3 Little Things Make Mornings Mellower

mgys8xeThere isn’t much that is more full of surprises than parenting. One minute, everything is running along smoothly; the next minute, you’re running to the school to pick up a sick child. But self-care for parents with mental disorders requires consistency, hard to come by for any parent.  So, I’m building a list of little things I can do to keep my energy and spirits even despite what the day—and the kids—throw at me. I’m starting with my a.m. routine, because a calmer morning can set the tone for the whole day. Here are three things I’ve found that reliably get me going on a mellower path in the morning.

  • Getting up just a little bit before the kids. I love my first cup of coffee and seldom get to enjoy the whole cup. My daughter is either in a great mood and I want to interact with her, or she’s in a foul mood and I want to hide. I realized it’s really that first aromatic, creamy sip of coffee that I want to savor in peace, so I hit the kitchen just five or ten minutes before my daughter. By the time she’s bounding down the stairs, I’m ready to see which of her faces she’s bringing to the day.
  • Making my bed. If I don’t get my bed made in the morning, I go about the entire day feeling like there’s a dirty secret hiding in my house. But, if I take the two or three minutes to straighten the covers and pile up the pillows, I feel like I’ve already accomplished something before I’ve even gotten to the kitchen. Even if I never get to the breakfast dishes, I know my bed is made.  And at the end of the day, pulling down the covers of a neatly-made bed helps me feel like someone cared about me.
  • Starting the morning the night before. It takes less than two minutes for me to pick out an outfit to wear the next day. If I wait ’til the morning, I’m going to grab the nearest sweatpants and t-shirt and I’ll probably wear them all day. Sure, they’re comfy, but they don’t do much for my self-esteem. My daughter has gotten into this habit, too, but she takes it another step further. She sleeps in pajama bottoms with the top she’ll wear the next day.

They aren’t much, my three little things, but they do a lot to make it easier to get some of the stress out of my morning routine. What about you? Do you have any little tricks or treats that you use to make taking care of yourself easier?

9 responses to “3 Little Things Make Mornings Mellower

  1. OMG – I freaked out reading this (in a good way!) because I do these EXACT three things (or *try* to do them) every school day. Moreover, I do them for the EXACT same reasons as you so eloquently describe!

    I’m blown away!

    Great minds think alike – especially the crazy, great minds! ;))))

    Good luck in the mornin’,

    p.s. these tasks get MUCH more difficult for me after the time change and when it gets very, very cold in the mountains where I live.

    Using my Sunbox DL desk light in the morning helps me a great deal as far as getting going in the early, icy mornings – I’ve had mine for over 10 years and I love it. You can get one for less than what I paid ($199) at http://www.sunbox.com and sometimes if you have a doctor write a note saying you need it, some insurance companies will actually reimburse for it. For those interested I’d call or email Sunbox about this issue as they used to have sample letters to have your doctor complete.


    • That is really freaky! I totally know what you’re saying about winter. Hate it!!! My psychiatrist told me to get a Sunbox and told me to check with insurance. I did, but they won’t pay for it. Sigh. I even told the representative that it costs less, in the long run, than the take-em-for-life prescriptions I’m on. She saw the logic, apologized and said, “No.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Janice, I have always been a “morning person.” Only marriage to a night owl has caused me to stay up a little later than I’d ordinarily choose. I love your small items of self-care that help you begin your day. I too love to spend a few minutes in the quiet before the lunch-making, last minute packing craziness sets in. I don’t feel quite the way you do about making your bed, however. I am much more likely to feel sane if the kitchen is clean. But you are also right about preparing the night before. My prep of choice is to measure out the coffee and water in my drip coffee maker so that I can just flip a switch when I come down groggy in the morning.


  3. Mary, when we had a traditional coffee pot, I would try to do the before-bed routine. It always felt like a little gift the next morning. Now that I can only handle one cup of the real stuff, we use the Keurig and I treasure that first sip. Plus, no more wasted coffee!


  4. Coffee. Without it, I am completely crazy. I also like to start my day the night before. There is nothing worse than waking up to a bunch of decisions and picking up stuff in house that should have been cleaned up the day before!

    My coffee is icky today. I went to Kaldis and they asked if I wanted a flavor shot (i never do this)I thought today I would take a walk on the wild side, and I chose sugar-free caramel–I wish I didn’t . Now I have a large $3.50 coffee that is too sweet. Oh well….


  5. I love these tips and will have to try to implement them… I’m not sure how I’ll manage to get up before the kids (they seem to adjust to whatever time my husband and I are waking up, so it’s a moving target) but that would sure help!

    My shower is my “check point” in the morning. I don’t take a super long one, but those 5 meditative minutes in hot, streaming water is a quiet time that I can’t do without.

    And having a clean kitchen helps tremendously. Our dishwasher has been broken for the past three months, so this one is really challenging right now, but walking into a dirty kitchen first thing just starts everything off on the wrong foot!


    • I don’t get up that much earlier than my kids; even 5 minutes gets the coffee made and one sip taken. I’m going to be more conscientious about the kitchen. I’ve been letting it slide.


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