Since I became a stay-at-home Mom, mornings have become the most stressful part of my day.
I have to prepare three lunches (it used to be four, but now my eldest daughter is away at university) and make sure the munchkin boy and girl are dressed and on time for their school buses.
It was worse when my son was younger. No sooner have I gotten him dressed when he would need to go to the washroom. Oh my!
If your mornings are harried like mine, try the following tips to have a more relaxed morning:
1. Get Up Earlier
This one may seem obvious, but it’s really amazing the difference just 15 minutes can make. If you normally get up at 6:15, set your alarm for 6 and make sure you actually get up; don’t use the 15 minutes to lie in bed. If you are up for it, try getting up half an hour or even a whole hour earlier. You’ll need to go to bed a bit earlier to get the sleep you need, but it can be well worth it to have a calmer morning.
2. Wrap Things Up in the Evening
Although you’re probably aiming for an earlier bedtime, try to wrap things up before bedtime – at least some of the little things. Pack lunches and fill water bottles, for instance, and get the kitchen cleaned up so it’s ready for you to cook breakfast. Write yourself a note for things that need to be done tomorrow, so you can relax and not try to remember everything. Get purses, briefcases, and backpacks ready to go.
3. Make Dinner Earlier
To free up time in the evening, try having dinner at an earlier hour and spend less time cooking when possible. Try to have dinner eaten and finished by 6pm (for example), which frees up a couple of hours before 8pm (when you might be dropping everything to put the kids to bed). It makes your whole evening seem longer and more productive if you have an early dinner.
4. Take Five
Every morning, take five minutes to be still, look out at the sky, pray, meditate, stretch…whatever helps you focus for a few minutes. Try to calm and center your thoughts. Your morning is more likely to be calm if your mind is calm first.
5. Exercise or Stretch
Since you’ve gotten up a bit earlier, take some time to stretch a bit. Whatever you like to do – Yoga, Pilates, or miscellaneous stretches – the goal is to relax your body and get you ready for the day, and to help make you more alert. Taking a brief walk outdoors can help you get started, too. Exercises and stretching helps work out any “kinks” in your muscles too.
6. Do Analogue Activities First
Rather than heading for your phone or computer first thing, do things that do not involve the information inundation that can occur when you log on. It can make your morning feel much more rushed if you bombard yourself with e-mails, messages, and voicemails.
7. Be Gentle With Your Wake-Up Routine
Rather than blasting yourself with a loud alarm, try waking to music or a low radio that gradually gets louder. If you can, a light alarm that mimics sunrise is even more gentle.
Mornings don’t need to be stressful. Try to take a little time and rearrange your routine to make them a bit more relaxed.
How do you manage your mornings? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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