I'll admit it — I'm not naturally a morning person. If I didn't have a family to take care of, my morning routine would probably look something like this: wake up when I feel like it, shower (alone without kids asking for breakfast), take supplements, drink coffee, go for a walk, eat breakfast, then start working. However, my current phase of life doesn't allow me to have such a leisurely morning routine.
I'm nowhere close to perfect at keeping a morning routine, but when I do, I definitely have a better day.
But because of my busy life, a morning routine is an incredibly important first step for a productive day. I sometimes get asked how I "do it all" (which is simple enough to answer, because I don't) but making the most of the morning hours goes a long way toward a productive and relatively stress-free day.
How To Figure Out A Realistic Morning Routine:
I'm nowhere close to perfect at keeping a morning routine, but when I do, I definitely have a better day. Of course, our days vary quite a bit depending on scheduled activities and just by the nature of having young children around, but I've found that a 30-minute routine in the morning is doable if I plan ahead.
I'm much more efficient if I have a pre-planned schedule and checklist for each day. Creating a rough daily outline enables me to focus on those items that are most important and assign chores to the kids to help get everything accomplished that needs to be done for home management. I keep all the information I need to run our household and stay healthy in one place.
So This Is How I Get It Done And Why I Find My Morning Routine To Be So Important…
Get Up Before The Kids
To actually accomplish this routine, I find that I have to wake up 30-45 min before the kids. I am definitely a happier mom when I get some time to focus and have quiet before the hustle of the kids' morning routine, and the early wake up is worth it. Upon waking up, I drink lemon water — an energy booster that helps promote good digestion and clear skin and flushes the body of waste that accumulates overnight.
Pray, Journal, Meditate In Natural Light
Focusing my thoughts through prayer, journaling, and meditation really helps me gain direction for my day and prepare for the chaos when the kids wake up. I've also tried the popular five-minute morning journal and it is a quick way to journal effectively in a short amount of time while focusing on gratitude. I try to do this outside in natural light if possible as it helps correct cortisol levels and balance the adrenals.
Movement of some kind helps get the blood flowing. For me, this varies by day and may be as simple as stretching, rebounding, taking the dog for a walk, or may be sprints or swinging a kettlebell. It just depends on the day.
I clean my skin and hop into shower (or do a sauna session with the hubby if time allows) then brush my teeth with Wellnesse Whitening Toothpaste (it took me 10 years and almost 100 iterations to perfect this formula, and I'm really proud of it). This is also when I make time to get some wave vibration and use my red light to get my lymphatic system functioning optimally. If I don't have time for a shower, I freshen up with Wellnesse Dry Shampoo!
Determine My "Most Important Thing(s)"
I always write my top three tasks for the day. Sometimes, they are as simple as finishing a few loads of laundry or writing a blog post, but writing these down really helps them get done.
The Kids Are Up!
By 8:00AM I'm cooking a homemade protein-rich family breakfast. After this, we exercise together then the kids focus on schoolwork followed by time outside barefoot to soak in vitamin D. Before the afternoon rolls around, we all complete our morning chores!
The rest of the day is still busy. of course! Filled with chores, work (team meetings, podcasting, calls, etc), school for the kids, and so on. I very much look forward to ending each day together as a family over dinner. When the kids go to bed, I make sure to carve out time for my husband and myself. Self-care is very important –– I love to relax with a bath after the kids go to bed or do another red light therapy session to wind down.
There Is A Lot To Juggle And It Can Be Challenging To Stay Motivated
I find it is often easier to "do it all" than to try to do some of it. It's easier to have a schedule and clean the house, teach the kids, cook three meals, blog, work outside, and read a book all in one day than to only get one thing done and have everything else looming over me. It's the reason that baseball teams are more likely to hit when they've already been hitting, and athletes are more likely to win if they've already been winning. Action breeds motivation, not the other way around. The journey of a thousand miles does begin with a single step, and sometimes that first step (in any direction) is the most important. An object in motion stays in motion (thanks, Newton), and it is easier to adjust the course mid-step than to start moving in the first place.
I'm much more efficient if I have a pre-planned schedule and checklist for each day.
So how do we apply this? Pick baby steps and take them one at a time. Don't try to change your diet, lifestyle, and schedule completely overnight. That's not practical and is completely overwhelming. Decide on one baby step and start there. Just make a small change and focus on that. To make sure it sticks, try tracking it with a habit app or in a journal. Once you've done that for a few weeks, introduce another small change. Make a list of the changes you eventually want to implement and work backward to implement them.
If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Again Tomorrow!
Everyone has a different routine that works best for them, and it took me quite a while through different stages of kids to find what's working for me now. Remain positive and optimistic, be patient, remind yourself what you are grateful for, and love yourself! Self-compassion is not the same as being easy on ourselves. It's a way of nurturing ourselves so that we can reach our full potential.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist