For many people, especially those who have kids at home, mornings can be incredibly challenging. I used to be the person who would wake up 15 minutes before I needed to leave the house, rush around like a crazy person to get ready and unconsciously set a hectic tone for my day. I don't have kids to try to get out the door but the practice of setting up mornings to feel relaxed and peaceful is excellent for your family AND for you personally. Here are 5 simple tips:
1. Prepare the house the night before. Even if you are tired at 9pm, remember that taking 5-15 minutes in the evening to tidy up the house, pack lunch for the kids (or you/spouse) and lay out your clothes for the morning (be it workout attire or your work clothes) will make your morning already feel so much more chill. Waking up to a messy kitchen with a to-do list is a surefire way to start the day feeling harried. Heck-start the process before your kids go to bed and have them help lay out their clothes and pack their lunches. It can be quality family time that also benefits the entire household the following day!
2. Allow for a little snooze time if that's your thing. I know many experts will tell you to leap out of bed victoriously at the first ring of your alarm but let's be real, most people don't function like that. I'm not suggesting an hour long snooze fest (because that's not quality sleep) but I personally like to wake up about 10-20 minutes after my initial alarm goes off. Sometimes I pop in headphones and listen to a short Morning Meditation or other times I will read for a few minutes in bed (a book or an inspirational article online). This can also be a good technique for your kids-give them the alarm to start waking up but let them know they get 20 more minutes of "me time" to play in their rooms, listen to music, read or whatever else they might want to do as they are preparing for the day. How much more fun does that sound than screaming 'If you don't get up right now..."
3. Get yourself/kids dressed and ready first. Hemming and hawing about what to wear not only takes time, it creates stress. If you commit to dressing (and your kids too) before you come out of your bedroom (or immediately after your shower), this helps yet another morning calm killer get eliminated. You can then do makeup/hair/etc after you have your clothes on. And hopefully they have been laid out (and tried on if necessary) the night before making it EVEN easier! Same with your kids-make a rule that they have to come out dressed.
4. Auto-pilot and self serve breakfast. Now, I've been enjoying intermittent fasting lately so I don't eat breakfast these days but I'm pretty sure your kids (and many of you) actually need breakfast in the morning. If you have kids or a spouse that struggle to get their breakfast together (and therefore waste time/create stress), have brekkie on self serve and auto-pilot. You can make overnight oats in little individual jars that family can grab and eat quickly. You can even have scrambled eggs already cooked and just warm them in a pan with a little extra fat in the morning (most kids by the age of 7 or 8 should be able to handle this simple cooking task). Plain yogurt with already chopped fruit can be a great option or place all of the ingredients for a green smoothie in the blender (except ice) and put in the fridge so all you have to do in the morning is add ice and blend. Again, even pretty young kids can handle this and then you aren't responsible for every task in the morning. You can enjoy your coffee or tea while everyone else is getting their food independence on. Picture that-it looks pretty night, right?
5. Take a breath and relax. What I've learned is that so much of the stress I've experienced is because of how I frame my situation. If the morning feels hectic and you are running behind and no one is wearing shoes and someone burnt the breakfast eggs, take a deep breath (or three) and remember that in the grand scheme of life, all of that stuff is laughably insignificant. Teach your family a good lesson about how to reframe a stressful situation by relaxing into it and then finding ways to change it the next time around. That's the beauty of the morning routine-you get a do-over every single day!
Photo cred: www.sheknows.com