Speaking of sleep deprivation, in the hellish years where I operated on .21% capacity, I used to read magical stories about women who got up a full hour before their children to be one with the universe and exercise before gliding down the stairs ready to face the day. At that point my mornings usually went somewhere along the lines of
- be somehow aware that a child somewhere needed something but it’s a weekday and mornings are my husband’s jurisdiction while I try to catch up on what little sleep I can
- hear my husband come in to tell me he’s off to work and it’s my turn now and me mentally shout “NOOOOOO NOT YET I’M NOT REAAAADDYYYY” *small sob* *big wince* before mumbling “mhmm” and giving him a kiss goodbye
- wait til the pain of waking up before you’re quite ready subsides and then get out of bed
- put on 44 layers to ward off a chilly melbourne morning
- check to see if the cat had peed in my slippers again
- survey the scene before me to see if there was any immediate drama
- lay back down where the kids are and try and figure out what my name was, what I had to do that day, and did I have to get dressed to do it?
So suffice to say, I was nowhere near able to get out of bed an hour earlier than my kids or I may as well just not go to bloody bed at all. If you are in the trenches of small children and no sleep, I don’t recommend you do it either. You do what you gotta do to survive, mate. I’ll be here with a cup of tea (I don’t do coffee) cheering you on.
However, once I got my shit together, if I got my shit together, I liked to at least try to have a proper breakfast and a nice to-do list sorted, even if I did none of it. It helped.
These days while I still don’t get a full night’s sleep, it’s usually not so soul-destroying, and sometimes I really even can tick off most of these (during the week at least) before the day gets away from me. Some mornings are a write-off though and I’m looking at a sad banana wondering if it will do for Biggie’s lunch 5 minutes before the school bell is about to go.
6 Ways to Start Your Day off on The Right Foot
I’m all about mindset and positive energy (did you hear my podcast episode with Brooke from Slow Your Home? We got deep, man), so if all else fails I at least try to close my eyes for a minute and think about what’s ahead that day and make sure I intend to have a capable, positive, productive mindset before it begins. Even if I don’t feel it. That’s the goal anyway, and when I forget I try to remind myself to get back there.
Meditation and Inspiration in 15 minutes or less
Ok so I used to think that meditation had to be a long time or why do it at all? Same with yoga, actually. It takes time to chill out, and that’s often longer than 10 minutes, so would 10 minutes really be that useful when all I was doing was reminding myself to chill and chill never happens?
Well, actually… yeah! It is that useful!
The meditation I do most of the time is 10 minutes and it speaks to all of the things I like to remember every day so even though my mind is whizzing at 100 miles an hour (it’s the legit worst when I’ve just woken up, meditation at night isn’t as bad) I still hear snippets, I breathe properly most of that 10 minutes, and it does a nice affirmation at the end, so even if I’ve mentally made a to-do list that entire time, I will still stop for that intention to start the day.
I explain here how to get more out of meditation if you feel you suck at it. Hot tip: we all do!
Other meditations I like:
- Guided Morning Meditation for Positive Energy
- Morning Energy Guided Meditation
- Guided Meditation for Mornings
- I also did this Louise Hay morning meditation and didn’t mind it until she told me to thank my refrigerator and I was all like “uhhhhhhhhh?” but you might get something out of it.
Nothing is funner than a desk job and a sedentary lifestyle for health, and my back and neck have been protesting this rather violently of late. An old Chinese acupuncturist last week was super angry at me for getting myself into the state I’m in. So in order to actually have a functioning body, I try harder than ever to move it every day. I like to do either a walk in the morning listening to a podcast, only half an hour or so, or a morning yoga sequence. If I’m very, very good I’ll do both in a day. But I try to do one or the other before breakfast.
I’ve always liked to do a little something every day (my go-tos are here) just because I feel better when I do, but now when it’s harder to fit it in during the day and everyone’s schedules, I try to make it a priority to do it before the day gets going. Even if I just stretch, I’m at least moving stuff.
Sigh. the little babies doing yoga here just slays me dead. Brb, going to stare at those chubby legs a bit.
For yoga at home I like to do the Yoga with Adriene series on YouTube, plus I have a couple of DVDs I do depending on what I need to deal with the most. All incriminating evidence in the exercise go-to post above…
What’s the first thing you put in your mouth?
Now far be it for me to deny you a whale of a time in the a.m, particularly if the kids aren’t home, but if it’s a regular old morning and coffee is the first thing your’e putting in your mouth, take a minute there buddy, and grab some water instead. Even if it’s just a sip.
Why? Well you just woke up, your body has fasted, and it’s about to fire up for the day. What you put in it now can often have a huge impact on how it functions for the rest of the day. We all know we should be more hydrated, so water is the obvious choice, but if you can’t face an entire glass, then just have one sip. Call me woo, but I think from a mind-body perspective even just a sip goes a long way to the mindset that you’re treating your body right and caring what goes in right from the start of the day.
I even read recently that your mouth is full of gunk in the morning, and that first sip of whatever is only going to collect that gunk and you’ll be swallowing it, so you should really swish your mouth out with water before putting anything in it. I raised an eyebrow, but somewhere in there it sounded plausible. So then I tried it and I didn’t want to do it in front of my scientist husband who would think I was mental, so I figured it’s probably bullshit, haha. I lasted a day. I also tried that oil-pulling business because sometimes I think I should try things before rejecting them (and I quite like a lot of the Ayurvedic principles) but yeah nah that’s not for me.
I’m still on the fence also about this lemon water first thing in the morning situation, I do it sometimes because a. it’s extra water before a cup of tea and b. I quite like the taste, but as far as the health benefits go, I’m not convinced. But it can be helpful for people who want a nice cup of something hot to transition from coffee straight up. I do love ginger and lemon for when I’m feeling a bit blah – I’ve got a great pickled ginger and lemon tea here, and the brutal-strength proper one with cayenne and turmeric and stuff here. Soooo addictive.
A proper breakfast
Back in the baby days I’d scarf down a bit of toast in the morning and then I would be starving an hour later and I would have more toast because that’s all I had time for and I used to find by 4 when I was at zero coping at life percent I’d realised all I’d eaten all day was toast. I do not function well on just toast. So I do try to have something fairly substantial in the morning because I suck at lunch and there are no quick snacks in my house, everything needs to be prepared. So I don’t eat when I’m busy and that’s bad, bad, bad.
On the weekends I will do toast and a cup of tea while I wait for everyone to be ready for a larger breakfast later, but on the weekdays I at least try to have either porridge or eggs. The more veggies I can fit on my breakfast plate, the better.
I like to do:
- Apple Pie Porridge sometimes with regular milk, sometimes with half almond, half coconut milk, and topped with nuts and seeds, a swirl of cream, and coconut sugar
- Speedy Egg, Kale and Quinoa Breakfast
- Toasted Coconut Buckwheat in summer with lots of fruit and coconut milk
- Eggs any way I can get them – scrambled, poached or fried with beans or toast (or both!) or sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes. Takes 10 minutes tops, I swear!
- Hot weetbix with a spoonful of raw sugar. Reminds me so much of being a kid and is great on a cold morning. No I will not put fruit or any other kind of sugar on it. It must taste exactly like it did when I was a kid and yes it does feel like baby food.
I just can’t get you out of my head
My brain is a terrible place to be a lot of the time, it’s kind in its words to me but it’s filled with SHIT I HAVE TO GET DONE. I also have a memory like a sieve so a lot of stuff gets lost and I have to write it down. I forever have that feeling I should be doing or remembering something but I know not what.
One of the ways up up the productivity factor and lower the anxiety factor is to sit down every morning and write down everything that’s in my head that I need to do. Then I check my diary for important things on that day, and organise a to-do list from the jumbled mess I’ve just created. Then I pick out the absolute must-dos and try to nail them first.
I have lists upon lists upon lists upon lists. I’ve tried notebooks, white boards, apps, calendars, everything. Now what works for me is notebooks that I keep every list in, and online calendars with to-do lists.
I try never to start the day in a filthy mood as they’re hard to shake. Even if I haven’t slept, I’m more sad than angry, like a low-energy limpet just hanging on for dear life. But still, the doldrums aren’t a great place to start either. So I say nice things like “today is going to be good, I’m going to be very productive and get everything done and everyone will be fabulously happy and there’s wine at the end of the tunnel” or other such waffle that basically reminds me my moods are what I make them. If I want a good, happy day, I’m the one that will provide a good, happy day.
So that’s it! A convoluted example of the kinds of things I like to do to start my day. It works… so far!
What do you do? Coffee IV? 10k run? Mix up who wants what for breakfast and cry in the pantry when they whinge?