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  • Merrily Hope

The secret to your sanity is your daily routine.

As parents, we hit the ground running, and continue moving, thinking, and reacting until after the last person sleeps. Being a parent, by necessity, means being able to roll with the punches and being ever-flexible. More often than not, we think we have the perfect plan set forth for the day, just to hear our little throwing up, or seeing an email that derails the whole day. The one time that we can protect our own time, (providing, of course, no one throws up,) is during the precious morning routine, and the tougher evening routine. When we set our intentions in the morning, we set up the entire day. It is literally like putting on our oxygen mask, before we have to find, sanitize, allocate, and maintain all of the other masks in our house.

By setting up our day peacefully, we are creating a calmness that allows us to become more able to respond mindfully, than react emotionally.

I challenge you to try it. Try a morning routine, religiously, for a week. And then reflect on how your days felt. Were you a little less cranky? Were you able to shift from one challenge to the next a little more easily? Were you more productive?

Here is your first challenge:

Take 15 minutes tomorrow to make your favorite morning beverage and get back in bed with the guide linked below. Really reflect on how you will create a morning routine. I started off slowly, and, because I am a morning person, have been able to stretch mine to about 90 minutes.

Here is what my routine looks like:

· Meditation and gratitude prayer before I even open my eyes

· Grab my coffee and climb back in bed

· Read my daily inspiration and selected course material from DailyOM (CAUTION: If you are doing any reading on your phone, do not allow yourself to pop onto social media or email!)

· Read about one inspirational woman in In The Company of Women

· Gratitude Journal

· Happiness Project Journal

· Planner- I use Leaders in Heels- this really helps me set my intention for the day and I feel it is more powerful to hand write it my goals and "to-dos," rather than have them on a device.

You can stop here if time is critical…the above takes 20-30 min.

· Wash my face and make my bed

· Yoga

· Mini strength workout

Here is your challenge for the next day: Gather your treats! Make your environment perfect. Find a section of your room or your house where you will not be disturbed. Recognize that your family will have to be gently trained to leave you alone during your routine. I acknowledge that this is easier for me, as I have teens, but littles can be trained too. Remember the key to success is to have all of these things ready the night before. Have a basket with all of your routine supplies near your bed. If you have to sneak out of your room because you forgot your pen or your glasses, you’ve broken the seal. They will find you!

Ideas: candle, plant, pillow, blanket, favorite pen, yoga supplies, journals (I suggest blank, gratitude, and planner.)

Final challenge: Repeat, designing your evening routine. This is notably more difficult! There are more distractions and time conflicts. Dinner, sports (ahhhh remember those?), homework, etc. all try desperately to derail your evening. Mine is choppy, but I try to keep it relatively consistent…

· After dinner, before the family’s evening rituals and responsibilities, I sneak away and wash my face and put on cozies. How many times do you fall into bed skipping your skin care routine? If time, I jump in a speed shower, just to rinse off the tension of the day. (Literally, it’s a two minute shower with my favorite lavender soap.) I jot down a few items in my gratitude journal.

· Put the house to bed. After I tuck everyone in, even my 20-year-old, (obviously, this is more for my heart than hers) I walk through the house. I make sure the counters are wiped down, the coffee is ready and turn off all the lights. This is my ritual for ending the day, and ensuring that my morning routine will not get hijacked.

For your guide to create a morning routine, click here...


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