Updated: Dec 3, 2020
So, I posted to my Instagram @livingliferatedpg that I am not a morning person. Because I'm not, I try to create a weekday routine that forces me to have some level of ownership in my morning routine. If you follow my social media, or if you've read any previous blogs, you might know that we sold our house earlier this year and are living in our "temporary" huddle. It's been a bit of a chore for me to really get back into my normal morning groove. But, like an old trooper, I've made some adjustments. It's not quite the same, but it will do for now. I've always worked from home throughout my career. I've been fortunate to have that flexibility in my line of work. I've been exclusively working from home for the past 2 years now. C19 has not drastically impacted that part of my life. If anything, I had to adjust to the rest of the world WFH and interfering with internet speeds. As a result, it's always been very important for me to be able to manage my workday. I was WFH when our children were much younger, and that made it critical to create a routine for my morning so that I'd be able to manage the rest of my day. Especially during the summer months, when they were home full time and I needed to factor in breaks, lunch, snacks, visits to the pool, park, emergency cuts, questions from kids, sibling fights, nap time, TV time, and anything else that comes up with 4 tiny tots. I really didn't have time for random interruptions, so save a few emergencies, when I began my workday, I needed the kids to be settled into their groove so I could settle into mine. So, while my morning routine has adjusted a little over the years, these 5 have always remained a rule of thumb. They might seem really simple (or difficult depending on how challenged you are with your current morning situation), but they could be true game-changers for you and how you are navigating the early hours of your day. So let's dig in.
I make up my bed - I'm sure someone has done a study about this, if not, they definitely should. There is something about making up your bed that lends itself to feeling like it's the first accomplishment of the day. We have a pretty big monster of a bed and it has its fair share of pillows. So every day is a test to see how quickly I can get it back to magazine ready. In our temporary huddle, a corner of our bedroom lends itself to my temporary office. So before I can fully immerse myself in the attention of the day, the sleeping space needs to find its way back to "show-ready". Making my bed also helps me resist the temptation to climb back in, yet, making it up creates an inviting allure to come back to it in a few hours. Making my bed also lends itself to creating some order as part of an established routine. Making my bed makes my space feel tidy...I can totally get the day started.
Stretch and Breathe - So I believe that stretching and breathing (just short of yoga), helps to wake the body and the mind. I need to take in oxygen and get the kinks out. While I have no scientific or medical evidence, I think that stretching and inhaling air helps to promote good brain activity. It helps to circulate blood and reminds me that I'm alive. I used to hear older people say when I was younger, "when you wake up, get up and when you get up, put your hands on something". So, I get up and put my hands on the floor and stretch my back. I feel like I'm making them proud to know I was paying attention.
I get dressed - Okay...so as much as I've tried, I can't lounge around in my pajamas. Like the only time my pj's are worn is when it's time for bed. That doesn't mean that I don't work in lounge clothes, just not my sleeping pajamas that I wear to bed. Just wanted to be very clear. So, it goes without saying (but, I'm going to say it)...I do this after my bathroom activities, but I'm not sharing that. But, getting dressed helps define the day. If I weren't working from home, I'd need to get dressed to leave home and head to the office. So, just because the office is a few steps away, I try to maintain the same level of energy.
Morning Coffee - So I'm not a big breakfast eater, but liquid courage is a requirement. Not that I need coffee to wake me up or anything, but it's hot. I need a hot liquid in the morning. Coffee is my go-to, but Tea is also acceptable. It's sorta my food source. It's also the segway to the most important part of my morning routine.
Morning Meditation and Prayer - Okay, this right here is the piece d' resistance. This quiet time, with my morning coffee, is by far the most important part of the entire morning, and might I even go as far as to say, the most important part of my entire day. Making time to still myself in the morning, before I check email, take a call, or do anything is a requirement. If I miss this time in the morning, I'm searching for another opportunity to get this right. I need to be able to settle everything around me, including myself and my own thoughts. My mind is constantly running. So this time to sit with God, with nature, with coffee, it grounds me (no pun intended). I can start the day with gratitude. Reminding myself of all I'm grateful for, every blessing, and another opportunity to try again. I also spend a little time thinking through the previous day, things I can work on, areas I can do and be better. But most of all, I get to sink in and be reminded of grace.
This is my how to get started every weekday morning routine. There are some aspects that lend to these activities, that I don't mention, but these are the highlights and the important parts. I definitely make time to check email, review my calendar and go over my to-do lists...but these are my pre-game activities. Without these, I'm noticeably grumpy and disjointed in a sense. I need to make time for myself to get the day STARTED RIGHT, versus just trying to start the day. I'm not saying that this will work for you, or if you do exactly the same thing, it will drastically change your entire life and all will be well. But I am saying that you should consider defining a morning routine. Maybe not every morning, but definitely the mornings where work and school are involved. You might find that it has a positive impact on your morning productivity. My routine takes about 1.5 hours. I'm not one of those roll out of bed and just start working types. I need some structure and I need time to ease into my morning. When the kids were younger, I needed to make sure I had enough time for myself in the morning so I could have the energy I needed for them. However, you are able to manage your day, especially these days...if it's working, be proud of yourself. If you could use some adjustments, be patient with yourself, but try to make them. Try different things until you identify what works for you and your family. Whatever you decide, if it lends itself to sanity and getting a little more accomplished, then you owe it to yourself to just be grateful for that. Either way, you're doing great. Celebrate those small victories...you deserve it.
As always, these are absolutely my thoughts...