I have found my entire day will be shaped around how my morning begins. If I walk downstairs and see cluttered countertops and various messes all around the house I feel like I have a heavy to-do list to accomplish before I can do anything else. With that feeling my shoulders raise, my body tightens and I feel like I am already behind in the day. Physical clutter= Mental clutter for me. Anyone else?
It has taken some trial and error for me to find a formula that helps me feel more relaxed in starting my day. Truthfully, if I can simply come downstairs and feel the day is manageable it is some amazing self-care I can give myself.
Now, I will add that these items are not revolutionary or groundbreaking but they have really helped me. So maybe they will trigger a thought for you on how you could sculpt your own system too.
|| An empty sink and clean countertops ||
Working/Tidying later into the evening is rewarded come the morning time. Ross and I alternate who puts Desi to bed at night. Whoever is not doing bedtime is in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner. Then once bedtime is finished the other person will join to help in finishing the job. Oddly enough, I have found it to be an opportunity for us to chat just the two of us and doesn’t last as long when we are both at it. With that being said, if we finish dinner early enough Desi helps us with loading dishes in the dishwasher or bringing dishes into the the kitchen. When possible it is a full family endeavor, which doesn’t mean it moves faster but Desi is learning to take care of her our ‘environment’ so thats the benefit.
Dishes are loaded in the Dishwasher every night and the timer set to for it to run during the night because I think its too loud during the day. Even if its only 60% full I will run it anyway- good thing is that means less to unload, I suppose.
Once those are loaded I grab my bottle of Thieves spray and wipe down the countertops. RANDOM TIP for medical families: Every night we boil Desi’s nebulizers and place them vertically on a paper towel and plate to dry. Well, I’m sure it sounds bananas but those paper towels are completely dry the next morning so I fold them in half and place them under the sink. Then when Desi wants to clean windows, wipe a spill or I need to wipe down countertops I will reach for those towels so that I don’t feel so wasteful.
After wiping down the counters I turn a small lamp on and walk out. Its like the last sign that the kitchen is finished and buttoned up, having that lamp on.
|| Toys picked up in the living room ||
Anything that has been brought to the living room and left on the floor is gathered and re-homed. Typically this is a pretty quick step (because I rotate toys out) and it makes such a difference! I will say that I do not pick up the ENTIRE house every night! Personally, I found there were specific areas that caused me more stress then other places so those are the areas I hit.
|| Look over calendar for what is going on tomorrow ||
Usually when I finish wiping down the countertops I will take a quick look at the calendar to see what is on the the docket for the next day. I love a paper planner! Are we going to the library with friends? Is gymnastics bag ready? Grocery Pick up scheduled? I will usually write down on my todo list for the next day anything that needs to be done for those items.
I’ve mentioned before I have a running list of things that I do, or clean, every Monday or every Thursday, etc. This is when I make note of those too. This way we aren’t rushed getting out the door because I forgot something or if we have lots of free time I don’t squander it all away on nothing. I can then look at the weather to plan something fun to do.
|| Exercising first thing in the morning ||
Clothes are laid out the night before. My water bottle is filled. Then purse, keys, jacket and shoes and laid out and easily accessible. It’s almost like how firefighters have everything set out ready. I do not have much brainpower that early in the morning so for this box to be checked I have to have everything ready in advance. I also have a couple friends that also go to class at that time so I have extra accountability in getting to the studio in the mornings.
This one is so so difficult sometimes but let me tell you it is 100% worth it! I started the day doing something for me, my body, my mental health. I put on real clothes (exercise clothes count!). It forced me outside so for a few brief moments so I breathed in some nice fresh air. No one ‘needed’ me or my attention- I could zone out. And finally, I got to be *just* Jamie- not Wife, not Mum just me.
|| Living room blankets put in basket and throw pillows on sofa ||
The final act of preparing for tomorrows Self Care is blankets in the designated basket- I used to fold them then put them in the basket and I just decided that was a waste of time. I now literally through them in and as long as they aren’t falling out over the sides I call it a day. The basket look like a muffin- blankets puff out at top and are tucked in on the sides of the basket. Straightened throw pillows just give room the last little bit of symmetry and calmness.
Seriously this takes maybe 5 minutes to read over and gives an outline for the next day.
Hopefully that jogs something in your mind that would work for you. I think it is possible to have a smoother start to the day but it take extra steps in planning and examining what it is that are 'stressors' for you. From there it is worth every moment put in. It is a gift you give yourself!!