Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I will be the first to admit I didn’t always greet the new morning with a smile – there are still days when I greet the day with a groan before I grab my gratitude journal and realize all that I was thankful for the day before and then I start to smile! Greeting the new morning with a cheerful embrace takes work, I know. Like most of you (yes, I know that’s a broad, sweeping statement) I used to jump out of bed, fumble around trying to find something – anything – that would fit and would work for my day ahead. I’d grab a cookie or pretzels, a cup of coffee then race to the car. Whew. No wonder I was crabby and frazzled.
Even before I started my own business and started working from home I knew I needed to make a change in my morning routine. I truly didn’t like going to bed dreading the coming morning. My first wake-up call was when I realized that my crabby mood was making my kids crabby and that didn’t make for a good morning for any of us as we were rushing to the bus stop. The second wake-up call came when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Gulp! After I’d gotten through my surgeries and had recovered I realized how lucky I was to still be alive and after that I knew I had to make changes – changes in my morning routine that would stick – not just be feeble attempts at change.
Here are some steps I have incorporated to make my morning routines work for me and to make my mornings – and the rest of my day – flow more smoothly:
- Get out of bed earlier. I know. I know. This is tough, especially if you already get up before the crack of dawn. But even if you get yourself up 30 minutes earlier (you can do it gradually by getting up ten minutes earlier every day until you’ve worked up to 30 minutes) you can help calm a chaotic morning.
- Just because you’re getting out of bed earlier, doesn’t mean you have to immediately start working. Look at your 30 minutes as a gift to yourself. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Take a longer walk with your pet. Kick back and catch up on your favorite television show that you never quite get to during the week. If you decide to work those extra minutes of the day, then make it be work on a personal project – not client work. You can work on client work during your regular work day. Make the morning your own.
- Don’t let your new morning routine become a jumble of doing it all. It is a hard thing to simply take time for yourself, I know. Consider this 30 minute window a gift to you and your mental health and to your having a fantastic day ahead. If you really want to claim the morning as your own, don’t get dressed before you leave the bedroom. Brush your teeth if you want, but don’t put on your make-up or your work clothes. Wear your favorite robe or pajamas – this will help trick your brain into thinking that you’re still on down time.
- Make your morning something to look forward to. Perhaps you will treat yourself to an extra special treat or a dive into a guilty pleasure novel or television show. Perhaps you will get back to journaling. I have a book of writing prompts that I sometimes use to jump start my creativity and I will journal. I still also do my Morning Pages as I have for several years. I learned about them in the Artist’s Way book and in classes I taught about the Artist’s Way. Consider adding journaling to your morning routine. Maybe it will be a cup of coffee on the deck with your feet up. If you have something to look forward to, it will make getting up earlier even easier. I am re-reading a book by Hal Elrod called, “Miracle Morning: The not so obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8 am.”
- Enjoy the quiet. This, for me, is an impossibility. I have a need for constant background noise so even if I am trying to be mindful, I need to have the buzz of background noise, whether from a television or talk radio in the background. If you can enjoy the absolute peace and quiet of a morning, I urge you to do that.
- Do not check your smartphone or computer for email or Facebook comments. Bringing your computer or phone into your 30 minute time space will drag you into work and will also put you into a reactive mode and ruin your 30 minutes. Trust me, I know. When I get up for my early time I leave my phone in the room and don’t even open my office door. I know that work time will come soon enough, but I didn’t get up earlier than usual to add an additional 30 minutes of work to my day.
Are you motivated to get up earlier? Do you think it would help elevate your mood and your overall day?