The last thing I wanted to do as a kid was to make my bed. If I had a quarter every time I heard "Go make your bed" from my parents, I'd be a millionaire. I never understood the point - "What's the use of making it in the morning when I'm just going to get back in it at night?" And now, at the age of 32, I know why.
It makes me feel amazing!
Because now I've realized...
The small things you do on a daily basis affect your overall well-being.
What you do at the beginning of the day affects the rest of your day.
Being able to do the little things can help you to handle the big things.
And to be honest, I didn't understand this until recently. About 5 months ago I started to make my bed every morning. It was like an experiment for myself. Is this really going to do anything? Will it help me in any way?
To my amazement, things changed. I became more productive. That simple task in the morning set me up to do other things around my home that I was putting off. I did my dishes more, I made my lunch at night, I tidied up. And to top it off, it didn't seem as overwhelming like it might have felt in the past. It was a different kind of feeling. Even walking into my bedroom at the end of the day made me feel really good about myself, like a weight of worry being lifted. I was clean, organized and taking care of myself. It also allowed me to expand in other areas. If I didn't need to focus on my home (I was already secure in that area), I could focus on other things in my life, like spending time with family/friends.
But you might be thinking...this all happened because you made your bed? Really???
You be the judge. You might have that "what's the point?" mentality like I had before the experiment. We might not fully realize the difference if you don't make the change. But think about it - You get home from a stressful day at work or school, possibly exhausted. You walk into your bedroom and see your sheets and comforter in disarray. Maybe some clothes are on the floor and things scattered around. How do you feel? How would it feel to have to pick these things up? (be honest) And when you don't pick them up and go into another room, imagine how that feels (to know it's not cleaned up). Then imagine how it feels in the morning when you know you didn't pick it up. Awful, unmotivated, overwhelmed, "lazy." And the cycle begins again. Don't forget that you judge yourself for that too! Why can't I just clean up after myself? Why am I so lazy? What's wrong with me? I should be able to clean up my bedroom.
I get it. I've been there. Where there's a mess in your home, you may feel a mess in your head. You're scattered, unorganized and not sure what to do about it. And you can't understand why it's this way.
Recently, someone said to me "I know it might sound ridiculous but I can't wait to clean my house and get organized." I told her that it was not ridiculous - that it was self-care. She is taking care of herself by organizing and cleaning the space she lives in. And that includes making her bed.
When our bed is made, it's energetically saying that we value the space where we sleep. That we value ourselves. We could also look at it as stability. When the bed is made, we are stable. We can handle the bigger things that life throws at us because the little thing is done. It's a shift in our care for ourselves. "I make my bed because I care about myself." A friend said to me recently, "When I started making my bed, it made me less likely to get back in it (to take naps). It made me motivated to do other things." Self-care.
In 2014, Navy Adm. William McRaven gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas expressing his views of how the graduating class can "change the world." His first recommendation, something he learned in Navy Seal training, was to make your bed. And while I don't believe we need to make our bed "perfectly" as he described, I agree that by doing this simple task, it can help us do more. "And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."
Watch the commencement speech HERE
When I started to notice the difference in myself, I came across a Psychology Today article about how making your bed can change your life. In it, there were some statistics given: "71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy. Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested, whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired. All in all, bed makers are happier and more successful than their rumple-sheeted peers."
So you could ask, what comes first? Are you making your bed because you're already happy or are you happy because your making your bed? Why not try an experiment to find out what it's like for you? <3 <3
Do you. Be yourself. Be true to who you are.
You hear it all the time. And it's great advice. But, to be honest, it can be misguided.
How can you be you when you may not know who you really are?
And the way to find out who you really are is to first look at how we define ourselves. There are a multitude of ways - we can look at our life roles, our choices, our relationships, our past.
Or we can look deeper than all that? (It's always deeper, don't ya know?) Are we more than what we show the outside world?
Here's my take:
I believe that within each of us is this essence, the inner self, our soul. I believe that is who you are. But most, if not all of us, get caught up in the conditions we put around our "selves" to find the definition of who we are. We define ourselves by the roles we play, the choices we make and the people we surround ourselves with.
Some call this outside behavior the ego or the shadow. We need it to survive and it allows us to be human beings (and not just animals being able to survive!). But when we believe these identities are who we are, we miss the deeper part of ourselves. But they shield us from connecting to others, cloud our awareness, distort our feelings about ourselves and block us from love and life. We start to believe things that are not true to our essence.
I could call myself a female, introverted vegetarian therapist who's also a sister, daughter and aunt. I could identify myself as the choices I make in friends and exercise, calling myself a yogi or seeker. But I am also an emotional eater who does not always choose the best options for myself. I swear a bit too much with my clients, drive a little too fast and do not always act according to who I am as a person. But that doesn't mean that is all of me.
When clients come to me and tell me: "Well I got really pissed at her. I flipped out." I often respond with "Well, that doesn't sound like you." And they often say back "Right, it's not me." Because they know that deep down they are not those behaviors. Their essence is not angry. Maybe they become angry on the outside but that's not who they are on the inside.
Because the true essence of us is deep within. It's the part that's loving, caring, forgiving and kind. It's the non-judgmental part of you that gives to the homeless person not knowing where the money is going but gives anyway. It's the empathetic part of you that cares for children half-way around the world and cries at those commercials. It's the explorer in you, the part of you that brought you to this post. It's the part of you that keeps going through life, searching for your path and your truth.
But you can only find it through stillness and self-awareness (...and therapy!). (Your intuition, that's who you are. Check out my post about it HERE) And don't be surprised that you may not have a concrete definition of who you are by looking within.
So the next time you say: "I'm being true to myself. I'm just being myself," ask yourself - where is this coming from? my outer self or my soul?
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?