Even though I’m not always a fan of actually getting out of bed, my favorite time of day is early early morning. Most of the time, no other humans are awake. No one needs me, no one has demands on my time and if I take advantage of this, I have the opportunity to get my thoughts together and organized for the day. If I got up early enough, I can even get some “me” things done.
Granted, as Caregivers, sometimes the dark hours are far busier than we would like. Care Recipients who can’t relate to the reality of the clock, who need to use the bathroom, who are hungry or thirsty or who are just awake and bored. Those are the nights of exhaustion that can lead right into a day of frustration and short-tempers due to lack of sleep. But that’s a post for another time.
Let’s focus on those successful morning routines.
If I’m motivated enough to roll out of bed before everyone else, there will be time to work out, have devotions, eat breakfast, feed the cats (and empty that litter box), take a shower and maybe even time to water the garden then sit outside with a mug of coffee…all before I start waking up the teenagers in the house. Today was one of those mornings! I am fairly sure there are bonus points accumulated somewhere when a Monday morning actually comes together. Any day that starts out well makes the rest of the day go smoother (most of the time) but when a Monday morning feels organized, there’s hope for the whole week! The motivation to repeat the early morning routine on Tuesday is stronger and the mental checklist for the week that started in my brain is begging for completion.
As tough as it is to get out of bed, especially for busy Caregivers with jobs, families and other demands on their already cram-packed life, I can’t encourage you enough to make the attempt. It could be that you’re sure nighttime is better for you, when everyone has gone to bed, and for a very select few, that may be the case. However, from everything I have read and the research I have done, going to bed before midnight (ideally earlier) and getting in that morning workout has the most benefits for us mentally and physically. There’s also something to the concept of focusing your energy on planning a newly dawning day rather than recapping what you “coulda shoulda”. And let’s be honest…all those things you mentally push to the end of the day, to take care of when everyone else is in bed, are really easy to ignore as you fall into bed thinking that you’ll just take care of them tomorrow. But if you’re up (hopefully rested), it is AMAZING how many more things you can fit into an early hour than you can into a late hour.
I’m nowhere near perfect at all of this. Right now I barely qualify as competent. For quite some time I was really good though – and it showed. I felt more focused, more patient and didn’t have nearly as many moments of mental meltdown. I could handle the needs of my family, the demands of my job and the random requests of my time far more efficiently. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt that for several months now, so here I am starting from, what feels like, scratch. The biggest thing I have pushing me along is the memory of what it felt like before – a mighty motivator!
Not sure you can do it? Start small. Get up 15 minutes before you have to and enjoy a cup of coffee or a longer shower. Better yet, go for a quick walk around the block (probably the best of the options). Maybe do one of each throughout the week. When you realize you like them all, try getting up early enough to fit them all in! Do what works for you. Savor the quiet, breathe in that cooler morning air and take some time for yourself. Dare we call it self care???? Yep. And it makes you a better Caregiver.
This week that mental checklist that is begging for completion is to post a little something every day – blog on the website and photos/mental snippits on Instagram. I’ve decided the two should go hand-in-hand. Only time will tell if my Monday Mojo was on point or just making random demands of my time.