Establish a Morning Routine: Working My Way Through One Bite At A Time

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This is a great challenge that I think everyone should do. Quick note: there is an important difference between a routine and a schedule. A routine specifies a certain number of items (in this case 5) and an ideal order, but other than that it is flexible. If you get up later or earlier, that’s OK, the routine still works. If you get interrupted by a baby who needs to be fed urgently or an toddler who needs a diaper change, that’s OK too as long as you make sure to return to the routine when the task is completed.

A word of encouragement to moms of infants, it is OK if most days feel like chaos, but it is still possible to have some kind of morning routine for yourself. When my son was less than a year old, each day was a little different. I never knew if he would wake at 6 or 9, whether my husband would hit the snooze button once or 3 times, which directly influenced how much time he had to help me out in the morning. But I still picked a few basic things I tried to do each day, even if they didn’t all get done until 10 AM. Brush my teeth, wash my face, put on deodorant, eat something. I know that sounds crazy, but there were so many days when those things were regularly overlooked. Let me tell you, it didn’t help me feel better about myself to realize that I had forgotten my basic hygiene. This challenge may seem impossible for you, but try to keep it simple. You can always adjust your routine once your kids are older and a little more self-sufficient, plus hopefully sleeping a little more consistently.

For the rest of us, this chapter recommends selecting five items to include in your morning routine and putting them someplace that you will see them. To help you remember. I don’t need the visual reminder as much but I do put the items in my Google calender as though they were appointments.

Exercise

 Some days this is running, other days it’s yoga and/or step aerobics on my Wii Fit, or a Fit2B Studio workout. The important thing is that I get moving. I’m currently training for a 5K, using a Couch to 5K program. So two days a week, at least, I need to run using whatever the weekly training plan is. Right now I’m trying to make that three days in addition to my Sunday night group training session. That is pretty much my first thing. My running clothes are laid out, including all the necessary elements down to the sports bra, socks and sometimes my abdominal splint. If I have to stop and look for something, I know it will slow me down and cause me to lose motivation. I grab my husband’s ipod on my way out of the bedroom. My shoes are by the door along with my cell phone, pepper spray, headphones and water bottle. I no longer carry water because it hurt my hands so I just take a good long drink of 6 ounces or more before I leave. Exercise always has to come first or I know I won’t do it. It’s just the way it is for me. The other four items are negotiable in their order as long as they all happen.

Devotional or Bible Reading

I have a couple of mom devotionals that enjoy like The Busy Mom’s 10 Minute Devotional or Always There: Reflections for Moms on God’s Presence. But I’ve also been trying out Youversion bible reading plans and devotionals on my tablet.

Breakfast

For me this means healthy and fast. I usually fall back on one of my old standbys from my gestational diabetes diet, such as Greek yogurt or wheat toast with peanut butter and milk. But sometimes I make oatmeal with raisins and nuts. But mainly I just need to eat and drink so I don’t start the day sluggish from lack of fuel.

Shower

Get dressed.

I’ll be talking about this further on Wednesday when I start my Frumps to Pumps challenge.

On Friday’s I add to that list, blog my Five Minute Friday post. That way I get it taken care of first things when my mind is fresh and energized from my run. My ideal order is exercise, (blog on Fridays), Devotional or Bible reading, breakfast (sometimes usually reading and breakfast occur simultaneously), shower and get dressed. Occasionaly I don’t shower, in which case I need to wash my face and brush my teeth. This is because I know I might forget otherwise. Some mornings my run takes too long and when I get back the kids are up. Then my reading has to wait until later and I’ll shower once they’ve had breakfast and I eat when I’m dressed. But ideally I love to get them all done before my husband leaves for work. It doesn’t always happen and that is OK. What’s most important is that I have a map, a guideline toward starting my day right. Plus, for the type A, J’s among us, it helps us check some things of our mental (and sometimes physical) lists first thing.

But make sure these things are really for you. Don’t pack your kids lunches, collect laundry or check email, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Make this time a component of your self-care. So I encourage you. Find a routine that works for you. It won’t look like mine. It’s not about should’s and ought’s, it’s about what energizes you and helps you feel ready to face the day.

Do you have a morning routine? If not, what are you going to change so that you can develop one?

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