Reflect and Appreciate; Strategies for Daily Life



It’s crazy to think how much has changed in the last 4 weeks.

I am transitioning away from being a student, although I can’t yet say that into what exactly. It’s still a while until I’ll be able to practice Chinese medicine. So until then, I am making the most of my ‘vacation’ and adjusting the best I can to life after school.

It’s quite different on the other side of school. Time moves oddly, for one. For some of my graduated classmates I have talked to, these past few weeks found them aimless and accomplishing seemingly little with our unstructured time. There were definitely times when I almost went down that rabbit hole of thinking I haven’t done enough, but I made a concerted effort to avoid those feelings of doubt and uncertainty and embrace the freedom that surrounds me.

Clear intentions and reflection has been the key. I start my day with a hearty breakfast, then curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and my notebook. Talk about luxury! It is so nice to be able to have an easy, relaxing morning. First I free write appreciations. It may sound vague, but I just think of one thing I appreciate and go from there. Appreciations are important because when I do them, I see that everything around me is indeed a wonderful expression of life that I am pleased to engage with. Here’s a perfect example:

Doing dishes without taking the time prior to get in the mood of appreciation is a boring, mundane task that takes time and energy away from the more fun and important things I want to do. Basically, it is a bummer and an interruption.

After appreciation, doing dishes is a task that is easy and painless which contributes to the overall goal I have of keeping the house clean and always ready for entertaining and creating delicious, healthy food every day.

One little change of attitude about something so utterly simple and seemingly silly has completely transformed my days. After I get in the appreciation mode, I then write my to-do list and identify my desires for the day. You have to know what you want before you can achieve it, no?

Throughout my day I continually jot down ideas and notes in my notebook that come up while I am working, cleaning, cooking, gardening, running errands, and so on.  I also write reflections about how things are going and what I could do to make whatever I am working on run even smoothly.

At the end of the day before I drift to sleep, I think of all the things I did that day, all the contributions I made, moments shared, dreams dreamed and tasks accomplished. Nothing is too small to be appreciated, every task contributes to the grande scheme of the whole of our lives. In fact, it is those little things, like taking out the trash or putting the dishes away that constitute the bulk of living and thus should be appreciated.

Some days it seems that nothing gets done, but when I look closer, I find that I did quite a lot when I count every little thing that I did. Before I started to count every little thing I did in a day, I went to bed almost every night thinking that I didn’t do enough. Then I woke up the next day feeling like I have to race the clock and push through the weights of fatigue to get anything done. Who needs that? Why not go to bed feeling satisfied about the day, ready to do it all again the next?

It’s not easy to always be appreciative, or to make the time to reflect. But when I do, I am always glad I did.

About Celia

I live in Portland, OR in a orange stucco apartment building surrounded by wild gardens. I love plants, yoga, going for walks, the Oregon wilderness, photography, gardening, herbal tea and creating. My Etsy shop is KyraBotanica, where I sell handmade herbal tea and natural body care products and fragrances.

2 thoughts on “Reflect and Appreciate; Strategies for Daily Life

  1. Love this post. I fell into that rabbit hole trap when I finished grad school. I suddenly had all the free time I missed in grad school, but I felt like I couldn’t fill it with anything “productive.” It is so inspiring to see how you are incorporating reflection and an appreciative attitude in your daily life.

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