16: starting the day off right

Lately I’ve been really pushing myself to create a morning routine.

I currently don’t really have one – I’ll laze around on my phone, wake and and doze off again, lie around thinking about how I don’t feel like going to work or doing whatever else it is I have to do that day.

So I often end up rushing around in order to get out the door on time. I have to skip over things that I find important, but which aren’t absolutely necessary.

Lately, though, I’ve realized that maybe those extra pieces of my morning routine that get skipped really are important. While I want to get ready efficiently, I don’t want to rush.

Rushing around automatically sets me up to have a bad day mentally.

So what’s important for me to accomplish in the morning, and why?

First, a pot of tea. Especially this time of year, it’s instant warmth, but also instant hydration, and a slight caffeine boost to get me moving.

Stretching seems healthy, both physically and mentally. It gets my blood flowing, for one thing. When I stretch, I do it methodically, and focus on nothing else but holding my body in the positions it needs to be in. It’s like meditation, and this helps me center myself and clear my head before a long day of non-stop over-thinking about everything.

Additionally, I suffer from chronic lower back pain, so getting a good stretch in early reduces some of the pain I’m inevitably going to feel anyway. If I skip the stretch, I create room to blame myself for that pain later. That’s a mental drag that I want to avoid if I can.

Making time for a healthy breakfast is crucial. I have been eating sugary cereal my entire life. I consume a ton of Reese’s Puffs, Boo Berry, Cinnamon Toast Crunch… All terrible, terrible ways to start your morning, even though short-term they feel so good.

I’m trying to eat more fruit, eggs, toast – that sort of thing. I end up just feeling generally better about myself when I do.

Finally, taking time to shower, think about what to wear, combing my hair, brushing my teeth – all simple things that, when rushed, leave me feeling less than my best. Look good, feel good, right?

My theory is that accomplishing each of these things provides a small mental boost, which, when combined, set me up to have a much better day.

So I’m working to create a space that encourages routine. I’m teaching myself that, as comfortable as my bed might be, those little boosts are worth it, are something to look forward to.

So today I managed to knock my daily blog out bright and early. Took a little extra time, but I gave myself that time when I woke up early and started being productive. So now I’ve already knocked that off my to-do list.

Feels pretty good.

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