It just seemed logical to do the laundry, dishes, wash my hair, and read a book, once everyone else was in the bed and sound asleep. The problem was I could not wake up when morning came. The kids were awake and ready for breakfast, but I was exhausted, I could barely open my eyes. Morning’s were not pleasant for me because I was tired, cranky, and barely able to function. It was a vicious cycle. I wanted so badly to be a morning person. There was an abundance of books and methods available, and they all seemed great until the alarm went off each day. I needed more than positive thinking or a 30-minute meditation to keep me motivated. After all, I was a woman and a mother, living in the real world, with real responsibilities and distractions screaming at me each and every moment.
It took many years for me to find a rhythm that worked for me. And I promise it was nothing like the methods or techniques I read about in the books available. I had to find what worked for me. For my lifestyle. And for my goals. Today, I often get asked how I “do it all” or “keep up”. And the answer is: I don’t. But adopting a morning routine that fits my lifestyle has been a complete gift in my life. Below I’ll share a few ideas that have helped me, and they may help you too.
1. Go to bed early.
Waking up each morning will be a more pleasant experience when you’ve properly rested the night before. On average, we need 8-10 hours of sleep each night in order for our bodies to recharge and replenish. Trust me, it’s enticing to use the late-night hours to check off the daily to-do list. But no household chore or movie-binge is worth more than the beneficial sleep your body needs in order to fully function.
2. Get up before your family.
Getting up before your family may seem like a huge task. But remember, you are going to bed earlier the night before, so your body is ready to start the day sooner. Waking up before everyone else gives you time to prepare yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually before you start your day. You’ll have quiet time to focus and reflect in prayer and study.
3. Room-temp Water.
Drinking at least 8oz. of room-temp water first thing will wake your body up instantly. Plus there are many health benefits such as a natural energy boost, promotion of good digestion and clear skin, and most importantly flushing the body of any waste accumulated overnight. Drink your water and you’ll be less likely to head back to bed.
4. Pray, Journal or Meditate.
Focusing my thoughts on prayer and scripture first thing in the morning is the key to gaining direction and clarity for my days. This is my non-negotiable. Spending a few moments in quiet reflection is a sure way to wake me up each day. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Find a spot, grab a journal and just write. Start with 5 minutes and see how that works for you.
There are many benefits to moving your body in some way first thing in the morning. Getting the blood flowing will energize and wake up your body immediately. For me, this varies from day to day. Some days its a vigorous cardio session and others it’s a simple stretch or a walk outside.
There are many opinions about the breakfast meal. I tend to change things up a bit in my own personal schedule, but making sure your first meal of the day is packed full of nutritious wholesome foods is a sure way to start your day. No need to get fancy with a huge breakfast spread. Smoothies are a quick and easy option (and they taste delicious).
I want you to remember that progress over perfection is how we live. We don’t have to do it all in order to make a shift in our morning rhythm. Action breeds motivation. And small shifts will lead to great impact over time. Be gracious with yourself and start with one or two options mentioned above. Be curious and explore what works for you and your lifestyle. Most importantly, give yourself space to develop a morning rhythm that brings clarity and direction to your day.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and oftentimes that first step is the most important.