Morning (and night) routines are one of the most important things in my life. I was really struggling emotionally during a certain period of my life and I found that by setting healthy boundaries and routines (even in the midst of crazy traveling), my well being and joy increased dramatically.
I don't prescribe anything as being a fix-it-all solution. But I do think that we have trained ourselves to stop listening to our bodies. Learning to shut off social media and distractions to really listen to what we need will tell us so much. God designed our bodies to have boundaries, and if we are not respecting how we were created, we will be trapped by the broken emotions that come with being out of touch with this fleshly vessel we call home.
Here's just a few things that have worked for me in my morning routine:
1. Phone = OFF and OUT OF SITE
At night, I put my phone in the kitchen and turn it off. When I wake up, it is not near my bed and is not the first thing I go on.
I used to 'use' my phone as an alarm (alarms are $12 at Target, people). So everytime it dinged, flashed, or vibrated, I'd roll over and check to see who was liking, emailing, commenting, etc. As soon as I woke up, I'd convince myself I needed to 'relax' for a few minutes before getting up. Even when I turned my notifications off, the constant awareness that it was always there was too tempting.
I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping too and when I'd have nights of restlessness, I enjoyed having my phone to keep me company. You know though, as soon as I put my phone away, my brain started realizing that I didn't have to be "on" all the time, I actually learned how to sleep so much better!
I was also convinced that I needed to be accessible. I ran a growing company and if something happened, I needed to be available. I have loads of siblings I adore. What if something happened and they needed me?
All of these feelings naturally put in us a state of anxiety, because there is an expectation of what's to come. And we wonder why anxiety seems to constantly haunt us.
We also wonder why we feel feelings of worthlessness, comparison, or jealousy so often. Perhaps it's because before the hour of 8am, we've already read three news articles, looked at hundreds of curated photos, and read every new detail about our friend's lives. We can't blame social media for this. We have the power within us to put social media away. There's nothing wrong with others for wanting to post pretty photos, create art, and share their life's details. It's that you weren't meant to see it 24/7, late in the night, early in the morning, and at your most vulnerable times.
People will be okay without you being 'on' every second. You can buy an alarm and wake up the old fashioned way. And your brain will learn, over time, to rest and not feel that anxious expectation of missing out. Leave your phone for AFTER you've completed your morning routine.
2. Make your bed
I admit, I still struggle with this. But making my bed has this weirdly glorious effect on me. It gives me this internal idea that, from the very beginning of the day, my life is in order. A simple task completed well that no one else sees helps me feel ready. And it sets me up to be well disciplined through out the day.
Also, it feels so good to get home and see a made bed, just beckoning for me to open the comforter and snuggle inside. It helps with my nightly routine too, as it lends to a sense of calm and peace right before bed.
3. Eat Breakfast
As for breakfast, I really mean just make something and/or anything. Even drinking a smoothie, sipping a cup of coffee, or chopping up some fruit helps me feel more prepared. It has nothing to do with the food, but that little act of willpower changes my mindset. (especially when I could easily run out the door with my bed a mess, an empty tummy, and the feeling that I'm already behind.) Making yourself breakfast reiterates to yourself that you have to put yourself first and sets your day up for good self care.
3. Pray, Journal, Meditate...
Before I pick up my phone, or hop on my computer, I take time to do something for me to mentally prepare for the day. As someone of faith, I pray every morning. Usually while in bed still. As soon as I wake up, I thank God for all he's given me. I pray about how I'd like the day to look and ask for joy and determination. I always pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to move in me that day and give me power over my own desires and struggles. I've found that praying for this has helped me through some of the darkest things. It's essential that I set my heart on heaven every morning with gratitude and put in the guardrails during the day my heart will abide by.
Sometimes I'll get up and stretch while I pray. Sometimes I sit on a blanket and face the sun, feeling it on my face and thanking him for his goodness. Often times I pair reading my Bible with this or I journal.
It doesn't have to look the same everyday, but a routine that allows you to take a moment and readjust your focus on what is most important to you will help your brain be able to handle all that you will need to do and see that day. And, I find that if I'm doing this everyday, when I hop on social media I'm not confronted with comparisons or the overwhelming anxiety of the news. My heart has been checked and put in it's place and I feel peace.
5. Make a list of what to accomplish that day
This is my fifth and final thing. It's easy for me to finish the above and then immediately hop on my computer and start answering emails. But then I start to live life by REACTION. I want to move with intention and not react to things. So before I start my work day, I make a list of the top things to accomplish that day. I use an online list maker and move things around in my day/week until I feel that I have a clear vision of how to get each thing done. Then and only then do I dive into my work/social media.
These are just a few things I do, but they have helped me get through many challenging periods of life. Little acts of discipline can seem fruitless sometimes, but discipline done over and over can have such positive long term effects. So try some of these things out (even as simple as they seem) for 30 days and see how you feel!
I have had a lot of people ask me "how do you afford to travel so much?" And it's normal that the first thought that pops into someone's mind when they see photos of airplanes and mountains and far off lands is "money." That's what you needed to travel once. But from my personal experience, I know that this is changing. We live in a day and age where money does not have to be associated with travel, where freedom does not need to be associated with 'rich.'
Listen in on my podcast to hear about traveling the world on a budget.
With your first baby, everything is so new and just a tad confusing. I remember making my baby shower registry and having to ask my mom for help on EVERYTHING. It seemed like babies needed A TON of stuff, some of it I had no idea about.
When I googled "the most important products for a new baby," I was met with a hundred articles with all kinds of fancy gadgets that I could not afford nor did I want cluttering up my house. Ryan and I have lived in a camper and tiny apartments our whole marriage, so you can say minimalism is an appreciation of ours.
Now that Amelia is out and hanging around our house, I can tell which products I definitely needed and which ones were just an added bonus.
Here's my list of TOP 5 Baby products
(yes, you read that...top 5. Cause you honestly don't need a ton more than that).
* Remember, this is just my own personal list because everyone has different needs. I did not include necessities like diapers, wipes, and things like nail clippers. These 5 products are the extra things that were lifesavers for me.
1. WildBird Slings
I got this as a baby shower gift and it is my MOST USED product. I put her in the sling the third day she was born and have barely taken her out since. She absolutely loves it and falls asleep so quickly. With wanting to get back into work a few weeks after birth, this sling made it so easy to have my hands back while still keeping her close.
Pictured is SongBird and Sparrow colored slings. :)
2. Hevea Orthadontic Pacifier & Pacifier Clips
I love my babe, but like any baby, she can be fussy. Her plastic pacifiers pop right out of her mouth, leaving me in an endless game of getting up to put them back in....only for them to pop right out again. This specific pacifier is super soft and leaves no marks on her face, while also staying in her mouth for SO much longer than the other ones. The pacifier clip is also super helpful so we don't lose the pacifier when we're walking out and about. (and functions as a teething ring when her little teefies come in. ;)
Pacificer Clip >
3. Baby Swing
Everyone told me these were awesome, but they really are. There's so many fancy ones, but the two I received as gifts are below and I love them. One rocks her side to side, and one is a true swing. (The swing works really well during the day when she wants to be rocked, but wants to see around the room).
Similar Swing >
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
Stay a while and get comfy. <3