I didn’t learn the importance of “slow” until I moved to this island 10 years ago. I’d never put much thought into what I was doing, getting up every day and immediately launching into that day’s list of obligations. I didn’t have a choice… or so I thought. Slowing down proved to be a 180°. Adopting, and adapting, to the slow mentality is life changing and huge, but slowing down just your mornings is doable for most people. And it’s important.
Starting the day with a clear head means better decisions, lower blood pressure, and a more thoughtful life. Just giving your mind a little more time to slowly gather before getting out of bed is a good beginning. Then take more time to linger over a cup of something and NOT wolf down breakfast. Allowing this slower pace before the frenetic part of the day begins gives your brain time to think straight and starts the day off on firmer footing. Making this a quiet time isn’t always possible with children in the house, but making it a slower time probably is.
Most of us are used to getting up, getting ready, and getting on with whatever the day requires. No pauses in between. Racing through the day is bad enough, but racing to start the race probably means that most days pass without much thought. Pretty soon you’re a programed robot doing its duties.
Here’s some hints on how to start this new habit:
• If your mornings are rushed, think about getting up a little earlier. Doing it gradually, like 10 minutes earlier each week, means you’ll hardly notice the change.
• If possible, plan less. Trying to fit too much into the morning means you’ll always feel rushed. If you don’t have control of your own time in general, at least you have control over your early morning time, before starting work or tending a family. Parenting, of course, is a separate issue. There is no choice when there’s wee ones in the house. Their needs rule the household for a time, but those stages pass and the parent’s needs emerge once again.
• Think of something you can’t wait to get up and do. Looking forward to something first thing means starting the day off with a smile. Maybe a good book, the newspaper, yoga, cup of coffee, a shower, meditation, a good stretch, cuddle and conversation with your a partner. Starting each day with whatever you thoroughly enjoy makes a difference. I love to laugh.
• Designate early morning time as your special time, one that’s not filled with TV, news, email, facebook and the like. Instead, fill it — whether it’s 10 min. or 60 — with meaningful things that you seldom get time for.
A Good Morning doesn’t just falls into your lap — you have to consciously create it. Try one of these suggestions and see if your mornings improve, but always remain flexible. Stuff happens that interrupts a rigid routine, no matter what it is. Knowing that this will happen means you won’t be frustrated when it does.
Good Mornings can be a giant first step to starting your own, personalized, stress management program. Yay!