Definitely time for a new podcast, and in this episode I chat about morning habits, trying to follow what works for you in a world that cries out for more effort, more productivity, more of everything… Can we just keep our sanity, at least in the mornings, and gather ourselves with mindful moments and sweet rituals.
Season 2 on the Podcast and Healthy Habits
Episode 5: The Habit of Mindful Mornings
One of the places where folk really try to recreate “living their best life” and generate great habit after great habit is in their morning routines. I am going to give you a hint… the best place to get started on a good morning routine is the night before.
The trap we do fall into is trying to make our mornings perfect… we basically try and fit in too much. You will hear morning experts who spend twenty minutes on exercise, twenty minutes on journaling, twenty minutes stretching, twenty minutes creating a wonderful pre-packed lunch and twenty more minutes doing who knows what else… and in order to get to work on time you have to get up earlier and earlier and then even earlier. And then habit experts will suggest that after twenty one days, when you are in the swing of things, you can turn those twenty minutes into half an hour and slowly extend it… I am going to whisper… that is madness.
I am just going to suggest that keeping it really ridiculously simple is the way to go… I’ll say that again: ridiculously simple. In fact, I am going to suggest that if you are working really hard on your morning routine and your mornings are one disaster after another, that you need to get to bed a little earlier and get a longer sleep into your day… nothing cancels out chaos like having your sleep under control.
To be honest my very favourite mornings are the ones with a little margin in them… time is my morning friend… and I really hate to rush. A morning rush can set a grumpy tone for the entire day… well slept means that I don’t have to wake up to an alarm and that works for me… I wake up at about the same time everyday…
If you plan to get up and get moving… make sure your workout clothes are lying on the chair next to your bed… it is even easier to put on workout clothes when they are right there… than it is to rummage through your closet for your everyday clothes. Make the gym clothes accessible, easy to grab and your first battle is won. If I am training for an event then I like to get my first workout of the day in super early, long before my family wakes up. My gym bag is packed and I don’t even count that as part of my morning routine!!!. My day can begin once I have been for that early run or that early swim. And if I am not training for an event, then that extra sleep is pure gold and just as valuable to my health as any workout.
I have to add in here, that I don’t ever linger longer in bed, I do think if you start a day with the intention of getting stuff done, then you do need to get up and get going… that doesn’t mean rushing or jamming a million things into it… it just means that as I wake up, so I get up. (It does help that my husband and I have a thing that the last person up makes the bed… I hate making the bed… you can figure out why I am so motivated to get up!!!
I think part of why we enjoy slower mornings or freshly ground coffee, is that it takes a little longer… it is the ritual. My morning ritual is a wander through the house, I open doors and windows and let all the air in. I feed the fish, say hi to the bunny and let the dogs out to play. Then I water the plants and check for any new and exciting growth, its just a thing that I do in the quiet of the day and I enjoy it. It is my favourite way to greet the day.
From there I step out into the sunlight and my morning begins with reading a chapter of the book I am reading at the time… and my own personal breakfast, which is usually yogurt and sunflower seeds. Once the kids are up getting their breakfast and starting their day I can forget about breakfast… so I sort myself out first!!! I like to step outside my front door and catch some daylight, eat my breakfast and read for a few minutes… there is no chore that can’t wait a couple of minutes. The whole house has been waiting all night anyway.
After I have been reading a while and my clog kids have left for the day… My teens are usually rousing, but they are all quite big enough to get their own breakfast and they also seem to like a little peace and quiet before the day really gets started. They don’t know it, but I gift this time to them… and I am happy to leave them in peace.
Once my moment of peace over… I move to my desk, I still haven’t checked my phone or looked at my laptop… that can wait. I keep a notebook on my desk and the top page is my page for the week… I write down things that I need to do as I think of them. On that page I have our schedule for the week and I literally jot things down as I go. Most evenings I circle three things and only three things, on the page to tackle for the day.
While I am at my desk, I make a mental note on what we are having for lunch, because in the scheme of homeschooling I need a plan… if I head into the day without a plan then I tend to forget and wilting scholars will look at me at lunchtime as if I am the worst mother on earth… their priority is simply to get from meal to meal in a day… I have a slightly different focus.
Let's go back to my list of three things: Something for our house, lately I have been cleaning out unsuspecting corners; Something for work: think about my next insta story, gather some materials for a blogpost and so on. and something for me... because in the scheme of life moms get lost in the mix... so I will message a friend ; schedule a little garden time or remind myself about an online art class I can join... something for me in my day... every single day.
Once I have my plan in place for the day... I am good to go. Only then do I chase down chores, and get to the kitchen table for a morning of school. But it all begins with a collection of little habits that gather together to make my morning routine.