Living the easy island life in Hawai’i definitely has its perks. Beautiful exotic beaches, rainbows in the sky, endless summer weather, these perks definitely help inspire me to enjoy every day fully. But even with these perks, it doesn’t always help me escape the daily struggles we all can face from time to time. Living the simple life and focusing on being happy, definitely takes some effort on my part as an individual. Giving myself this gift of being on my own out here, has taught me what to incorporate in my life in order to continue this path of epic happiness.
Here are 10 things that I try to incorporate into my daily routine that helps inspire me to have an amazing day always.
1. Meditate for at Least 20 Minutes-
The first thing I do when I wake up at 7am is stretch up, look out my window to see the sun rising in the pink colored sky, and then say in my mind, “Good morning beautiful day!” The next thing I DEFINITELY DO NOT DO is look at my phone. This advice I actually got from my Buddhist monk that I would go see at the Chozen-Ji Buddhist Temple, here in O’ahu, during my beginners meditation courses. Meditation is so beneficial in so many ways, spiritually and mentally. The most important being that meditation helps with stress and anxiety.
Helpful Tips I Learned for Meditation:
What he recommended to help with one’s meditation practice is to meditate first thing in the morning when your mind is the clearest. Do not expose yourself to outside external influences first thing in the morning, like from our bestie, our cell phone. Immediately you get flooded with all sorts of thoughts and stresses that you can see from the outside world clouding your mind before you meditate.
So I get up, set my alarm for 20 minutes, put my purple meditation pillow on my wooden floor, facing the same wall and the same circular dent that I stare at while I sit. Then I sit in a comfortable crossed legged position on the pillow, sitting upright tall, with my legs hanging down over the pillow on the wooden floor, I take my right hand and clasp my left thumb, hold my hands together, then turn my right hand fingers up towards the ceiling, and then place my hands right under my belly button comfortably. Sit and DO NOT MOVE.
Inhale slowly for 5 seconds and then breath out slowly for 5 seconds. I either keep this breathing flow going, or instead say a slow mantra in my mind to keep me focusing on my breathe. One mantra I say is “Slow Hum.” So I literally will inhale (5 seconds) and say, “Slow” and then exhale (5 seconds) and slowly say, “Hum.” Slooooww Hummmmmm, quietly and over and over again in my mind.
Meditation is difficult, it is hard to train your busy mind to be quiet after so many long years of having an overactive mind. It takes a lot of practice and patience. I definitely have not perfected it yet! What helps to control the thoughts and flashes that come to my mind while I meditate, is to pretend that I am sitting along a peaceful river. The second I think about something, a memory flashes in my mind, or a quick worry for the day, I literally tell myself to STOP DROWNING IN THE RIVER. Imagine myself coming out of the river and releasing that thought out of my mind. Like a cloud of thought escaping my mind and then I go back to my breathing routine.
I sit quietly and smiling for 20 minutes, giving my mind a peaceful break before I enter the day, and then my alarm will go off 20 minutes later awaking me with a beautiful peaceful song. And then get ready to do yoga!
2. Yoga for at Least 20 Minutes-
I live in a small studio in Waikiki, but luckily I have enough room for a good solo yoga practice. I have my yoga mat and all my yoga tools that I need. If you have time to go to a studio before work, or practice yoga outside, even better! But even doing yoga for 20 minutes a day can be more beneficial for you than going to a yoga practice 1-3 times a week for an hour. Do your favorite workout or go for a 20 minute run, but in my personal opinion, yoga is so beneficial in so many ways, for your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga has changed my life in so many ways all around.
My go to yoga practice on my iPad, which is perfect for traveling or on the go, is MyYogaWorks.com. For $15 a month, I get access to a ton of yoga classes from beginners to advanced, they have perfect learning courses for people new to yoga! All categorized by duration, or parts of your body you want to focus on, super easy classes or challenging ones. This is offered by YogaWorks and all taught by their yoga instructors from all over the country. They have amazing classes that always give me a good workout for 20 minutes a day!
3. Take a Moment to Give Gratitude and Ask For What You Want in Life-
After my practice on my mat, I like to say a little prayer and give thanks for having another beautiful day, and what I would like in life that would make me happy. Tools that I actually learned from the documentary, The Secret. Talk to whatever higher being you believe in, or even just saying it to yourself in the mirror, taking the time to be grateful for what you have will always help set a good tone for your day, and your spirit.
I also say the Buddhist Prayer, “May I be filled with loving kindness, may I be well, may I be peaceful, and at ease, may I be truly happy, NAMASTE.
4. Have a Cup of Tea and Eat Breakfast-
After my shower and routine of getting ready for work, I have some time before I head off to have some tea and then breakfast. Best time to have tea is on an empty stomach which helps speed up your metabolism. My go to tea brand is Hawaiian Island Tea Company, they make all types of teas even better with their Hawaiian twists, like Guava Green Tea or Pineapple Black Tea, my favorites! I always add fresh lemon wedges I keep in the fridge, cinnamon, ginger, and a little bit of Apple Cider Vinegar, all beneficial for you in so many ways! I will enjoy my cup of tea while checking my emails and finally exposing myself to what is going on in the outside world.
Then I make myself a healthy breakfast, I’ll scramble some eggs mixed with almond or coconut milk and chia seeds, add some kale into the mix, get a tortilla and avocado, and make myself a healthy breakfast burrito!
5. Listen to Happy Music-
Now that I am ready to take off for work, I put my purple headphones on, get my iPhone ready to play my happy soundtrack for the day, and then take my 15 minute walk to my bus stop. My favorite place to listen to music was in my car on my way to work, putting my mind at ease before I enter a possibly hectic day. But not driving here, I enjoy listening to music with my headphone set walking around the island enjoying the energy I feel from the Waikiki city life. This also helps relax me before I start bartending, calming my mind before I enter the bartending battlefield!
Music is very therapeutic, especially to me, so I have songs that I listen to for any sort of mood that I am in, so embrace whatever mood soundtrack you need for the day, even if it is slower or sadder songs. But if you are feeling good or needing a pick me up, listening to happy music is always the way to go to set the tone of your day in a happier way.
6. Staying Cool at Work-
Now being at work, whether you love or dislike what you do, work can make or break a day. Which is why for most people it is hard to shake off the work day once it is over. For me, being in hospitality, you deal with all different kinds of people, nice or mean, cheap or generous, demanding or aloof, whatever you get, you just got to roll with the punches and not let the actions of others bring you down.
What I learned from Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, (AMAZING BOOK and easy read):
What people say or do is not because of YOU, but because of HOW THEY FEEL. It is their insecurities or inadequacies, or their projection of their reality, as what Don would say. The moment we start taking what others do to us too personally, like with me, guests in the restaurant, we inject their poison and allow it to take over how WE FEEL.
This is something that I learned so far that basically changed my life. Ever since I was a kid, I always felt very intuitive and feel things from people very strongly, which allowed me to have good strong connections with people. I always felt like it was a gift, but also my worst enemy.
You can’t control external things that happen to you, or how other people are going to treat or throw at you. What you control is how you react to things. This even helps with coworkers that you are surrounded by that could be very negative or stressed out. Especially being in the restaurant world, everyone can be stressed out and yell at each other!
So, lets say a guest yells at me, for no reason of course, I will walk away, take a moment in my mind and pretend I am sitting at that river, like mentally when I meditate, and tell myself, “DO NOT DROWN IN THEIR BULLSHIT RIVER!”
As silly at it may sound, this helps me shake off whatever has been thrown my way, and then I continue to live my carefree day. Let the bullshit pass, it doesn’t matter, and has nothing to do WITH YOU.
Also, take the time to have fun and goof off with your coworkers sometime during the work day! Everyday I never miss an opportunity to goof off with my friends and laugh hysterically at work. If you are solo, watch a funny SNL skit, anything to get your goofiness flowing for a moment.
7. Go Outside-
Whether it is before work or after work, watching a sunrise or sunset, taking the time to enjoy being outside and appreciating the beautiful world we live in, is a great pick me up for the day or a great way to shake off the work day. For a normal work day for me, I am home around 4pm, take a nap if I am tired at home or the beach, then get up to watch a killer sunset. Watching a sunset and jumping in the ocean is my happy and quiet time, and the best medicine for me to shake off the work day. Jumping in the ocean is like my personal way of cleansing my soul for the day.
If you are off of work when it is already dark, take your dog for a walk, go for a run or walk, or try to squeeze an outside adventure before work or on a break. Eat your lunch at the beach or at a park, find a beautiful place near your work you can relax at!
8. Unwind and Embrace your Creative Vibe-
What I always enjoy after dinner, is something for me personally to help me unwind, like reading, working on my blog or writing, editing photos, whatever you like to embrace that helps your creative spirit. Or even if it is just watching your favorite TV show if you are feeling tired. Anything that helps you switch from work to me time. I am all about my shows that I love to binge watch, even the dramatic or serious ones. Even if I am binge loving on a serious show, I always find a funny 30 minute show to get me laughing. Usually I will play a funny show while I cook dinner.
I always go through phases with shows, but right now my go to funny shows are, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, and The Mindy Project (Hulu)
9. Stretch Your Body-
If you are like me, and living in your 30s, and embracing the hardships on your body that we feel at this age, what will help with the aging process is stretching that young body we still got! Even though I do yoga on the daily, I still have tightness in my body from bartending and just being older! So stretching does help alleviate the tightness and stretching actually helps you sleep better.
I usually stretch for about 15 minutes and do the same routine that I learned from MyYogaWorks.com, their course online called, Homework for Tight Bodies. What is important is to listen to your body and just see what you need to stretch out. Do your favorite yoga stretches, or just your typical workout stretch routine, whatever stretch it is will help for sure! Listen to your body and never push yourself too hard, do stretches that you know will feel good or will help your body.
10. Get a Good Night Sleep-
I like to be in bed about 30 minutes before I need to fall asleep and prepare for an 8 hour sleep. Make sure to free your mind from the day, you are about to embark on a new day tomorrow, SO LET THE DAY GO. I usually like to watch a show before I go to bed WHICH IS NOT THE BEST! You should not have any electronics or watch anything an hour before you go to bed.
This is something I still need to work on, but I make sure to have my phone on silent, far away enough where I can still hear the alarm. This is also a good time to read, or just close your eyes, and enjoy the quiet and darkness around you to have a good night sleep.
If you are like me and it can be difficult to fall asleep right away, I like to lay there and pretend I am meditating again, and this actually helps me fall asleep right away and stay asleep all night long.
A lot of things can happen in one’s day, so it is not easy to always incorporate these 10 things into my daily routine, and for a lot of people, not easy to wake up early to have that “me time” before work. Taking the time to wake up a little earlier and incorporating these different things into my life, has brought amazing changes to my mood and just allowed me to enjoy my days more. Even if you only have time to do certain things on this list, taking the time to focus on different things like this for yourself will always help make your day more amazing no matter what.
Good night beautiful world and Namaste xoxo