a better understanding by now about the positive or negative impact f.e. certain tasks, your commute, interactions or environments have on how they make you feel. And hopefully you have come up with some helpful ideas on how to enhance your day. For me, this mini design exercise always gives a lot of clarity about what I can start doing to make some changes in my life. 


Alright, that’s my mini exercise to help you enhance your day. Good luck and if you need help with anything, make sure to leave me a comment below. 


Iris

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