Bookend Your Days

I don’t prescribe a lot of “you must do this” kind of things, because in my experience every person and every body is different. But when it comes to having a consistent, intentional morning practice that connects you, protects you, and sets your personal energy field for the day, it’s a must. I do not know how to keep you out of overwhelm, burnout, or self-sacrifice without one.

Yet, what I have noticed in my research is that few people have a consistent morning practice they do every day. I often start my professional workshops and personal retreats with the question “Who has a daily practice you do every morning, consistently?” In a professional setting, fewer than 5 percent raise their hands. Even in the retreats with people on a personal development path, fewer than 15 percent have a practice they do, every day. And few have a practice that connects them on the level of all realms — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual — or that protects and sets their magnetic field. Virtually no one has a conscious flow to downshifting at the end of the day.

Wherever you are on the continuum of a consistent daily morning upshifting and evening downshifting practice, it’s all good. We start where you are. If this is new to you, great! It was new to me at one time. Honestly, when I first committed to a daily morning practice, I would fall asleep, drooling on myself! But I stayed committed; that was the key. If you already have a consistent practice, this will deepen and strengthen it. We call it a practice because you never stop practicing or learning.

Rather than give you a litany of to-dos, I will teach you a “recipe” for creating a simple morning and evening flow, which you apply to the first and last hour of your day — the “Daily Bookend.” The Daily Bookend empowers you to choose the rhythm and feel of your morning, no matter how much time you have or who you live with. It ensures you don’t start your day open to being hacked or go through your day like an untethered windsock. You’ll use the same recipe to downshift in the last hour of your day so you can receive the physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual, and mental replenishment you need.

Your Twofold Mission

1.   Create a flow for the first and last hour of your day, every day. This supports you to stay centered, clear, and calm all day.

2.   Become aware of how your choices in the first and last hour of your day sustain or drain you. This empowers you to make wiser choices that support your life force, and you, to thrive.

Take the following three steps to experiment with and elevate how you start and complete your days, embracing the Daily Bookend as a structure for how you “do” your daily life.

STEP 1: Become Aware of What’s Draining and What’s Sustaining You Because of How You Start Your Morning and Downshift Your Day

For one week, observe how you start your morning and end your day by becoming keenly aware of what you ingest, interact with, and invite in during the first and last hour. Notice what you put into your physical and energetic bodies and your mental and emotional fields. And notice the impact.

STEP 2: Experiment with Your “Daily Bookend” Practice and Create a Conscious Flow for the First and Last Hour of Your Day

You have to start and end every day anyway, so why not do so in ways that naturally cultivate harmony, self-sustainability, and vitality? Relax. I have no list of one hundred things you must do, or unrealistic expectations of you sitting on a cushion for an hour in silence meditating. After twenty years, not even I do that! Instead, I give you the superpower tool of the “Daily Bookend.” As always, think of this not as more to do but as the choices, rituals, and actions that create a supportive flow for how you start and complete your day. Together, these create a pattern that harmonizes you to your natural rhythm and connects you to your needs and center.

STEP 3: Embrace Your Power to Set Yourself Up for Harmony

Wise women don’t ask for permission; we take a stand for what we need and teach others what to expect and how to interact with us. The dynamics in your family or work may not be set up to support a Daily Bookend practice, yet. But remember, you can’t receive what you need from others if you don’t take a stand for it first. Which is why, I dare you to make one small but mighty change. Lock in this daring act of liberation by choosing one self-sabotaging habit and replacing it with a self-sustaining one, on both sides of your Daily Bookend practice. Then you can start resetting expectations.

Morning Upshift
  1. My current self-sabotaging habit is…
  2. I choose to release the self-sabotaging habit of…
  3. I choose to embrace the new self-sustaining choice to…
Evening Downshift
  1. My current self-sabotaging habit is…
  2. I choose to release the self-sabotaging habit of…
  3. I choose to embrace the new self-sustaining choice to…

The key to success is to choose a self-sustaining habit that feels supportive to you, not a stretch or a regimented rule that stresses you out or makes you feel like an ascetic monk who can have no fun. Choose what truly nourishes you. Choose what brings you joy. Choose what may require more discipline on your part but that results in you receiving the benefit of feeling more vibrant, connected, and aligned. Then go into your life, and as you observe yourself about to self-sabotage, make a different choice.

Remember the four stages of personal transformation — awareness, reflection, change in the moment, and integration — and when you waver or falter, apply self-compassion instead of self-criticism to come back to the commitment you have to your sustainability, wellness, and true heart’s desires for your life.

Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shifts happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers workshops globally and lives near Seattle. Visit her online at http://www.OverwhelmedandOverIt.com.    

Excerpted from the book Overwhelmed and Over It. Copyright ©2020 by Christine Arylo. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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Christine Arylo Written by Christine Arylo

Explore Wellness in 2021