My slow morning routine
As a person who likes to get things done, it’s easy for me to become caught up in work, errands, and things to stay productive. Our society glorifies productivity and efficiency and I too, have found myself in the mindset that I should be doing more with my time — yet with constant busyness and high expectations for myself for the majority of my life, I had to quit my full time job a few months ago due to burnout and anxiety. It was time to slow down.
Though I practice a lifestyle of living minimally, I often forget that busyness is a source of clutter. Though busyness is not a physical object, our plans and commitments occupy space in our minds. Focusing on one task should be good enough, but with busyness, more thoughts pop into the mind, causing us to lose focus on one thing and run to the next and the next. With our minds constantly thinking about what to do, our need for mental rest, which is just as important as physical rest, never truly happens.
I also am reminded that busyness will never satisfy my soul. As I was reading the Bible one morning, I was touched by Isaiah 2:8, “Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.” It is easy to disregard God and the reality around us when we are caught up with our many plans, as it becomes a way for us to elevate ourselves to feel valued. For myself, busyness became a way for me to hide the fact that I wasn’t truly content with who I was and what I had — I needed to do something in order to validate my worth and please others. Busyness allowed me to paint a picture to others telling them that I was too “important,” too “busy” to spend time with them, too “preoccupied” with a new project that would save the world, when in reality, I was miserable, slaving away in my busyness for the sake of what others would think of me.
Last year, my morning routine began 5 AM to get a head start on emails, commute, exercise, read, and journal, only to continue into a busy work day filled with meetings, more emails and things to do. By 6 PM, I would come back home exhausted from the busyness, often anxious and depressed from worrying about the next thing to do. I would stuff my schedule with a few more things like dinner, cleaning, chores and blogging until 9 PM, and realize that I would need to sleep by 10 PM in order to wake up at 5 AM again the next day. But the reality was, I probably didn’t sleep until 12 AM, as my to do list often kept me awake at night.
Today, I am challenging myself and society’s belief that productivity and busyness is better. My routine is no longer your average ‘How I wake up at 4 AM’ or ‘Productive morning routine’ video, but rather, a reminder that slow mornings are okay. I don’t wake up to an alarm, rather, Cooper is often my alarm. I try to read the Bible first to be fed spiritually before my physical breakfast, which in this case, was a yummy slice of toast with peanut butter, melted dark chocolate and sliced banana. If I have to water my plants, I’ll do so, otherwise I’ll bring Cooper on a walk after breakfast, and pick up litter along the way if we find some. My morning isn’t the most productive, but it is enjoyable, and I love that I can start my mornings slow and find my satisfaction in God’s word first before the rest of the day follows.
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10
I know that not everyone has the luxury of time, but I do hope this post serves as a small reminder to take it slow and think about how you can tackle your busyness in a healthier way. If you’re ever stressed or anxious about your plans or to do list, I highly recommend taking a step back and typing ‘cute puppies’ in your Google images search (or find your dog if you have one). I often find myself looking at Cooper as a source of stress relief because I know I can learn a lot from his simple yet pure satisfaction in life. (: