No more Morning Mayhem! OK… well, less of it.
I am NOT a morning person and I do not drink coffee or caffeine. (gasp!)
Always go to bed later than I planned. And the alarm always goes off too soon.
Once I accept, I must indeed “Get Up!” , my mind naturally switches to “Go” mode: Wake up kids. Make Breakfast. Make lunches. What’s the weather? What we they wear? What will I wear? and so on.
How I respond to these thoughts sets the tone for the day.
Take this one morning (several years ago at this point) that we were behind schedule from the start and I then noticed that one child’s hair needed a wash. I arrived home from work after the kids were in bed . Hubby on nighttime shower duty. The one time he forgets to check and our child is going straight from school to a sleepover.
With the pressure of the bus arrival, I react, forgetting to take a deep breath and go from “0 to 60” quickly. First, I feel the need to yell my frustrations. After a minute of being lunatic mom, I catch myself and engage the power of mindfulness. I take a few Deep Breaths and shift into an extra gentle voice, work with my husband as a team to calmly help her get showered and everyone out the door, believe it or not, a few minutes early?!
All thanks to the transformative powers of mindfulness.
Yup. There are simple solutions to lessen the stress of morning prep, like just get up earlier or prep the night before. I’m usually too exhausted and decide to wait ’til tomorrow. This sets me up with a higher probability of waking in a “reactive” mode. To reduce this probability and not repeat the story above, give my simple routine below a try.
3 minutes. Hear me out!
I have found 3 minutes is my absolute minimum to really clear my head of any baggage from the day/night before. It also allows me to set an intention for the day.
Meditation does not need to be sitting cross-legged and formally meditating.
Some mornings, I’m just not ready when the alarm goes off to get up or formally practice yet. Sometimes, I just lie in bed and slowly bring myself to the present moment to focus and wake myself up.
Sample Outline for your 3 minutes
Here is a 5-minute sample recording of the below steps.
Please note. This was my first and only take with just the steps as my notes. So, it’s rough. Some word choices, intonation and pacing could have been better. But being my first, thought I would just put it out there to receive feedback on how to improve for the future. So please, share feedback. I’m a teacher and embrace constructive criticism to learn. Also, interesting to note, this was recorded in my room with my children enthusiastically playing downstairs (hubby with them) and neighbors outside the window cutting lawns & playing basketball. All these things I did not hear until I stopped recording and turned off the “beach”. I hope these tips help you create a similar 5-minute peaceful experience amongst everyday life.
1. LET IT GO
Take 3 deep breaths and exhale with a long sigh (because honestly, just not a morning person and usually not ready to get up). I think of it as inhaling positive energy and blowing out my negative thoughts about having to get up.
2. CENTER YOURSELF
I incorporate an excerpt from the teachings of Ticht Naht Hahn:
“Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.”(1) Simple. Easy. For just waking up. Brings me to the present moment vs. planning mode, which is where my mind wants to go as
soon as alarm goes off.
Give this a try: Exhale with a smile.
Yes, the smile feels really, really awkward at first. Laugh with yourself. Think about how silly you may look and make if fun!
3. SET YOUR INTENTION FOR THE DAY
You can start with a super simple intention (no yelling in the next 15 minutes, smile 5 times or give 5 people a compliment). Pick something you feel you will be successful at and then expand from there.. As you progress, you can embrace an intention for the day such as “I will approach my actions and words with loving kindness and compassion” “I will practice gratitude.”
4. CALM , FOCUSED, MAYBE HAPPY. WAKE UP THE KIDDOS!
(1) Planting Seeds by Thich Nhat Hanh. This book was one of my first and still one of my favorites of his teachings. I fulfilled a lifelong dream to practice under his guidance in the Fall of 2013 at the Blue Cliff Monastery. Well, me and about 100 others, but we were in the 3rd row, an incredible and special day. Recently, a small group of monks walked the “The Path of Happiness” (https://pathofhappiness.org/) and I had the privilege to spend the day with them.