Counseling & Coaching

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Do you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Or have those days that take a turn for the worse? So do I—in fact, we all do. We stay up too late and suffer the next day; we have unexpected car trouble; we let our laziness affect our productivity. The list goes on and on… simply put, we don’t always have the best days. And we blame it on the unfortunate events that took place that morning or afternoon, like the coffee we spilt all over ourselves, or the negative mood we woke up in. But if you ask me, the real reason we have consistently bad days is that we don’t put in the effort to make them good days. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start doing so. Licensed mental health counselor and life coach Dr. Jamie Kulaga is here to teach us how to have better days, every day. Simply follow her seven tips:

    1) Think positive.

    According to Kulaga, it all starts with your mindset: “One small positive thought can change your entire day. If you wake up and are annoyed with it being Monday (or Tuesday-Friday) and get your mind into dread mode for the week/day to come, your week/day will indeed be long, negative and dreadful. If you wake up, and you’re excited for new opportunities, you’re looking forward to being productive, and you’re grateful for another day of life, you will have a very different week/day than the former example.”

    2) Get up early.

    Kulaga says that waking up early can also pay off. “Don’t start off your day late, behind and procrastinating. When you start your day late and rushing, you step right into high stress mode, always trying to “catch up”—and that’s stressful!” she says. “Start your day a few minutes early so you aren’t rushing and screaming at people all before 9 a.m. Walk into your day more positive and upbeat. In fact, try listening to a favorite song or podcast, reading something motivational or spiritual. Take hold of the day before it takes hold of you.”

    3) Eat breakfast.

    Another important step in having a good day is fueling your body—and it’s something we should all prioritize, according to Kulaga: “Okay, I get it: you aren’t hungry in the morning. Neither is the rest of the population. You are also very busy and have no time… so is the rest of the population. Those are excuses. Eat. Find something healthy to grab and eat it: on-the-go oatmeal, a banana, a homemade smoothie. Just eat. Starting your day with food will give you energy, will keep your blood sugar in check, and can decrease your chances of higher calorie food choices later in the day.”

    4) Drink water.

    Kulaga goes on to highlight the importance of further nourishing your body with water upon waking up: “Caffeine! I know you need to be caffeinated, and that’s okay. But you also need water for hydration and to wake up your organs. Go ahead and enjoy your coffee, but first, give your body a bottle of water, then celebrate with much-needed caffeine. Water lubricates the joints early in the morning, gets your metabolism going, and wakes up your organs. If you want your body to be good to you all day, at least give it a nice wake-up call and some love early on.”

    5) Take clarity breaks.

    Another key to having a good day is giving yourself a break every now and then: “If you fail to take breaks, you may find yourself stressed or stuck on the same issues for hours on end. Sometimes, a 5- to 10-minute break can bring a whole new thought process or sense of clarity that can allow you to be even more productive on a task when you get back to your to-dos for the day. Taking a mental or clarity break can help you to decrease stress and see new perspectives.”

    6) Stop gossiping with toxic people.

    Kulaga also recommends you cut toxic people out of your life: “There are people all around you that hate their job, life, success level, etc. They hate every software update, every new policy, the boss, the dog, the weather, etc. Don’t associate with these people—they are highly stressful. Their negativity will rub off on you and you will begin to hate every software update, every new policy, the boss, the dog, the weather, and soon, your life. The toxic people are not thinking of goals and how to grow themselves, they are finding the next thing to pick at or find wrong. Stop talking with them.”

    7) Speak up.

    Finally, Kulaga says speaking up will work to your benefit. “When you hold in your accomplishments and then get passed up for a promotion, it’ll eat you alive and create anger and stress when you step foot into work.” Kulaga’s tip to you is to, “talk about what you are doing. You are not egotistical or bragging when you tell people about your projects and successes at work. It’s all in the way you communicate those points anyway. Speak up so you get an opportunity at what you have already earned.”

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