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'Bookends': Why The Last and First Moments of Your Day Are So Important

This week, 'Therapy Begins with T(ea)' steeps on how important the last and first moments of your day are for your wellbeing & offers a full body check-in to help you figure out what your ideal 'bookends' are.

well-balanced and mindful life

Therapy Begins with T(ea) is a weekly newsletter based on the themes that come up in my sessions as a therapist who specializes in conflict & attachment in romantic relationships, shame & imposter syndrome, and our psychological relationships with money. Each week consists of a 'steep' in thought reflection, an accompanying body based check-in, and tea card intentions for the week to come. Its intended use is for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for individualized medical or mental health treatment.

'Steep' in Thought (3-5 min)

WE lean towards the In-BETWEEN

Are you familiar with that poem, “The Dash”? The one that encourages you to think about what you want your ‘dash’ to represent on your gravestone. The poem’s a tad cliche, but the sentiment is appreciated by many -- we like the reminder that we get to decide what we’re defined by. And that same sentiment is true on a smaller scale -- at any point in the day between waking up and going to sleep, we have the opportunity to change course/adjust. But I think we sometimes forget the power those bookends -- our last and first moments of the day -- do have in setting the tone (for the day ahead, and when stacked together, for our life). So let’s talk about them.

THe last & First moments (yes, the order is intentional)

Let’s start with how you end the day, that little bit of time before we sleep. What does that look like for you? Maybe you have a nighttime routine. Maybe that nighttime routine is laying in bed scrolling through social media (or emails for all you workaholics) until your head lols or you see how late it’s gotten. No judgment here, but whatever it is, whatever mood/state of mind it puts you in, does that line up with the mood and state of mind you want to wake up with?

The same gentle inquiry goes for your first moments in the morning. What does waking up usually look like for you? What do you do and how do you feel? Personally, this mindset gives me perspective on hitting the snooze button. The thought of starting (and continuing) my day on a delay doesn’t sit well with me; it makes me feel rushed and anxious. Of course, there are still days I do it (and gladly take the needed extra rest), but, generally, I like to wake up early (so I don’t feel any rush) and then move slowly & simply through my morning. That’s what feels good for me; for you, it could be entirely different. But the question is still worth asking yourself -- does however you start your day (and the mood/state of mind it puts you in) align with the tone you want to set for the day ahead?

For both questions: if the answer is ‘it does’, keep it up! If it doesn’t, experiment with these first/last moments a little and see how you feel throughout your day.

To help you figure out what your bookends are, try out this week’s full body check-in.

Full Body Check-In (2-4 min)

Sync up with your breath. Notice it. Breathe in and feel the air fill your lungs and torso. Breathe out through your mouth, hearing your body sigh and soften. As you repeat these cycles of breath, focus on the sounds. Listen for the breath itself and for the silence in between breaths. In slow, out slower. For today’s check-in, try reading through this guide first and then practicing it yourself, eyes closed.

On your next exhale, imagine yourself waking up. Your eyes flicker open. You’re in bed. What do you want to feel in this moment as you wake up? What state of mind do you want to be in? Try out calm, safe, and curious. If you woke up feeling calm, safe, and curious, how would your morning look? Imagine yourself now -- how and when would you get out of bed? What would you do after? Does calm, safe, and curious mean stretching your body? Does it mean a cozy drink or washing up? How can you take calm, safe, and curious into your morning? How can you take it into your day? Imagine it. Walk yourself through your day.

At the end of the day, as you’re winding down for bed, what would calm & safe look like in action? Would it be time on or off your phone? Would it be a book or audiobook? Would it be a practice of mindful breathing? What would set you up for the next day? What would help you wake up feeling calm, safe, and curious?

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