Going Beyond the Daily Grind
When you’re doing the same things day in and day out, when your to-do list is a mile long, when it feels like there isn’t a spare minute, it’s easy for every day to blend into the next, and become a blur of work, chores, and email.
It’s easy to feel resentful. It’s easy to feel like everything is out of your control, and you’re being pulled by some—really frustrating—mysterious force. And it’s hard to see past the drudgery.
However, while it’s understandable why you’d feel this way, you can absolutely move beyond the daily grind. The below suggestions include practical tips to sharpen your productivity so you feel less overwhelmed and frustrated, and realistic tips to help you savor the day to day.
Spot the subtleties. “When we pay attention to the subtleties of our experience, we can more appreciate what’s unique about the moment we’re in,” said Keely Clark, a licensed clinical social worker who offers supportive counseling and coaching to moms as they navigate the transitions of motherhood at her private practice MotherBloom Wellness PLLC. We also can feel more grounded and more connected to the positive elements in our daily lives, she said.
After all, every day is different, and we are different, too—the weather changes, our feelings shift. Maybe the sun is shining right now, and yesterday around the same time, there was a rainstorm. Maybe you feel proud of a project you just submitted, while yesterday you were upset because it didn’t seem like anything was going your way.
Clark uses the following sensory exercise at her practice, which helps to direct attention to our bodies and physical experience, which again changes all the time: Pause several times throughout the day to notice five things you see; four things you feel (to the touch); three things you hear; two things you smell; and one thing you taste.
Add bits of self-nourishment. These are small activities that are solely for you, said Meghan Coltrane, a licensed professional counselor in Asheville, N.C., who specializes in perinatal mental health and reproductive trauma. For instance, she said, this might be anything from taking a walk after work to using a visualization to saying a nightly prayer to journaling to taking a morning yoga class. Small acts can feel incredibly significant and soothing. The key is to incorporate them into your daily routine, and to use your senses to savor these moments.
Design your workday. “If you’re able to tap into what you’d like your week to look like, it will make you feel more fulfilled,” said Paula Rizzo, author of the book Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed and the forthcoming book Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You (September 2019, Mango Publishing).