“What is that funny feeling in my neck? Did I forget something important yesterday? How am I going to organize my day with so many things to do? Am I already late for something?“
Waking up can feel like an avalanche of thoughts hitting us. Sometimes it makes us feel like rolling over and hiding in our bed all day.
After we drag ourselves out of the house, we have to interact with people—even if we don‘t feel like talking to anyone. And it‘s not that we don‘t like people, we are just stressed out enough by getting ourselves together.
A few years ago I found myself in a heavy argument with a close friend. We were trying to organize a small concert in our hometown and met up one morning to write a to-do-list for the day.
The argument started over some little thing I don‘t even remember.
What I do remember is that I was hungry and my friend was complaining about having a headache. The argument we started was less about content and more about our own emotions that we brought into the meeting.
At that time I used to refer to myself as “Not a Morning Person.” But I realized that being grumpy in the morning doesn‘t help anyone, especially when we run into other people having a similar experience.
What I have learned over the last few years is that I have to check-in with myself before I can connect with others. Here are some things I do before leaving the house that help me stay self aware:
1. Check-in with the physical body.
In the first minutes after waking up, I like to roll around in bed for a while. Stretching out before getting up gives us the chance to feel our body without using any force. It does not have to be the same movements every day, it depends on how we feel in that moment. Finding that connection by listening to our body is a great way to start the day.
2. Wash off the sleep.
Brushing our teeth, having a shower and doing our hair can be a way of honoring ourselves. It’s not about judgment, but about caring for ourselves.
3. Get energy.
Before I even think about leaving the house, I personally need a nice breakfast and some coffee. Taking the time to give the body what it needs to start the day seems obvious, but how often do we find ourselves skipping breakfast?
4. Sit and listen.
Once my body is ready, my mind is awake and I’ve eaten the food I need to give me energy, it’s time to make sense of it all. I like to sit down and, without any order, write a list of things I want to do that day.
Afterwards I bring in some structure and consider what is possible to accomplish today and what is not. Letting go of things that need to be postponed creates space for the things that can be done.
5. Meet up with others.
Setting ourselves up for the day and having an idea of what we want and need to do is part of connecting with our own being. Awareness for our own state of mind puts us into the space where we can connect with others in a way that is of benefit for both sides.
With this routine, I was better able to be nice to others in the morning—no need to label myself “Not a Morning Person” anymore. It takes time to incorporate these five steps into our morning, but the benefit to ourselves and others is worth it.
Author: Robert Busch
Editor: Nicole Cameron