My morning routine has literally changed my life. I know it sounds dramatic, but the more I read books or blogs like “The Four-Hour Workweek” or “AllieCasazza.com,” the more I realize people accomplish what they dream of accomplishing because of focus, clarity, and intentionality.
As of January 2017 I began a consistent morning routine. I was determined to figure out a solution to my anxiety and constant feelings of being in over my head – which had gradually crept up on me. So gradually, in fact, that it took me years to realize that anxiety was getting in the way of my creativity, mothering, and relationships.
I finally realized how anxious I had become when I was going to sleep one night and I felt jittery, anxious, upset and teary. But, I had no idea why. It was a generalized anxiousness about my life and the world – and I couldn’t calm down. SO, so scary.
As my husband held me while I tried to sleep, I realized something had to change. I couldn’t continue going through life with these feelings of overwhelm. I needed to find a new way. A way to be my best self – the self that’s creative, loving, empathetic, aware and achieving her dreams.
I knew that “best self” version of me was, actually, who I really am! Now, I needed to figure out how to find her again!
I immediately recognized a few things that were holding me back:
Staring at a screen at night with my little bit of precious child-free time – was NOT a good use of that time.
It wasn’t getting me closer to my goal of that “best self” version of me. Actually, mindless screen time was actively confining and controlling me. This was the time of night that I could be connecting with my spouse, creating or working on a dream project, reading, catching up with a friend, etc, etc. Read my post “Stop Watching TV | 8 Legit Reasons to Kill Your TV NOW! Scrolling through my Facebook feed and binge watching This is Us was not getting me closer to ANYTHING!
I needed to get back to journaling.
I used to journal nearly every day before I had children. It helped me clarify my emotions as well as get a handle on what might be going on in my life. It was a release for me, a safe place to notice and express subtle whispers that often become something more sinister if left to fester. Not only had I lost this point of release, the opportunities I had for any release were even fewer with all the demands kids and work and relationships put on my life!
I needed more clarity and focus for my life.
I wanted to return to living from my values and having a plan for the future. At that point, it felt like I was just surviving. That was NOT how I wanted my children to remember me, or how I wanted to remember myself!
These 3 revelations all led to beginning my morning with a routine. Although I HATE getting up early (I’m much more naturally a night owl), I realized that when I do get up early and begin my day with any kind of intentional activity, I am clear, focused and joyful throughout the day.
So, a morning, as opposed to a nighttime routine, it was. (I actually tried a nighttime routine as well, but I was WAY less likely to follow through. Mostly due to fatigue from the day).
Here are 6 life-changing benefits I’ve received from my morning routine (and that you can receive, too!):
My day has clarity, focus, and intention.
This has spilled into all areas of my life – my mothering, my work/business life, my physicality, my love life, my dreams. It has been so great to feel organized and let go of the overwhelm floating over my head all the time. Part of my morning routine includes a brain dump time that gets all those free-floating to-dos out of my head and organized into achievable tasks.
I am intentional, and connected, with my spouse.
How often have you left for the day and realized you haven’t even looked your spouse in the eyes? Sam and I have started taking about 5 minutes every morning and syncing our schedules. We see what the other has going on, who needs to be the shuttler for the kids’ activities, what the dinner plan is and who will be cooking it, etc. It’s not the most romantic thing, but we have felt more connected. And, I believe, it’s stopped disagreements that may have occurred due to lack of communication.
Look each other in the eyes and communicate!
I am stronger!
I had 4 babies in 6 years. To say I was out of shape would be a complete understatement! I have been doing yoga daily (I do skip a day here or there) since January of this year. I have this newfound physical strength that, surprisingly has led to increased vitality and worth in myself.
This physical strength has led to an improved outlook on myself and life in general. They say exercise increases endorphins – yoga is more than that, though. It has helped me to improve my self-worth which leads to an ability to take risks and be vulnerable – and that leads to a life more aligned with who I want to be!
I am less anxious.
As I stated earlier, part of my morning routine includes a brain dump as well as some free writing time. These exercises get all those free-floating anxieties, to-dos and troubles out of my brain and onto paper. Once they’re on paper, I find I don’t worry so much about them – I just schedule a time to get it done and move on! These simple writing exercises have decreased my anxiety to the point of none. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed – I do these two simple tasks and I can physically feel the anxiety drain away.
My day is scheduled.
After I do my free-writing and brain dumping for the day I usually end up with a list of tasks and to-dos that need my attention. Some need my attention today and some are more long range tasks. I take some time to rank those tasks based on priority.
I usually take some time to list and order the tasks in Trello – but the key is to start however you need to make some sense of it all! After I order the tasks by importance I take some time to draw out a rough schedule for my day.
I do this so I can put specific tasks that require quiet, during the time of day I actually have without a child yelling in my ear. And, second, so I can see what my day consists of and not be surprised and frustrated with forgetting to pick up the kids for swim team!
Dinner is planned (and, often, prepped).
So, I hear this all the time, “it’s amazing that you eat real food every night. I’m just too busy to make that happen.”
OK, brace yourself – YOU make choices that create your busyness. It’s up to you to decide if eating whole foods is important to you or not. If it is, choose to use your time for meal prep. Period.
You have the power to put more of your time into meal prep. Whole foods DO take more time to cook and prep – no lie – but there are workarounds! (I’m working on another post about how we cook with our crockpot and oven on a timer so that dinner is basically ready for us when we get home!)
All this to say, part of my morning routine is to see what we have on the menu for that day and put things in the crock pot or prep a side dish or make a salsa, etc. Get things ready to make the dinner hour much more pleasant for everyone – especially you, Mama!
There you have it. I truly believe this transformation is available to everyone. Please. Don’t get stuck in the narrative that says I’m somehow better than you. It’s not true. I know that we are all able to take control of our life and make changes.
If all of this feels too big – pick one thing on this list, get up 30 minutes before your children and start there. I think once you see the transformation awaiting you from even that one simple movement, you’ll be wanting MORE!
Please share and let me know what you’ve tried, what’s working for you or what you’re struggling with. Also, I recently learned and heard good things about “Miracle Morning” but haven’t read it yet. If you have please share!
Next week: a step-by-step outline of my morning routine and a Free-Writing/Brain Dumping Printable to get you started!
For now, if you’re looking for a way to begin living your life more aligned with your values get my FREE “Defining Your Values” Workbook HERE!