Savoring Your Mornings
I've never loved mornings more than when I was in college. It was the most sleep deprived period of my life to date, but also one of the most sweet. I remember rolling into bed after midnight most days, only to get up before the sun. I'd quietly slip into the dorm common space, turn on the coffee maker, and cuddle up in my favorite chair to read my Bible and watch the sun rise out of our third story window. These moments were sweet and quiet. Undistracted. Unhurried moments of exploration mixed with contemplation. Moments just for me before the busyness of the day and the expectations of the world came crashing down around me.
Over the years, my morning routine has changed with each new season of life. After we got married, Luke worked latelatelate nights and I was figuring out the whole how to work from home thing. It was rare we went to bed before 1 am, or that we woke up before 9. I tried to give myself some grace as I figured things out, but it was a drastic shift and I didn't like how it made me feel. Slowly, over the years, we've settled into a new normal; a happy medium between the 5 o'clocks of college and the late mornings of early marriage.
Over the years, I've also read a lot of blog posts about the ideal morning routine, and if I'm being honest, most of them filled me with all sorts of guilt. They left me feeling that I should immediately roll out of bed with a giant smile on my face and do ALL OF THE THINGS. So, I tried, and I failed. There was no way I could do everything that other people suggested I should be doing, and what's worse - I didn't want to. I had no desire to immediately go for a morning run and check off my biggest checklist tasks before 7 am. Realistically, I just wanted to have an hour or so to do whatever I wanted to do before I started my day. I wanted to just drink coffee and read without feeling guilty about being "unproductive".
So… that's what I do. It's so simple, but giving myself permission to do something that brings me joy first thing in the morning has drastically shifted how I feel about the rest of my day. Instead of feeling guilty, I fully embrace and savor the idea of a slow morning. Admittedly, it's not the most productive way to start my day. But I'm okay with that, because I know that life is just a series of seasons. Right now, I'm in a season of life where I don't have to manage every second of my day perfectly. I've intentionally created a lot of margin in my life, which allows me to "waste" time without feeling guilty about it. I know that I'm not going to have this luxury forever, so I enjoy it while I can. While I'm still in this season. And when life changes and my mornings need to look different, I'll embrace that change and savor the new routine.
No matter what season of life I'm in, I'm going to use the best part of my day to do things that I love, and savor each and every moment while doing them.
With that said, I do set boundaries.
What I do in the first hour of my day determines how I feel for the rest of the day. For example, if I spend the first hour of my day scrolling through Instagram, I may spend the rest of my day comparing myself to others. If I spend the first hour of my day in my email inbox, I'll be tempted to spend the rest of my day reacting to other people's problems instead of doing the work I need to do. Being intentional and setting boundaries in the morning allows me to enjoy the rest of my day as well.
And because I'm ever practical, here's a few tips to help you apply this principle to your own life:
Make a list of things that bring you joy.
This looks different for everyone. Maybe your ideal morning routine looks like immediately jumping out of bed and going for a run. Maybe it means lighting a candle, making some coffee, and sitting down with your Bible. Maybe it means cooking a delicious breakfast and journaling. Do something that brings you joy, but you don't have time for during the rest of your day.
Write down how much time each activity will take you.
This will tell you realistically how early you need to get up in order to do everything you'd like before the first obligation of your morning.
Make the first task of your day something you want to do so much that it motivates you to get out of bed when the alarm clock goes off.
If you're not looking forward to your morning, you're more likely to value a little extra sleep over those sweet early hours. For me, that very first thing is making coffee. It's a cherished routine every single morning, and it helps to know where I'm going as soon as I get out of bed.
Do morning activities you don't enjoy the night before.
This will allow you to skip the tasks you dread and savor your mornings more.
Don't try to multitask.
Do one thing at a time, and be present while you do them.
Do less, but with more intention.
Truly, it comes down to making the time to do things that you love, and savoring the moment while you do them.