I’m not exactly a morning person, but as a mom to a now teenager, I’ve had to play one on TV for about 13 years now. I don’t exactly mind being up in the morning (there's nothing quite like being the first one up and having a quiet house for that first cup of coffee and the Wordle), but I hate the sense of urgency and dread that comes with being unprepared for it. Mornings come every day, so we need to stop letting them catch us off guard! Over the years I’ve figured out what works for us, and that’s
GETTING STUFF DONE THE NIGHT BEFORE.
I know, it’s not exactly revolutionary, but think about how life changing it can be. How grateful is "future you" when "past you" took something off of your plate? What can you make time and space for in the mornings (more sleep, meditation, yoga, workout, walk, reading, longer breakfast, conversations with the spouse/kids) by taking care of the EASIEST stuff at night before bed? We can’t control everything. No matter how hard we try. Now it’s time to think about the little things that we can control.
Put yourself in your bed waking up one morning: What are the first three things that you wish you had done the night before? What would it be a relief to not have to do?
These are the things that I do, and they're all pretty simple, but I’ll fill you in on how I make them work for me.
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Tidy common areas
Put dishes away or in the dishwasher. Clear off the space (kitchen/dining room table, breakfast bar, or nook) where breakfast will be eaten. Even put remotes where they can be easily accessed. This is not to say that our house is spotless and neat every evening, but I do my best to clear our dining table and the coffee table in the living room so I don't have to look at bullshit through bleary morning eyes. Decluttering is for a different day: this is for survival. Anything extraneous you have to look at is taking energy from you, and none of us have that luxury in the morning.
One thing that has made my life easier is having breakfast be the same thing every single school day. In the spring and summer, she gets plain yogurt with cereal (or granola) and fruit (fresh or dried), and once the weather starts to turn cold, she gets oatmeal: EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. Each night I dump 1/2 cup quick oats into a microwave safe bowl (like this one) and add whatever strikes my fancy: chia seeds, peanut butter, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, raisins, frozen blueberries, homemade applesauce...the possibilities are endless. This gets set on the counter, and it only needs water + 90 seconds in the microwave. I cover the bowl, set a spoon on top, and I've even started to set a water glass next to that because, THE FEWER THINGS I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IN THE MORNING, THE BETTER.
Last year at Pants' school, lunches were free for everyone, and we took advantage of that. This year, that is not the case, but she's old enough to pack her own! Since she started kindergarten, we've used this lunchbox and these containers. Make it a lot like breakfast and limit the options, and pack it up the night before.
Set out clothes
Just set out the damn clothes. "morning you" will be grateful for the genius of "evening you".
Pack bags for work/school
See "Set out clothes"
Prep morning coffee/tea
This should really and truly be the first thing on this list, because if this isn't done, I have a hard time salvaging the whole morning. OK, I'm kidding, but not really. This will look different for each and every one of us, but it's so important! One of the last things I do before I shut down the house for the evening is make coffee for the next morning. I have a coffee maker (this one) that I prep and set every night to go off somewhere around 5:15am (sometimes earlier, depending on when my husband has to leave for work). Prep for you might be making sure that the French press is clean, or setting out the beans and grinder, or making sure that your kettle is clean, or setting out your favorite tea. Figure out what works for you, and make it a ritual.
And so I guess that's what this all is: a ritual. When you have a routine or a ritual, you make space for yourself and so many other things.
If you're looking to create space for a yoga practice, check out my free guide, or join me in person or on Zoom for a class!