The morning hours are so important. Your day will likely reflect the energy that you started it with. Good energy or bad energy. Tense vs. calm. Nothing is worse than starting your day by running around the house looking for your car keys, already late for work. You didn’t have time to wash your hair because you over slept and breakfast… uh, who has time for that? If you start your morning this way, chances are the rest of your day will be spent playing catch up.
A few years ago, I decided that I would try to wake up a little earlier than usual so that I could ease into my day. This of course required me to go to bed earlier which was not easy. However, after I finally got my sleeping schedule down, my mornings started becoming my favorite part of the day.
“It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.”
That is the first page of Max Lucado’s book, Grace for the Moment. I love this description because it relates to everyone no matter where you live or what your day may look like. We all have those special moments before the sun rises where the world feels as though it is still asleep.
It is important to use that time to prepare yourself for the day you have ahead of you. I have 4 morning rituals that I swear by. Of course my mornings consist of other things, but these are the most important part of each and every morning in my life. I wanted to share them because I feel like my days are better because I have committed myself to these routines. They are simple and can be tweaked to fit whatever lifestyle or preference you may have.
- Tidy up
Breakfast is an absolute must if you’re wanting to feel energized throughout the day. A lot of us don’t have time to cook a full breakfast in the morning and that’s okay. I simple piece of fruit and some granola will do. But make sure you are taking the time to sit and eat. Don’t waste your breakfast by eating and getting ready at the same time. Sit and enjoy your food.
It’s important that your breakfast isn’t filled with empty calories and tons of sugar. Otherwise, while you may feel pretty energized for a couple of hours, you will crash a short time later. I actually do prefer to cook most mornings. Mainly because it makes me feel very domestic to have the smell of bacon, eggs and coffee lingering throughout the house. Making breakfast is the first thing I do when I wake up. My body knows it’s time to fuel up for the day.
Read or Write:
I have certain books that I only read in the mornings and other ones that I will read at other times of the day. My morning readings are usually devotionals. A great one that I have been enjoying for the last few months is Simple Abundance- A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by, Sarah Ban Breathnach. Choose something to read that will motivate you, inspire you, or something that will get your creative juices flowing. Some women read affirmations each morning. Some do their best Bible reading at this time because their minds are focused and less distracted. I love reading in the book of Psalms in the morning! I also like to take time in the morning to write. Again, like my readings, there are certain things I tend to write about in the morning hours and different ones during the evenings. In the morning, I always jot down a few of my favorite things. I’ll explain…..
A few months ago, I was going through a bit of a hard time and my mother called me one morning right as I was driving into the parking lot of my work. She had been praying for me that morning and while praying, she heard music begin to play from a little jewelry box that I had given her when I was a little. The music from the jewelry box plays when the sunlight hits it just right; and during her prayer, it did. The song that it played was A Few of my Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. Moments later, she phoned me and told me that I should jot down a few of my favorite things each morning to remind myself of all of the fun things in life. By that time, I was carrying a stack of heavy books, sheet music and papers that I needed to grade into the school while trying to hear what she was saying on the phone. “That’s cool, mom. Thanks!” I said back to her before we hung up the phone. I got to my office, turned on the light and sat at my desk glaring at all of the work that I needed to finish before my students would arrive to first hour. Already, I felt stressed and my day hadn’t even started. While beginning my work, I caught myself humming A Few of my Favorite Things. I then thought to myself, “She’s right.” So I pushed my work aside for a moment, got out a small pink sticky note and quickly began my list. I probably listed 5 or 6 things, one being pumpkin spice latte, (totally shallow, I know. It is, however, a favorite thing of mine and it was October at the time and seemed appropriate.) I folded up the sticky note and put it in my pocket and went on about my day as usual. The next few days I had completely forgotten about making a list each morning. I was doing laundry that weekend and pulled that sticky note out of my pant pocket. Not knowing what it was, I quickly opened it and read my list out loud. It immediately made me smile and think about how much I really do love those things and how much I really love my mom. Since that day, I try my best to list a few of my favorite things each morning.
I also write in my prayer journal each morning as well. My morning writings are usually pretty short as I like to do heavier writing at night. Writing and praying each morning TRULY makes my day better- sometimes immediately.
So…. I’m not the most motivated to do strenuous exercise in the morning. Some women do their best workouts in the morning hours and I wish I could be more like that. I like to work out harder during the evening. However, I LOVE doing yoga in the morning. If you’re not a huge yogi, that’s okay- just doing a few simple stretches will feel amazing. I can always tell if I’ve skipped my morning yoga because my body just doesn’t feel awake or alive until around lunch time. Yoga, running, kick-boxing, whatever workout fits your lifestyle is the perfect thing to add into your morning routine. I also take my dog on a walk each morning- that’s counts too, right?
I love coming home from a long day to a clean house. Just by completing a few simple tasks before you leave your house while you have a full day’s worth of energy will make a huge difference. My short “Tidy Up List” consists of these 3 things:
- Make the bed
- Put away beauty products and clothes
- Put dishes away
I ALWAYS make my bed in the mornings. I’m always so thankful that I did when I am about to get in bed for the night. The bed just seems a bit more enticing when it’s all made and pillows are neatly in each row. This is a fantastic habit to teach your kids too!
After doing my hair and makeup, my bathroom is a disaster. My hair products and beauty products are scattered all over the place, towels are in a pile on the floor, etc. I make sure that I put everything back in its home before I leave for the day. If I don’t, I’ll either have to clean it up when I get home from work and am already tired or I just won’t clean it up at all- which turns into a bad cycle of constant clutter. Same applies to the closet area. Even though my clothes are already laid out for the day (a great nighttime habit, by the way), somehow I always find socks, pajama pants, scarves and shoes thrown about my closet. Same rule applies- CLEAN IT UP!
As for the dishes, we all probably have some type of system or routine in the kitchen that works best for our lifestyles. At my house, the dish washer is always loaded at the end of the night and we let it run right before bed. In the morning, (usually while I’m cooking breakfast), I put all of those clean dishes away. This makes a big difference for me because the first thing I do when I get home from work is begin cooking dinner. My dish washer is empty and ready to be filled again that night after cooking. Same goes for any pieces that need to be hand washed. Basic rule of thumb- no dishes should be sitting in the sink- ever! (or on the counters)
I promise that you will be so grateful that you took a few extra moments in the morning to tidy up. I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves coming home to a clean house!
So there you have it. My 4 morning rituals that I believe sets me up for a successful day, or at least a less stressful day. The morning hours are so important. The energy you create during those first few moments of your day while carry on throughout the rest of the day. Make it good energy! I’m always looking for new ways to improve my mornings. Some women meditate right after they wake up, some drink a full glass of fruit infused water. A few months ago, I was having communion in the morning with The Lord for 40 days. That was an amazing experience by the way! (Grape juice of course. I don’t think I could stomach wine in the morning. ) What are your morning routines and rituals? Comment below!