How I've Changed My Morning Routine
I’ve changed jobs recently, and my new gig is an office job. So whereas I used to work from home and not have to worry about getting fully ready every morning, negotiate breakfast and lunch each day ahead of time, etc. — I can’t do that anymore.
Changing jobs is one of the biggest life alterations a person can make, and I have to confess: one of the things I worried about the most was the new morning routine: How would Jason and I be able to get up, get ourselves and Isaac ready, take care of the dogs, make sure the house was presentable (because, true confessions: For better or worse, I’m a stickler about how our home looks when I walk out the door) and negotiate morning rush-hour I-5 traffic. Oh, and that’s on a perfect day: what if tantrums ensue and it all falls apart on the way out?
Needless to say, all of this routine change was stressing me out. But I think I’ve figured out how to make mornings work for now, (and even enjoy the process a little bit).
Robyn Conley Downs wrote a great article about this life hack as well. (Side note: if you’re someone who is looking for simple dinner recipes — a whole other topic — check out her blog. I also love her podcast for simple, research-based advice for everyday wellness. And frankly, I could use some daily inspo from someone whose motto is “Gentle is the new perfect.” (See unnecessary home perfectionism issue above).
So anyway, Robyn recommended this in a recent article, and it has really helped me:
Taking 20 minutes to set up for the next day can make a huge difference, especially if mornings feel overwhelming and chaotic.
It sounds pretty “duh,” but I have to say, this has really worked for me so far. Here are a couple of things I do the night before to set myself up for a better morning:
Make it enjoyable.
Every night, after Isaac goes to bed, I take a second to take in the quiet. Then, I switch to headphones, pour a dram of Woodford, put on my favorite audiobook or Podcast (I highly recommend Robyn’s!) and get to work. For me, checking out is part of wellness, so if I’m going to be puttering around in the kitchen, I turn it into a bit of “me time” and start unwinding with my favorite adult bev and something empowering or relaxing I’ve downloaded just for myself.
2. Secure my own wellness.
No one else can be responsible for my health but me. And now that my morning routine is compressed, I don’t have as much time to negotiate healthy food options. So I plan for breakfast and lunch the next day before I go to bed. Right now, that means blending up my Fab 4 Smoothie in advance and making my lunch for the next day. Usually, it’s a big salad or leftovers from dinner. And just like that: 2/3 of tomorrow’s meals are done. But more importantly, I’ve managed to proactively get a lock on my own nutrition and wellness for another day.
3. Set out medications + morning snacks.
Our dog, Patty, takes a pill every day and Isaac and I take a few vitamins. Isaac also loves applesauce and yogurt (sometimes “mixed together”) in the morning. So I set all of this out in advance so it’s at the ready first thing in the morning.
4. Prep the Coffee.
Recently, I’ve cut way back on gluten and dairy (special occassions only!) and I’ve taken my coffee intake down to 1 really good, high-quality cup per day. These small changes have mad a huge difference in my asthma and allergies. But let’s get one thing perfectly clear: I will never completely give up my coffee. You want my one cup? Pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
While I haven’t been able to successfully start any sort of meditation or “quiet time” coffee routine in the a.m. (hey, can’t have it all, right?) I still look forward to that first sip. Enjoying coffee is about as mindful as I can bring myself to get in the a.m., and it’s usually while doing something else, like picking up dog poop in the backyard or putting away last night’s dishes. But hey, it’s something. So at night, I make sure I’ll be as close to that all-important first sip when I wake up by grinding my beans and filling my kettle the night before. Truth: French Press is still the best, IMHO.
… and that’s it! These things are so small, but I find that they are really helping me get out the door much more quickly in the morning. I also feel so good knowing I’ve taken some simple steps to make sure the next day will be a healthy one.
What do you do to make your life easier in the mornings? Let me know in the comments!
Also, have you seen this website, all about people’s morning routines? I could stay there forever.