My morning routine – fitting in daily inspiration with kids
One of my most simple pleasures when I’m on vacation is my morning routine. I like to get up before the family and sit on the balcony or porch to have a cup of coffee, by myself.
I love to see the day just as it’s coming alive. The fog often still hanging low against the mountains, the birds just starting to forage around. It’s a beautiful time of day, and by far my favorite.
Sometimes the things we love most about vacation are the biggest indicators of what we need to integrate more of into our daily lives.
And so, it’s been an exciting realization for me that this vacation ritual does not have to be saved for vacation.
In the last year, I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy focusing on becoming more mindful, living into my sense of purpose, and enjoying the simple things. One of the biggest change agents for that has been my morning routine. It has now been over a year that I’ve woken up early nearly every weekday, just for the sake of “me” time, and it’s rather amazing.
So for those of you who might want to start your day off with more peace and inspiration, I’d like to share the what, how & why of how a morning routine can help reframe your entire day.
What: The morning routine
I have adopted the habit of free-writing three pages – a brain dump if you will – each day, a routine outlined by Julia Cameron in the book The Artist’s Way and sanctioned by creatives throughout the world as the best way to tap into their own internal sense of meaning and mindfulness daily.
My journalling helps get all the thoughts that usually are circling in my head out and on paper. I use it to write what I am planning for the day (I write in the margins reminders to myself that I then put in my to-do list later), what I am grateful for, and to consider what is truly important in my day and life. In the past, I wouldn’t visit these thoughts daily, and getting the to-do’s out of my head as well as considering my priorities and how they match with my time on a daily basis has been invaluable.
But my routine doesn’t stop there. I began really thinking about the peaceful, mindful practices that I’d love to incorporate into my life, but hadn’t found time for. I knew right away what they were: yoga and reading the news. I followed the advice of ZenHabits.net blogger, Leo Baubata, and started by setting aside 5 minutes per day for each of these activities – a small enough chunk that I could fit them in just by getting up a little earlier.
Reading the news was always something I wanted to do more of – I just felt I wasn’t informed enough about deeper issues going on in the world around me. But it has an extra benefit that I hadn’t anticipated. Whenever I’m stuck in my own head about a problem or concern, reading about other’s troubles, or other’s accomplishments, always gives me a matter of perspective that helps lift me out of my narrow focus and inspire me. The world is so much bigger than my troubles, it reminds me.
How: The morning schedule
I get up each day about 45 minutes earlier than I used to in order to fit in my morning routine. In turn, I go to bed a little earlier. I’ve essentially traded in some TV time in the evening for my added routine in the mornings.
I can fit in my morning routine even when taking care of the kids, because my kids have learned that I’m unavailable first thing in the morning.
A sample schedule of my mornings:
Why: The daily benefit
Before I started my morning routine, I didn’t know what I was missing by not dedicating this time to start my day on the right foot.
The fact that I can get up, have some mindful time for me before jumping into all the things that my kids, spouse, and work demand from me helps me prioritize what truly matters to me, instead of being in reaction mode. I no longer get ready at the last minute possible and rush from one thing to the next to keep on schedule.
It helps me believe in my power to take care of myself and start my day off right.
The other day, while I was sitting on my front porch journalling, watching the clouds move in front of the hills, I thought, “This is just like what I love to do on vacation. But, wow, I get to do this every day!”
Do you have a mindful morning routine?
I’ve love to hear about things you do to start your day off right.