Why is it that the busier life gets, the earlier the days seem to begin? It was a kind of revelation on my part, about two years ago, after I’d experienced one of “those” days. You know the one I’m talking about…
I’d woken up late. Immediate heart-attack as I stared blinking at the clock in shock and then literally ran to the shower. I’d have to skip doing anything other than throwing my hair up into a wet bun (which is always super attractive as it dries later on), and my makeup would be applied once I was in transit. I tripped into my closet, cursing the fact that I didn’t seem to have anything to wear – you know, as I threw piece of clothing after piece of clothing onto the floor. Finally, I managed to find something suitable, threw on a pair of heels, grabbed my purse, and then spent the next 10 minutes trying to find my keys. I hadn’t made coffee and hadn’t even had the time to think about drinking a cup. Eventually I made it out the door, and the rest of my day would feel… rushed. Even as I laid in bed later that night, I was still attempting to catch my breath, feeling anxiety over all of the household chores I didn’t get to that evening.
I mean. Can I get an Amen?
I’d come to dread the mornings and often times felt like a failure by the end of the day, with the constant question popping into my head: how does anyone get it all done? Busyness is a deceiver, I tell you – tricking us into feeling like we’re getting a lot done but doesn’t always equal a productive day. Most of the time we just feel like we’re running a race in a hamster’s wheel – it never ends. So how can we live a full life but busy ourselves less? How do we take back our mornings?
Here are a few things I’ve since changed over the years that have helped:
I’ve learned that if I prepare before I go to bed, I worry less, sleep better, and my morning has a better chance of running more smoothly. What does this look like? I make a to-do list each evening for the next day (this way it’s not just floating around in my head while I’m trying to fall asleep – the worst!!), straighten up – especially the rooms I’ll be using the next morning, get the coffee ready to self-brew in the morning, and put my keys in one place every time I come home.
The early bird gets the worm
Whether I’m a morning person or not (most days, I’m not), the truth is if I want to enjoy the morning again – if I want to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, spend quiet moments with God, and simply breathe in the stillness – it might mean that I have have to get up earlier. By gifting myself my own personal time each morning, even though my alarm was going off earlier, put my mood in such a much better and peaceful place.
Taking back your mornings also means taking back your nights: I call them my “bookends.” Twenty minutes of quiet time in the morning and then twenty minutes of quiet time at night not only gives me personal time to look forward to, but it also helps me give more of my mind, energy, and effort to the in-between.
You all know my love for tech-free days here and there, but once I even made a house rule that said no technology in bed if it’s after 10pm. This meant that if I made it into bed at 10p, there would be no phone, no computer, or TV allowed. Instead, I would take that time to read a book or catch up with Christian with no distractions, which ultimately helped relax my brain. (We have since veered way off course with this one – perhaps we need to get back to it!)
One of my bffs once told me that when she first met me in high school, she thought I had this very “easy, breezy, California vibe” to my personality. Her exact words were, “You had a very ‘let it all go’ attitude!” And I sat there truly wondering where that girl went – I’d almost forgotten about her completely! My friend’s memory reminded me that it’s so much harder to be breezy now that we have real-life adult worries, and the more I thought about it the more I realized how much more I have now, 15 years later. Yes, I have more friends, more love, more life lessons that have really grown me as a person and for all of that I’m so, so grateful. But I also have more stuff. Like, a lot more stuff. And while I’m still thankful for that stuff, I also know I don’t need even half of it. Sometimes more stuff makes for more stress, so these days before I buy something I ask myself the “Want vs. Need” question, and I try to clean out my closet every 3 months or so. Not only does it feel SO great to organize and clean and purge the things I no longer wear/need/use, but it feels even better donating them to someone who actually does need them.
Of course, all of this is not to say that doing all of these things will guarantee you a smooth sailing morning. Why? Because LIFE, that’s why. Sometimes it all just hits the fan, no matter how hard we try. (In which case we learn to ride the wave of it all, right?) But I also know that to give yourself time, you must make time, even if that means cutting back on some other things, or switching up a routine that tells you over and over again it’s just not working.
Do you need to take back your mornings?
A version of this post was originally first shared on 4/2/15 over at Best Kept Self.