Sid Madge, founder of Meee, shares his quick tips to help working dads get their day off to a winning start
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. He shares some quick hacks to help working dads start their day the right way.
Morning means get the kids out of bed, feed the kids, make sure the kids get to where they need to be. Looking after your children is important, but you need to look after yourself too, and part of that is making mornings about you too. Get your morning right, and that work you need to take care of after the kids are sorted will be so much easier.
I’ve written three books on ‘micro-moments’ for life, work and family. Each ‘Meee in a Minute’ book offers 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that offer us quick, practical ways to recalibrate how we feel and nudge ourselves into a more helpful and constructive mindset.
Here are 5 micro-moment ideas to help you start your morning off right so you set yourself up for a fantastic day.
There is great old fable about a King asking a group of blind men to touch and describe an elephant.
The first blind man runs his fingers along the elephant’s trunk and compares it to a pipe or hose. The second blind man, his palms pressed against the elephant’s side, is confused by this and says, “No, it’s like a wrinkly wall”. The third man, who has a hold of the elephant’s leg says that they are both wrong; for him, the elephant is like a tree trunk. And finally, the fourth blind man, gripping the elephant’s tail, disagrees with all of them and suggests an elephant is more like a rope or a bendy, rough stick. None of the men are aware of the whole elephant; none are experiencing the same thing. Instead, each is getting a partial perspective based on their experience. And yet, they’re all touching the same (patient) elephant.
First thing in the morning, what does your day feel like? An opportunity or an obligation? Likely, it’s both. We all have stuff we have to do and not all of it is pleasurable, but we can make our days much more enjoyable if we shift and/or expand our perspective. Take a minute at the start of each day to map out what you need to do and what you want to do and get stuck in with equal vigour for both. And remember, each day is a fresh opportunity to reset if you need to.
We share things all the time—anything from pizza to money—and when we share something, that act of sharing diminishes what we have. But this is not true of kindness. Kindness is the only thing in the world that increases when we share it. And that’s not just a lovely thought, it has been borne out by research. If we perform just one act of random kindness a day, we will experience less anxiety, stress and depression.
Additionally, our body is flooded with the same hormones that make both parties calmer, healthier and happier – a double whammy win. These hormones include: serotonin, the feel-good hormone; endorphins—they reduce pain; and oxytocin, which is the bonding hormone and helps to reduce blood pressure. But there is also a third winner in this kindness scenario – those who witness kindness are also more likely to pay if forward. Take a moment each morning to commit to a random act of kindness.
Even just a quick 10-minute power walk around the block to kick start your day can make a huge difference to the way you feel. If you are lucky enough to live near green space and nature, even better—who doesn’t love trees?
If you are unable to get outside, then there are loads of apps and many online videos (YouTube is your friend) that offer quick 7-minute HIT programmes or 10-minute yoga stretching. Take a minute to consider what you could do in the morning and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Most of us don’t realise that we can change the way we feel by either changing what’s going on in our mind or changing what’s going on in our body. Of course, the two are intertwined. This is why moving first thing in the morning is so beneficial – it changes what’s happening in the body, which influences the hormone levels that can impact mood. The food we eat also impacts how we feel, so pay attention to your breakfast choices. It may be a good idea to give the cereal bars a big miss – they are loaded with sugar.
But it’s not just about activity and nutrition. What else are you consuming that might negatively impact your mind? Do you sit at the breakfast table and watch or listen to the news? Do you read a newspaper or scroll through your social media feed? Take a moment to consider how your current morning ritual makes you feel. Is a diet of doom and gloom, conspiracy theories, fake news and alternative facts good for you? Give something else a try and see if you feel better. Listen to music or talk with your family about the day ahead. Or just plan your day.
These are challenging times. Don’t add to how tough it is by beating yourself up about poor choices or worrying about the stuff you can’t change or control. Take a minute to think about your life right now. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation you didn’t want or expect – most of us can relate to that! What have you learned about yourself as a result? Always remember, you have the power to turn a negative into a positive.
Constructive morning habits, not only around obvious things like physical activity and breakfast choices, but also what we listen to or think about in the morning can have a real impact on the rest of our day. When we manage our mornings, we give ourselves the best possible chance for a fantastic day.