It’s A Beautiful Day!
Are you someone who jumps out of bed each morning full of gusto and ready to face the world? Or, do you automatically hit the snooze button multiple times and pull the covers over your head? I tend to be somewhere in the middle. I get out of bed with purpose, but I do need time to myself to replenish my spirit and face the day ahead of me. This helps me accept all things within and without of my control much easier. Thankfully I learned years ago just what I needed to do for myself to gear up for the day.
I have a morning routine that I’ve enjoyed since my oldest son, Henry, was born. At first it started out as a luxury. After making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom, I thankfully didn’t have to rush out the door each morning with my coffee in one hand and a banana in the other.
No, sir: once I switched gears and worked inside my home I could get up, stay in my cozy pajamas, grab some coffee plus the newspaper and relax quietly while I leisurely sipped at my coffee… At least until my baby woke up and made sure I heard him loud and on the baby monitor, which usually happened about two sips into my coffee!
Once I put the coffee down and picked up my son, the day no longer belonged to me. Between taking care of Henry and all the other responsibilities that came with being a parent and running a home there was always something to do.
After a few months of feeling as though I had no time for myself I decided it was up to me to make the time. So I started setting my alarm again, something I never thought I would have to do once I quit my job.
That’s right: I set my alarm so I could get up thirty minutes before my baby was scheduled to get up. I even went so far as to prepare my coffee the night before and set the timer so it would be ready when I woke up.
It’s something I still do every day and its absolute heaven for me to wake up, get out of bed and literally smell the coffee.
It makes no difference how terrible the day before may have been; when I wake up, inhale that wonderful aroma and snuggle up in my chair (or back in my bed) to read the paper all my senses come alive. Without even realizing what I’m doing, I take a deep breath, exhale and think to myself, “It’s a beautiful day!”
Back then I realized quickly that what I once thought of as a luxury was, in fact, a necessity. As most of you know, no matter how well you plan your day something can and does happen to throw you for a loop.
Giving myself time in the morning to partake in an activity that I enjoy helps reduce the levels of stress and anxiety that can build quickly throughout the day.
Never did I need this time more than after Larry died and I was completely consumed with grief. Grief was my constant companion every second of every day. I wondered many days, Will I ever feel joy, love or peace again?
Each morning when I was fully awake, the reality of what happened would hit me like a ton of bricks. But I had to get up. I had to get my kids ready for school. In auto mode, I would get out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, the paper and sit in my chair. Some days I stared at the paper, some days I read the same sentence over and over. Yet each day I carved out a little time just for ME. I gave myself an activity that had nothing to do with healing from grief, yet ironically, it gave me the ability to heal when I needed it most.
I pushed aside my grief, my worries about how I would get through the day and I just sat.
Days, months and years of carving out this time just for ME each morning has given me the ability to reclaim strength to face each day and tell myself, I CAN DO THIS!
Even today, I find I’m much more capable of handling curve balls thrown in my direction because I know I’ll always have a little piece of each day to myself. But, with a house full of kids I had to put a few ground rules in place.
Over the years my children have learned that if they wake up and I’m in my chair with a cup of coffee and reading the paper it’s “my” time and, unless it’s a pressing issue, they must respect my space.
So maybe you’re not a morning person or drink coffee or read the newspaper. My routine is what I decided was good for me. My routine works for me because it’s something I enjoy and I’ve communicated to other members of my household how important it is for me to have this time.
Of course, as a mom I struggled with the guilt of not being at the beck and call of my children 100% of the time. But it was my dear late husband, Larry, who would not only encourage me, but also at times tell me point blank: “I think you need some time alone.” Unfortunately, by the time he suggested this I was usually already pretty frazzled!
He taught me that it’s not selfish to take care of myself- quite the contrary, if I don’t it might impede my ability to be the mother I want to be. I find I’m more attentive and patient in the mornings when I’ve given myself time to replenish my spirit.
This is one wellness tool I’m happy to share – no matter what challenges you may face, find at least 30 minutes a day JUST FOR YOU.
It’s a tool I’ve been working on with my children as well. Let’s face it, these days the demands on teenagers continue to increase. Stress within this age group is increasing at rapid rates and everything from schoolwork to activities seems to be urgent.
Mind you, my kids may not drink coffee and sitting down to read the paper is not an activity they want to do. However, each one of my kids has a different activity that helps them unwind, quiet their brain and replenishes their energy so they can tackle homework or any other responsibilities they may have.
Here are some tips on creating some personal time:
Pick an activity you enjoy, for example, listening to music, walking, reading a book, meditating, journaling, drawing, taking a bath, etc. There are no hard and fast rules of what you should or shouldn’t do. My only recommendation is to find an activity that does not involve a lot of communication or interaction with others. Remember this is your time.
Let the members of your household know when it’s your time. Don’t be afraid to shut a door if that’s what it takes to get your space.
Be somewhat consistent with the time of day. Creating a routine will help to ensure that you’ll be more successful in putting aside this time that you need and using it. Be realistic: is 5:00 p.m. (when dinner and activities tend to dominate this time of day) a reasonable hour to expect personal time? Maybe it is in your home, maybe it isn’t. Only you know what your schedule looks like and the demands you face at different times of the day.
End with an affirmation. My affirmation- “It’s a beautiful day”- just came to me one day and I say it almost every morning. It has nothing to do with the weather outside.
Life is demanding and when you face grief, stress, anxiety, etc., those demands can magnify. Taking time for yourself is no longer a luxury: it’s a necessity.
I pray you find a little bit of peace each day and… Have a beautiful day!