Affirmations to Set up Your Day for Success
Imagine waking up in the pre-dawn morning, and your stomach is growling. You had flopped into bed exhausted the night before, and you have a big day ahead of you today too. You need to eat a proper breakfast. You meander out of bed and make your way down the stairs, rubbing the sleep from your eyes. But instead of turning left into the kitchen...you walk out the door and to the minivan in the driveway, and you start collecting the stale fries from McDonald’s that are on the floor and in the seat cracks.
It’s absurd to consider fueling your body with such an empty breakfast, but until recently, that is exactly how I was fueling my mind each day: thoughts that left me feeling empty and dissatisfied, snowballing until my mental to-do list felt like a fast moving tide rushing in and flooding any productivity.
There has been much discussion lately on the mental load women carry, especially during this pandemic, and the crushing weight of all the small but significant responsibilities have left many women feeling an acute sense of resentment and anxiety.
It’s just this season of life, I used to tell myself. Young kids, homeschooling during a pandemic...I’m supposed to be this tired, I guess. But as the national dialogue has started to include the mental health of collective society, I have finally accepted a truth that I had been dismissing for too long: it’s hard being at home and juggling family, work, managing the home, and more. Even honoring time for self-care, delegating certain responsibilities, and lowering expectations, managing a home and educating our children is a daunting task. Period.
Well before the events of 2020, my morning routine was non-existent. Not unless you count getting poked in the face bright and early by a hungry toddler and misplacing my coffee multiple times as I addressed each of my kids’ seemingly urgent requests and needs. And after weeks, months, and years of this repetitive and draining routine, my energy was chronically low and my mental health suffering.
With a nudge from the husband, I started working with a coach, and with her help my morning routine has been revamped in a way that feeds my mind nutrient-rich thoughts to sustain me, instead of those stale fries. At first I considered positive thinking to be superficial, and I half-heartedly spoke the affirmations my coach had prescribed. But the truth was, my thoughts had become so aimless and even hurtful to my self-image that I had to admit, my current habits were not working.
I have always taken pride in what my mind can do. It served me well through school, it fired the passion I had in my first job, and it continues to serve me as I contemplate and appreciate beauty in the arts and literature… but after so much time feeling isolated at home, missing out on adult conversation, being bombarded with a million little problems to fix everyday, my mind started to betray me. It drove out any sense of self-confidence and replaced it with insults. It dismissed my hard efforts as futile, told me I had no future...my mind was both bored and overwhelmed at the same time, and in its anger it turned on its host in an ugly way.
The mind is a part of the body that needs to be trained, just like certain muscle groups. The trouble was, I didn’t know how to properly do that. Thankfully, I reached out for advice and mentorship, and the results have been life-changing.
My morning routine is now a calming ritual that leaves me ready to jump up from my chair and tackle the day with intention, purpose, and creative problem solving. Here are just some of the things I tell myself each day:
I am a beloved daughter of God. This is the greatest title I could possibly claim.
I was made for greatness. This line from Pope Emeritus Benedict XV reminds me that I was not made for comfort. Becoming great is going to include some struggle, and that builds character.
I am flexible, but always rooted in my identity as a child of God. In the midst of diaper changes and homeschooling duties, scrubbing kitchen counters and sweeping floors, I have learned to adjust my schedule according to the needs of my kids. But lest I become discouraged in these mundane tasks, I am still God’s beloved, and there is infinite hope in that.
I am clothed with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, and the belt of truth. I carry the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word, and the shield of faith to deflect the lies of the enemy. This is my personal adaptation of Ephesians 6:17, describing the armor of God. The interior life is where spiritual warfare is won, and the image of armor reminds me of how important it is to guard my heart and soul.
My feet are shod to carry the Gospel to all creatures. Even during times of lockdowns and social distancing, I can still spread the Good News: through my actions, my kind and gentle words, and my subtle influence.
I am strong and disciplined. Even if the house looks messy at the end of the day, even if I feel like I left many things undone...the truth is that I managed to juggle so much, even with all the imperfections. I may feel like a hot mess mom, but ultimately the fact that I care so much and strive to grow is an indication of fierce determination.
I have influence. Both in my private vocation at home with my family, and over the channels of the internet, I have the power to encourage and bless those around me.
Focusing my mind on positive thoughts has channeled my mental energy to better serve my family, organize my day, and most importantly, keep perspective for all the countless responsibilities I carry. They no longer flood my thoughts in the morning until the point where I start to ruminate anxiously. Instead, they remind me that in the grand scheme of things, the mental load does not determine my worth. Yes, the daily work is hard, but it is my life’s work. It is a path to holiness; all those boring tasks carry tremendous meaning. No longer causes of anxious dread, these are opportunities for love, and the day is full of them.