Rise and shine

Rise and shine

This morning did not go very well at all! A late night caused me to snooze my alarm clock and miss my quiet time (although I did make my run because my running partner was waiting for me outside). With dad away for work, the kids are feeling the separation and both had major meltdowns at exactly the moment it was time to leave for school. Throw in some car trouble and a lot of bad traffic because of robots being out and I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s a morning I don’t want to have again. It reminded me though that sometimes things don’t work out as expected and that’s ok and when that happens, we need to just take a few deep breaths (and maybe shed a few tears) and just roll with it because it’ll all work itself out! It also reminded me of how our mornings used to be.

For a couple of months now, I’ve been working really hard to stick to a morning routine that brings calm and has no room for crying or shouting or general wild chaos. You see, the way we start our day sets the tone for the rest of the day ahead. We can wake up frazzled, rushing mindlessly through the day in fast forward to make it to the 9pm finish line, without thought of our goals or intentions. Or, we can start our day with clarity and purpose, ready to take on the day as our best selves, with focus.

These are a few things that have helped me and may help you too:

1. Get things ready the night before

In our house, we pack lunch boxes and water bottles, set out clothes and pack sports and school bags all before bedtime. Then there is no debate about pink versus silver tutu or slip slops versus sneakers. As strange as it sounds, I also give some thought to what I’ll wear the next day. Perhaps I’m the only one that feels that the pink shirt doesn’t quite work with the black skirt today, but the black pants are in the wash basket, so perhaps the polka dot shirt would work better, and before I know it, I’ve wasted ten precious minutes. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there!

2. Get enough sleep

This is just so obvious but so many people still don’t take this sleep thing seriously enough! Our bodies do amazing things when we sleep. With enough sleep, we are more patient, more disciplined, more aware of the world around us and more on top of our game. Think about it – when your kids are tired, they’ll cry and whine and throw tantrums. Us adults just know how to control our exhaustion better. Well, maybe not all of us adults. Anyway, I now set an alarm on my phone to remind me when it’s time to start getting ready for bed, to get 8 full hours of sleep. My phone then automatically turns to night mode so I don’t get messages, calls or emails. Guys, getting four hours of sleep a night does not make you a hero (unless you’re a mom of a newborn or a sick child, in which case I salute you and want to tell you – it does get better!).

3. Wake up before the others

Being a morning person, I generally don’t find this one too difficult. I wake up 45 minutes before they rest of my family and spend some quiet time doing devotional and prayer time, considering my diary for the day ahead and thinking about who and what I want to invest time and energy in that day. I think about what I want to get out of the day and some of my goals, so I make sure that each day I’m doing something that gets me closer to achieving them. This time does not include scrolling through social media or checking my emails. Although I do sometimes post my thoughts or learnings with the world, 8.5/10 times I avoid the temptation to check your status updates. This quiet time before the others wake up means I’m ahead of the curve balls that may come and I’m in the right frame of mind to deal with them effectively.

4. Get moving

I love to work out early in the mornings. But, I’m married with two kids and this requires a bit, actually a lot, of give and take. So we arrange our schedules at the start of the week to allow each of us a few mornings to get some exercise in. One of my goals for the next year is to run a marathon, so I’ve found a running partner and we get out on the road at least twice a week as the sun rises. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this time is! There is something so energizing about the fresh air at that time of day, the rising light and the quiet streets.

5. Play some tunes

Music is my thing. Play a song with a good beat and I’ll be in an instant good mood. My kids love music too, so I’ve started playing their favourite songs during breakfast time and in the car on the drive to school. Currently it’s the Lion Guard soundtrack so we have Kion and Bunga belting out their tunes to our ears each morning. The music creates such a happy vibe and we now know all the words so we all sing along together.

These few changes have made such big changes in our home in the mornings. I’m calmer, the kids are calmer and there are far less monsters lurking around our home at breakfast time!

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