Getting Going in the Morning


If you’re anything like me, that first moment when the alarm goes off is much like viewing Edvard Munch’s The Scream of Nature. That first agonizing moment when you realize it is time to get up, but your heart and body is screaming “No! I’m not ready!”

I believe two of the secrets to gracefully keeping it all going is a matter of planning ahead and plugging in to the right mindset. Especially since for those of us past sixty, it is especially hard to wrap our heads around the fact that our physical selves are just not as springy first thing in the morning as they used to be. Sometimes, we need to change the way in which we approach the things we didn’t know we needed to change.

Planning ahead to work on both the mundane daily activities and the mindset to face them gracefully makes the getting going in the morning more efficient and much less painful. And interestingly enough, you’ll find this all sounds a lot like what our mothers would say to us when we still at home and back in school about getting up and out the door. We thought it was preaching then, but in reality, we’d been offered some very good tidbits of wisdom.

Mindset is Key.

There are 168 hours in a week. For those of us putting in 40-hour work week, that still leaves 128 hours of the week left in which to live our best lives. I’ve learned that I must set aside the working me at the end of the day and become the ‘retired’ me. It not only resets the way we think about how we are living our lives and frees me up to better enjoy that other 128 hours in which I do the things I would be doing if I was totally retired by now. Wrapping my head around this took a bit of time for me to accomplish, but living my evenings and weekends free of thinking about work has made a big difference in how I view my ‘semi-retirement’ hours, which I try to actually live as if I am fully retired. It has made a big difference in how I feel each day and about my life in general. This mindset does require changing how you perceive the mundane tasks about the house as well, as they are directly related to everything we do.

Simplifying everything that can be viewed as a chore makes the whole week go better. And planning ahead in the mundane realm goes a long way to make the rest of the week smooth sailing.

A short list of tips to try out that have worked for me…

If you have the ability to cook for the week ahead of time and enjoy cooking, then it is a twofer. Grab some food prep items like storage containers and sort and set up snacks and meals for the week on the day you cook ahead for the day’s meals.

Make that time you are cooking for the week enjoyable. It is your time off. Play your favorite music, enjoy the company of a friend as you cook either in person or via the phone. Even watch a movie on your iPad or laptop. Basque in the moment after you’ve cleaned up that the entire kitchen major cleanup for several meals is finished in one activity.

Try out new recipes for breakfasts that you will enjoy eating. Preparing something ahead of time that you feel is a ‘treat’ makes the mornings feel less demanding. Think about acquiring a toaster oven or food processor if a new recipe that catches your eye call for them.

Do the major housekeeping chores on the work evenings before or instead of watching television or checking out the contours of the sofa. Waking up to a picked-up house makes the next day feel better.

Laundry can be done during the week evenings as well. And linen changes, and a whole plethora of things you hate doing on Saturdays when you wish you were doing something else.

Do decide what you’re wearing and set it aside at least the night before the workday. It goes so much better this way, and even a minute of extra preparation is a minute of ‘you’ time before beginning the day.

Take the time to enjoy your breakfast and that second cup of coffee as well, or whatever beverage you partake of in the morning. Even if you have to set the alarm 15 minutes earlier to do so. Relaxing lowers blood pressure and heart rate and allows you to move onward into the day in a much better place.

And the most important tip of them all…

Plan ahead to do one thing you enjoy each and every day. And on your days off, squeeze in a few more. We need to rest our hearts and souls as much as our minds and bodies. Write an affirmation about something you will accomplish that is all about you. Breathe. Keep on Keeping on…

Have a wonderful day and workweek! Remember everything after quitting time is your time.

And may you find joy in all the little things around you the whole day through…

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