Wake up, drink the coffee, do the things... Right? But what if there was so much more to my morning routine.
I noticed something this school year, that I seriously wish I would've figured out 5 years ago. I started seriously observing and taking note of things that incredibly amazing people do to be.... well, amazing. Their energy, passion and peace that they carried with them through every season inspired me to take inventory of my life. One thing I realized that they all had was some kind of morning routine. Whether it was a green smoothie, a quiet time, absolutely black coffee and yoga... whatever it was, it was unique to them AND working for them. It was the way they kicked off their day in a positive and productive way.
I report to work at 7:15. Like, that's what time they start paying me for my labor. Typically, I get to work around 6:30 or 6:45 because 30 minutes just isn't a lot of time for me to mentally prepare to welcome 25 humans into our space with a happy heart and patience. The idea of waking up an hour before I have to start getting ready PAINED me to my core. 4:00 am. FOUR FREAKING A M. That's too dang early, y'all. And can I just say for a moment, if you do wake up at 4 am, more power to you. I'm proud of you. Tip my hat to you. Give you all the brownie points. I however, just can't. I had to find a way to sacrifice some time so that I could spend an entire hour before I started getting ready to prepare my heart and my mind for the day ahead. So, I stopped getting ready at 5am and moved my getting ready time to 6am. I leave for work, now, at about 6:45-6:50. STRESS. This used to stress me out, until I got into my routine and started to notice how much more energized, productive, and PATIENT I was being in my classroom. Instead of taking 30 minutes when I get to school to prepare my mind for my babes, I spend that time at home preparing my mind for the entirety of the day. When I do get to school, around 7:05, I use my time SO MUCH MORE wisely to prepare for the day. I don't just sit and stare at my wall, because I'm so dang tired! On top of all of this, I've noticed my planning time being 10x more productive, because I know that at 3:45- I'm gonna want to go home, spend time with my pup, or just go live my life.
Sure, you can get to school early or you can stay until the wee hours of the night, but if you're not being productive, what's the point? I can accomplish a million times more in 2 hours, feeling rested and prepared than I can accomplish in 6 hours of feeling overworked and drained. IT'S JUST MY TRUTH! Maybe, it's not yours. Maybe you thrive in working all of the hours at school. But, let me just tell you, I did an entire classroom transformation this week, walls covered and everything, and I still didn't get to school until 7:05 and I left right at 3:45... but I sure as HAIL used my time wisely while I was there. And the thing that saved me was this, my new morning routine. So, whether I've sold you on it or not, here it is. It's what works for me, it involves ZERO exercise (because I like working out in the afternoon, and I'm just as strong and cool because I workout after school as anyone who works out at 2 am before they get ready- sorry... exercise is exercise period ) and a whole lot of drinking a whole cup of hot coffee while I invest in myself.
First, I drink the coffee.
The first thing I do in the morning is drink my coffee hot and how I like it, in my favorite mug. While I drink my coffee, I spend some time reading my Bible and a favorite book of mine. Whether it's self help or a thrilling mystery, I read... for myself. The myth that teachers can't get a hot cup of coffee in needs to be debunked, now. I get it's a joke but the only reason you don't have time for yourself in the morning, is because you're not making it. Whether it's drinking hot coffee or eating your favorite breakfast food, slow down and do SOMETHING, one little thing that makes you happy.
Next, I write a bit...
I have a journal that sits on my coffee table with a pen inside of it. Every morning, for just about 10-15 minutes I write. Most recently, it's been 10 things I'm grateful for. Not big things, small things like how hot my husband is or how rich my coffee tastes at that very moment. Some days, I just write down all of the things I'm thinking, because as someone who battles anxiety, there's a lot and sometimes the best thing I can do is write it down, make the list, or just simply get it out of my racing mind. Also, it helps my penmanship which is something I've really been working on recently. That sounds goofy, but it's true. Take a few minutes to reflect on your life, be grateful, give your cares to the Lord, or just work on your penmanship!
Lastly, I frontload...
I am the type of person who LOVES it when things go exactly as planned. Which is frighteningly ironic because I'm in a profession where things are literally always changing. This doesn't mean I'm not super flexible on the outside. Like, if you could see me in action, you probably wouldn't believe that I'm a control freak, because I can still go with the flow... I just hate it in my mind. I'll be super flexible and fluid in person, then go home and just RIP my husband to shreds for something he didn't even do.... It's a personal flaw, I'm WORKING on it. So, in my morning routine, I've started to "plan" my day. I go through all of the things I have planned. Lessons, meetings, emails I have to respond to, errands I have to run, people I have to meet after school, ect. I predict how those events are going to play out. This doesn't mean I'm a huge pessimist thinking of all of the things that go wrong, I just consider the personalities, the events and possible things that MIGHT not go as planned. Doing this helps me be flexible in situations where things might not go exactly as I anticipated. It also helps me have exponentially more grace for creepy, difficult, or frustrating people. Front load, white MIGHT happen today that could throw me off of my game, and how can I tackle it without looking like a complete a-hole?
Of all of the morning routines I've observed and all of the amazing people I want to be like, mine is completely different. AND THAT'S OKAY, Y'ALL. I know I just spilled the beans about my morning routine, why it works for me and exactly what I do... But the thing is, my morning routine... it might be a disaster for you. I do three things, keep it simple and it makes the rest of my day smooth as butter, for the most part. So, my challenge to you isn't to do what I do. My challenge to you is to pick 3 things in the morning that you do before you get ready, serve the people in your life and walk through your day. If it doesn't work at first, tweak your 3 things. The most important thing is that you're taking the time in the morning to prepare for your day.
I hope this week is filled with all the pumpkin, vanilla and fall scents. I hope SOMEONE makes you smile and giggle a little bit. But most of all, I hope you impact ONE person with your peace, grace and positive outlook about the season you're walking through.