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Ah, mornings…they can be hectic, hurried, and downright stressful!
I don’t know about you, but as soon as my eyes open I start running through my to do list for the day in my head.
Not the most relaxing way to start the morning.
I’ve found that this makes me anxious, hurried, and starting the day with the feeling of scarcity.
There’s just not enough hours in the day to get it all done!
Or so my worried brain tells me.
I’ve been on a mission lately to slow our home. To slow me.
I’m tired of always feeling rushed, and hurried, and having my mind go a million miles a minute with what I need to do next.
So. I stopped.
This morning I woke up, thought about my plan for the day, and then said ‘enough’. I was determined that today would be a slow day.
I set my intention of slowness for the day by thinking through my to do list and then making a conscious decision to breathe.
‘There’s plenty of time to do this.’
What a small thing, right?
But what a HUGE difference in my day.
I got up, and leisurely had breakfast, drank a cup of coffee, played with my little, and enjoyed our morning.
We even went outside and blew bubbles!
I didn’t worry about vacuuming, mopping, or cleaning up (ok, I did think about it. This is a process!).
I just enjoyed the moments.
The funny thing is – when I looked at the clock – it was still early!
Even though we didn’t get up earlier. Even though it seemed like we spent FOREVER in the moment. There was still plenty of time to do everything I had planned for my day.
The only thing that had changed was my thinking about the time. And the way I felt about it.
By being fully present in the moment, I was able to stop worrying about the clock. I stopped my running to do list.
I was able to worry less about fitting everything in, and think more about what I was doing right now.
I’ve found that living with this feeling of scarcity, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, actually is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Being present in the moment let’s me stop focusing on the clock and time passing.
When I mop the floor, I can either be immersed in mopping the floor to the best of my ability, taking the time to let my little help me (even though that will make it take longer), and enjoying the satisfaction of seeing a cleaner floor.
I can frantically do it as quickly as possible, just doing the bare minimum, occupy my little so she’s immersed in something else, and be completely wrapped up in what I need to get done next.
One is a much better way to approach a chore…to me anyways!
The dirty little secret about routines – and why there’s a better way to start the morning
So many people talk about setting a morning routine. I really dislike the word routine.
When I set up a routine it’s because I want to be able to do something without thinking about it.
That doesn’t set me up for mindfulness or being in the moment.
Actually, it starts me on the path of thinking about the next thing on my list.
I much prefer to have a morning cycle or rhythm.
That says to me that, while somethings might be the same, there is room for change. Also that I do need to be present during my mornings and make conscious decisions about what it’s going to look like.
Because my morning is not going to be exactly the same as yesterday or as tomorrow. And that’s more than just ok. That’s life!
Having a routine can also set us up for rigidity. If you’ve ever watched the Big Bang Theory, you know that Sheldon is a slave to his routine.
While this is funny in a sitcom, it’s not very enjoyable in real life.
For you OR the people who live with you.
So, what’s the best way to set a morning cycle?
Start with a list of everything you want and need to get done in the morning. If you have older kids in school you’ll probably have making lunches and packing backpacks on that list.
Now, separate the list in to Have to Do and Want to Do.
Split your have to do list in to the absolute essentials. The ‘how would I get out the door if I only had 10 minutes’ and a regular morning list.
Once you have these separated, look at your regular morning list. What items on there can you reasonably do the night before?
This might be making lunches, packing up bags, putting shoes and bags by the door, or setting clothes out for everyone to wear in the morning.
It could also be prepping breakfast or the coffee pot for tomorrow morning.
Now I want you to add something “luxurious” to your morning list just for you. Maybe it’s having a cup of coffee before the house is up. Or taking a long shower. Or journaling for 10 minutes in the morning.
Once you’ve got your lists, your night before tasks, and your self-care item take a look at what’s left.
This next step is going to be hard.
BE BRUTALLY HONEST with yourself.
What really isn’t that important?
What can you take off the list?
If you just can’t bring yourself to take anything off or there’s still a lot left, what needs to change to make getting these done possible?
It could be that you need to go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier.
Or it could be that you need some help from your partner or your kids (time for a family meeting!).
Or maybe it’s that you need to start saying no to more activities.
I know, I know. It’s hard to say no to things we want to do!
Really, the best way to decrease our hectic and frantic lives is by saying no.
We have to protect our slow times, our times for reconnection.
This can mean saying no to ourselves (I’m not going to sign up to help with the committee), no to our kids (Sorry, you’re already in soccer and dance, we can’t add another activity right now), no to our jobs (I’m not responding to work emails after 6 pm), no to activities we like so that we can say yes to slow and yes to the things that we love.
Of course, things happen and some evenings are going to be busy. But making a conscious effort to say no is the first step.
It also forces us to decide what’s really important to us. What we enjoy so much that we are willing to trade our precious, slow moments, to do them.
Say no to the good so that you can say yes to the great!
Want to learn more about slow living?
I love the idea of remembering how to just be. Our kids can teach us this when they are little, if we let them.
Here are some books about slow living that you may enjoy!
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