Morning Routine

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Having a morning routine benefits my productivity as well as my stress levels!

The benefits of a morning routine – Niamh O’Connell

Published in Natural Parenting Ireland Magazine Winter 2018

All of us have a list of things we’d love to do when we “get the time”. Yoga, crafting, writing a book, painting a room, starting a business etc. Can you identify with that?

We all have the same amount of time available to us, and once you realise that the only thing holding you back is yourself, you can get over that hurdle and achieve your goals.

I work with clients all the time who don’t have time to eat healthily, don’t have time to exercise, don’t have time to deal with their stress or sort out their sleeping issues. It usually boils down to priorities. We prioritise other things before our own goals, and feel eternally stuck in a rut, not achieving our dreams. I help my clients clarify their goals, and break them down into daily tasks to achieve them. This is not just theory for me, it is how I have always run my professional life, and how I now organise my private life too, with great results.

Our family’s lifestyle is pretty flexible. We homeschool our children, my husband’s work hours are varied, I run a business and choose my own working hours. With little external framework it was easy to spend years just making up the schedule day-to-day. For so long I used the young children as my excuse for not getting things done (baby needs me / breastfeeding all day / too tired). I used home-schooling as an excuse for our messy house (always home, 3 meals a day served here, no child-free time to clean/tidy etc) I loved preparing meals for our family, but cleaning the kitchen was not a priority. I liked doing laundry, but putting it away was not a priority. I loved bringing new things in to decorate our house, but tidying them and putting them away was not a priority. So we lived in quite a disorganised way. I would wonder each day what to make for dinner. I would have to wash up before cooking anything, I would have to have a day’s notice before a visitor was allowed over the doorstep. When it came to my studies and work I was super-organised, but anything at home was left “until tomorrow”.

Enter Kon Mari. Enter Flylady. Enter meal planning, decluttering, and now enter a cleaning schedule. Wow, how things have changed! I now have a morning and evening routine which I follow, ensuring my self-care does not get neglected. I no longer fall asleep in my makeup or forget to take my vitamins. Our house is visitor-ready all the time (though not nearly perfect), and my stress levels are down to the lowest they’ve ever been (not zero, as I have three kids including a toddler!) I am free to do things I always wanted to do, like read books, do word puzzles, journal, listen to music and play piano, and this is because all the day-to-day tasks are taken care of in an organised way.

I encourage you to make a list of the things you would like to achieve, and decide which one(s) you can do a little of each morning. If it’s a book you want to write, do 30 minutes writing every morning, before the family wake up if you can, or while they’re watching their breakfast cartoons. If it’s yoga, do as I do and keep a mat right there at the space you will use, have your yoga clothes ready to grab in the morning and just get out there and do it!

If we are waiting for motivation, or until we feel like doing it, or until the stars align and all the kids are well / happy enough for us to move towards our personal goals, we will never get anything done. Once we recognise there is never “the perfect” time, we can get started today. There’s that word “perfect” again. I’ve realised how much my perfectionism was holding me back, telling me not to even start something unless I knew it would be perfect. Now I live by the motto “Better done than perfect” and I keep reminding myself nothing is ever perfect. This column won’t be as perfect as I’d like it to be, but I’ll submit it anyway, because all I can do is my best at any moment.

If you would like a visual of my morning routine it is on my Instagram highlights (@thewellnessclinic), or here it is in list form:

Get up, get dressed, brush teeth, apply makeup and do hair, swish and swipe bathroom, yoga practice, load of laundry, breakfast for family and myself, drink 1 litre of water, then get to work or homeschooling depending on the day. I don’t check emails or social media until all this is done, and it only takes maximum 1 hour, I’ve done it in 40 minutes (shorter yoga practice!). I aim to get up before the family, but it doesn’t always work out, so yes, I get interrupted constantly, but this routine keeps me focused on what I need to do to feel good throughout the day.

All the best with your morning routines, and if you want to share some of your personal tips for organising please drop me a line at niamh@thewellnessclinic.ie

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