The Calm and Charm of Morning

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the mornings. I’ve known for a couple of years now that (most) people are (generally) more productive in the mornings, and that kicking off your morning with productivity can make you feel more positive during the day. So, I’ve tried to adopt the morning thing for awhile now. At first, this was mostly to just get things done before work so I didn’t feel stressed in the evening if I worked after the end of the work
day.

Let me pause to mention something I also learned about myself regarding working at home after regular work hours. Sometimes, we all need to do some work after hours so you feel like you’re not in the weeds the next workday. A couple years ago, I used to work after dinner and before bed. I found I was not sleeping well because of that. I’d have a hard time falling asleep because my mind was still active from working. I’d be restless because my dreams would be about work. I’d wake up tired and grumpy because I had to get up and get ready for work all over again after I’d just worked that previous evening and dreamed about work all night. I didn’t give img_8469myself a break. It was too much of a vicious cycle. So I decided that if I needed to work past regular work hours, I would work at the office and get home a little later. That way, when I got home, I would not have to look at my email or computer at all. Alternatively, I would go home with some work undone, not look at my computer, and then wake up in the morning with a fresh pair of eyes and mind. I felt determined to get more done in 45 minutes or 1 hour in the morning before I got ready for work than I did in the office. I found it so peaceful (as peaceful can be when you’re working) to go through emails, make a priority list, and make some headway on a project when others aren’t online yet. Either way, not working in the evenings allowed me to have a much more restful sleep and enjoy my evening at home more. For the record, I do my best to not work after hours at all, but if I have to, I definitely choose the mornings.

Now, “back to the lecture at hand”. (Bonus points if you caught that lyric drop.) So, the mornings. I started waking up earlier in order to get work done. Then, I started eventually waking up to get some reading done. Then, I started waking up to get workouts in. I was enjoying the productivity of the morning. But, I’ve also started enjoying just feeling like I’m “greeting the day”. Lately, I’ve been waking up and setting my intention for the day. Some days you want to feel super boss babe at work, other days, you want to feel like you’re a creative, or you want to feel calm, or that you’re kicking ass in your home life. I find that setting my intention based on how I feel when I wake up, sets my tone for the day. It allows me to have a goal in mind, to think about how to accomplish it, and even helps me to decide what I want to wear that day. Some mornings I get up early to work out, some to take care of putting up laundry that’s been sitting out, to make lunches, or, to just spend a little extra time getting ready for work so I’m not rushed. I actually do the latter a lot more now. Waking up a little earlier to give yourself the time you need to get ready really helps to not start your day off in a frenzy. Oh! And giving yourself ample drive time so traffic isn’t as aggravating is helpful too. With these early mornings, I’ve found that when I don’t wake up as early, even on weekends, I don’t feel as productive. Or rather, I feel like I’ve missed out on opportunities to be with myself and to think about how I want to feel that day. On the flip side, if my body says “no” when my alarm goes off in the morning, I definitely listen and use that extra time to rest. (Hmm…maybe my next blog post will be about rest and recovery. #lightbulb)

My husband has never really been a morning person and never thought he would be. But lately, he’s been getting up early with me even though he goes into work later than me (West Coast hours). He started getting into coffee when we were on the Whole30 and now it’s become a morning ritual of his to grind fresh coffee beans and make a pot. He sits outside…well, here’s what he says about the mornings in his words:

Me: What is your typical weekday morning like?
I rise at about 6:30, either let out the dog or feed him. Put on a pot of coffee, lounge around, get ready for the day, make breakfast for us; all before getting ready…unless I’m going to the gym. That’s the most common.

img_9959Me: And what are you thinking about in the morning? Do you have any mental rituals to get your ready for the day?
I usually look at my work calendar, our home calendar, check my work email to see what has or hasn’t popped in. A therapeutic thing I do in the morning that is a ritual is making the bed. It’s therapeutic because I know that when I get home, it’s going to be made and look nice and inviting.

Me: What is your favorite part about the morning during the week? What is your favorite part about the morning on the weekend?
For both, it’s a new day. You never know what will unfold. You can kind of start fresh. Obviously, I like the weekend morning better because we can make our own plans and do what WE want to do. But, I enjoy the mornings when I’m finally up and awake.

Me: You never thought you’d be a morning person. Do you think you are now? If so, why?
I don’t know if I’m in with both feet as a morning person. But I have been enjoying the mornings. I’ve been experiencing them more. Before, I was staying up late and was missing the mornings. So I never really wanted to be up before. But, I like the morning overall. I still like night. But the mornings have been more agreeable lately.

 

As my husband astutely mentioned, the mornings have a charm that no other time of day does. It gives me thoughts like: “What will happen today? I’m grateful for waking up and being here. The sky was just dark and now it’s light. Look, the moon is still out. Here comes the sun. I wonder what the weather will be like. I remember the mornings when we were abroad together. We will travel and see mornings abroad again together. But for now, I’m grateful for these mornings we have now. This coffee/tea is tasty. I’m hungry. Bacon sounds good right about now…”

Now, I don’t get to have this insightful of a morning every day. But, when I am able to make time to reflect, it’s special. On our free weekends (which are rare!), we still get up img_8285early-ish, do a workout (or don’t), make a leisurely breakfast, watch an episode of a travel show, and just decide how we feel for the day. We sit outside with the dog and just enjoy the rest we deserve from the hard work we put in the week before. And, we know that if our family grows one day, these mornings will be even more rare!  For now, while we can and when we can, it’s nice to greet the day together. Best of all, anyone who knows me, knows I love fall. The morning weather is starting to feel so crisp lately. It’s wonderful! Needless to say, with my newfound love of the mornings, I’m really looking forward to experiencing new morning moments this upcoming season to see what they bring.

 

 

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