I begin each day with these two questions. This is my way of setting the tone for the day and making sure that I give some attention to self-care before I am pulled into the activities of the day.
What do I most need today?
To answer this question, I often think about my balance of rest and activity. If I have been very busy in recent days and need a moment of stillness, I will start the day quietly and slowly. If I’ve been working at the computer or sitting in the car a lot and need to move and stretch my body, then that’s what I’ll do. If I am tired or haven’t slept well, then I allow myself to sleep a little longer or do a yoga nidra meditation.
If I have thoughts rolling around in my head or emotions that I am stuck on, then I will sit for a moment with my journal and get the thoughts out on paper. Or if I feel overwhelmed by the number of things that I need to do then I will make lists and put things on the calendar, something to get the little details organized so that they are out of my head.
Whatever it is that I most need at that moment, that’s what I’ll do.
This is really important when you have limited time — often I have only a small window of time to myself first thing in the morning, so how do I use that time most valuably to give myself what I most need to carry me through the day.
Who or what most needs my attention today?
This is a question about caring for others and caring for all the other aspects of your life. Most often, the best place to look for what most needs your attention is what’s right in front of you — your home, your family, your partner, your work, your friends. Who most needs something and what do they need? There will be a lot of other things that you will do in the day, but asking this question helps make sure that at the start you give care and attention to the person or aspect of your life that most needs it in that moment.
In the end, all you can really take care of is what’s in this moment, but then everything else will follow from there.
Hearing Your Inner Wisdom
The key to answering these questions is to be able to hear your inner wisdom, that still, small voice of your heart. This requires moments of quiet, when the outer distractions fade away and your attention turns inward. Yoga, meditation, taking a walk, pausing to watch the sun rise or set – however it is that you create those quiet moments in your life, will strength your ability to hear the inner wisdom of your body and heart to tell you what you need.
Setting the Tone for the Day
A busy day can pass in the blink of an eye, leaving us with a long list of things we meant to do. Beginning the day with these two questions ensures that you have taken a moment to put your attention both to yourself and to the things that you most care for in your life. Not only does that help to take care of those things specifically, but it’s setting the tone for the day, one in which you are better able to respond with love to yourself and those around you.
How do you like to start your day? Reply in the comments below!