Being a parent can be stressful at times. Ah, who am I kidding, it’s stressful all the time! And there is little we can do about the hustle and bustle that is running a household. But, the one thing we can do for ourselves to help us keep our mojo going is make a selfish morning routine.
But SLEEP, Jon. SLEEP! I can hear you saying it now. You’re right too, sleep is super important. But there are few things as important as keeping your sanity. Sleep wont give that too you. But a little bit of selfishness can.
We spend our days doing things for other people almost every second. Especially you moms. There are exceptions and a few dads out there that run households too, and I don’t want too leave you guys out! Dad Love! But regardless of your gender, there is always someone in the house that spends their time tending to everyone else.
I am going to recommend you stop that for a few minutes and get super, duper, selfish.
Why You Need You Time
Doing the same thing over and over is tiresome, and can cause some lasting issues, and long recovery times, if a break down occurs. Nobody wants that, and even though the signs are there it still sneaks up on you. Everyone thinks it wont happen to them too. Until it does.
It doesn’t take much time to gather yourself for a day of making lunches, putting on band aids, and saving the world from 5 year old nuclear meltdowns. Only about 15 or 20 minutes. I recommend the morning because you can actually be alone if you get up before everyone else. You could do these things at night, but starting your day from a centered stance, is more effective than ending it that way.
That is where the sleep comes in, and yes you might have to forgo a tv show to get in bed to allow yourself your selfish morning routine. Heck, you might really like that tv show, but if you give this a try, I think you will forget it quite fast. Besides, watching the tube isn’t really being alone, it is electronic company, which has the same effect as actual people as far as calming goes.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Running
These are a few physical activities you can do to get your day started on the right foot. The breathing aspects of yoga and tai chi can really help focus your energy in a positive way. I don’t want to get to spiritualish here, but what I do want you to do is focus on your breath. Don’t make the activity hard, and really feel your breath moving in and out. It has a very meditative effect on your body and can help clear your mind before you are lambasted with chatter and responsibility.
There are physical benefits as your practice grows, as well as benefits your your structure and balance. It may also grow into a passion that you can explore in other free times you might have in your week.
Running is great too, even though I personally like the other two options much more. Running will be more physical, but can be very zen if you let it. It is sometimes more time consuming, because with running sometimes you want a change of scenery and you have to drive somewhere to get it. Most of my yoga and tai chi practice, I don’t even have my eyes open so it really has not been an issue.
Sitting Alone With Your Thoughts
As a parent, I know sometimes you are so busy you can’t even hear yourself think. You forget your dreams and goals, and just go day to day mending everyone else’s issues. Just sitting alone with your thoughts can allow you to get back in touch with yourself and get to know some of the things you have neglected in your own mind while making sure everyone else was taken care of.
Some people have a real struggle with this, and they can benefit from it most. If you find yourself getting stir crazy work hard to sit by yourself until you can defeat that feeling. Your body and mind adapt to what you do, and it is fighting to get back to where it usually is. Fight back so that you may control your thoughts, it will help you control yourself in situations that become tense or emotional later in the day.
Grounding is a great way to do this. Take your shoes off and stand in your yard and just be with yourself. Hear your thoughts, and feel the ground with your skin. It is quite comforting during the early morning just before sunrise. Even in the cold weather. I don’t do snow though. Bare feet and snow is not happening around here. I mean, I have baby soft feet….
Everyone at this point knows the benefits of meditations. It went from mumbo jumbo, to science. Meditation is good for you, and most people just don’t take the time to do it. Making it part of your selfish morning routine is a great idea. I would recommend sitting with your own thoughts for a while before jumping right it because it is quite hard to silence your mind at first. Being able to be alone with your thoughts for extended periods can be a great lead into meditation.
Having a meditation practice is one of the very best things you can do for your well being, and just about the only time you can fit it in is before everyone else stirs. Unless you have some secret hide out nobody knows about, parents can’t escape life while the children and spouse are around. Start slowly and build up, use an alarm if you have a deadline for your routine if you have too.
Color or Draw
I am no artist, but coloring and drawing are super zen exercises. Most of the things that can help you clear your mind are menial tasks. These are two of the best. I like to color mandalas, so does my wife. She draws better than me, but we both aren’t very good. She thinks she is though, so don’t tell her I said that…. When you aren’t good at something you try harder and it becomes effort instead of zen. So coloring won out pretty easy around here.
You can find printables all over the internet, or pick up some coloring books to use. They are inexpensive for the most part and good ones can be found a craft stores all over. If you don’t have a printer, you can print some for pocket change, that is one of the benefits of your local library we mentioned in this post.
Make Time For You
Sometimes doing something selfish benefits everyone. This is one of those times, so give it a try. Wake before everyone, or after everyone goes to sleep if you have too. But take some time to strengthen your mind so that you can better control how you react to things throughout the day.
We all fly off the handle at silly things. We get mad, upset, emotional. Having a morning routine can help build a base that will allow you to combat that and give you a better foothold in times of stress instead of it just piling up on you.
For most things, it is more important how you finish. But for your day, sometimes starting the right way gives you the best chance for success.
*Photos by DiamondBack Sun Photography