It’s super difficult for me to wake up in the morning for a couple of reasons (I’m sleepy, for one, and I’m stressed, for another, and when I’m not stressed I’m usually anxious), but once I’m up, it’s time to work on my morning routine.
Wait. Stop. Why?
I’m at a point in my life where a lot of things are more stable than they’ve ever been. I can pay my rent, and I like where I live. I’m in a healthy, long term relationship. I’ve curated my support system to include kind, caring, understanding people. I eat regularly, and I have strong goals to focus on. I’m on a medication that stabilizes me better than anything else I’ve taken, and my mood swings are mainly reduced to slow blips of irrational joy and the occasional nose dive.
Plus, I have a dog now.
Most of this is relatively new to me. I was in straight survival mode for most of my teenage years up until about a year ago. There were times when I was hecka broke, and times when I was taken care of physically. It never seemed to make a huge difference, because I wasn’t properly medicated and I had zilch in the way of regular, healthy coping mechanisms.
I never really had the headspace to work on myself, but now that I do, I’ve found that I really enjoy working on my morning routine. Furthering my stability creates more opportunities to feel safe and happy.
I’m a big fan of being happy, turns out. And not just over-the-top manic happy. I mean happiness without the out of body experiences, the rage, the grandiose, out of balance ideas. Just straight, even keeled happiness. It’s good stuff.
Plus, having a set program for the morning really helps my morning anxiety fade to the background because instead of focusing on my constantly impending doom, I’m focused on being productive, and I’m working on things that just make me feel good.
So what do I try to do every morning?
- I wash my face, hop into the shower, and get dressed and ready for the day.
- I take Dot for a walk, and when I get back I write non-fiction. (This could be a personal journal or this blog. Just depends on how I feel.)
- I work on my fiction.
- I clean the house a bit and organize my to-do list so I don’t feel lost when I remember something I had to do yesterday halfway into today.
This might not sound like much to some, and it may seem like a lot to others. I hate being rushed in the morning (it makes me nervous, thinking I might be late for work or an appointment), so I like to give myself an hour for each blocked out item. Waking up four hours before I’ve got to leave for work means an earlier bedtime for me but I don’t necessarily mind that. It seems to give a little more structure to my nights and think about how I manage my post-workday hours.
There are definitely days when doing all of this, or even most of it, just isn’t a real thing for me. When I have to wake up at four to get to the bus by five so I can be at work at 6:30, all I can really convince myself to do is take a quick shower, drink my cup of coffee, and tap out a few comforting words on my computer before stumbling out the door.
Then there are days when I have the time but I lack the will to work on my day’s structure. These are the days I sleep in, skip the shower, work on my private journal for a couple of hours, forget the fiction, and leave the house a mess. Sometimes I need that break, especially when my anxiety is totally blown up for some or no reason. This might happen if I have a glass of wine the night before (that’ll trigger a depressive, anxious morning if I’m not careful), or stay up late watching YouTube videos.
There are days when I’m just straight up self-indulgent. I don’t wanna write fiction, ‘cos that’s hard. Some days, yeah. I’m a little lazy. But when I take that step backwards and refuse to do what I need to feel healthy throughout the day, I generally suffer. I feel more moody, less supported by my own actions.
For me, my effort is key. Lately, I’ve been dropping off on the weekends. It can be difficult for me to motivate to wake up around eight or nine on a day off, and I’m generally grumpy if I sleep in past ten. I sleep in because I know I don’t have to leave the house, and that means I spend the day tired and isolated, instead of positive and energized. That’s a problem, and I’m working on it.
So I definitely have things to work on. Mondays are hard too, because I’m generally out of practice from my slumpy weekend. It’s hard to go from 0 to 60, so I tend to work into it as my five day work week goes on. Consistency is key, and consistency is going to require practice and building up the muscle memory to reach my routine goals.
So–now that I’ve gotten my daily words in, I think it’s time to slip away and give Dot her morning walk, and think about tomorrow’s words.