Life gets busy. Whether you are a parent or not we all seem to have a to-do list a mile long. It is becoming more and more important to prioritize ourselves. I used to think that if I prioritized myself I was being selfish, I am sure many of you can relate.
I own and teach at a preschool, teach private piano and voice lessons, I am growing two online businesses and have my family responsibilities as well. If I am not organized with my week or I have not taken time for myself to do the things that energize me and fill my cup I get overwhelmed. Planning is a big part of how I keep myself feeling like I have things under control, lucky for me I am very A-type and I thrive on planning and schedules. This can sometimes be a detriment to my mental health though as I can tend to be quite rigid in certain areas of my life but that is a whole different blog topic.
Part of what I schedule within my day though is time for ME. This time typically happens in the morning before the day has really started for me. I find this the best time because if I wait to do it until afternoon something always seems to come up and I am never able to make time for it. My morning routine is really important to me. It energizes me and puts me in a headspace where I feel like I can be the best version of myself for all the people and tasks that require my attention throughout the day. Here is what a typical morning looks like for me.
1. Exercise. This is usually the first thing I will do often before I even have my coffee!! Yes, you read that right! I recently heard on a podcast that you should delay coffee intake for at least an hour after waking up because it doesn’t actually “wake you up” it just blocks adenosine which is one of the neurotransmitters that make you sleepy. This is why most people have a midafternoon crash because once the coffee wears off the adenosine is still in your system since the body did not properly deal with it. Also I exercise EVERY DAY. Some days may be less intense but I intentionally move my body every single day. This has proven to be one of the best ways for me to start my day right. I always feel better and ready to take on the day after I work out. I want to also mention that as a mother (or primary care giver) I know how difficult it can be to stay consistent with working out especially at first because you feel like if you are giving to yourself you are taking away from your children. This is absolutely not true and I intend on writing another blog on this topic. Giving to yourself will actually make you a more conscious, loving human.
2. Journal. Once I have come up from my work out (and grabbed my coffee!!) I write in my journal. I actually have TWO journals. The first one I write in is for my negative thoughts. It is modeled after the concept in Make Miracles in 40 Days by Melody Beattie. I take about 10 minutes and write all the things I am not happy with in my life but I say that I am grateful for it. If this intrigues you I definitely recommend you reading the book. Essentially the idea is to get it all out there, be brutally honest about what you are not happy with in your life or about yourself or things you think are holding you back from your past that way later in the day when your ego tries to step in the way of your greatness your subconscious already feels like that negative thought was addressed and doesn’t feed into it. After I get all the crap out of my head I write in my “feel good journal.” This one is strictly for positive thoughts, things I am truly happy with and grateful for in my life and affirmations.
3. Meditate. After my journaling is finished, my mind is free from it the negative clutter and I am all filled up with gratitude and hope for my future self, I meditate. This for me is the perfect time and since my body has already moved it is easier for me to sit still. Some like to do it first thing in the morning but I personally find it hard not to fall back asleep. Meditation has so many proven and researched benefits such as reducing stress, increase emotional awareness, reduction in memory loss and lower blood pressure to just name a few.
I have made these three things a priority each morning because I know how much I benefit from them both physically and mentally. As I mentioned I am a mother and I have a work schedule to keep so most days I am up by about 5:30am to give myself enough time to make sure I get all of this in before my day becomes filled with other obligations. That might seem like a feat for some and I get it. If you have a younger child at home and your sleep is mediocre at best perhaps 5:30am won’t work for you OR maybe you just need to start smaller and build up to a great morning routine. I only in the past year developed the habit of journaling and mediating but it was after almost a year of exercising every day. If you don’t take the first step in the direction you want to head you’ll never get there but if you are consistent even if you think you are not doing much it will accumulate, trust me. So start building the morning routine that allows you to show up for YOURSELF each day. You won’t regret it…and your babies are watching.