What are the toughest times of day for you as you begin life post-divorce?
Most of my clients say that the worst times in each day are often bedtime and first thing in the morning.
Because morning is so crucial to having a successful and happy day, I wanted to share some of my strategies for getting out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face.
These are some of the real-life habits I developed back when I felt my life was over, and I was engulfed in grief and remorse 24/7. For me, mornings were actually worse than evenings because I found that I had the greatest number of negative thoughts as I lay in bed in those first waking moments before arising.
Maybe you feel the same.
Want to feel happy and hopeful every morning rather than full of dread? You can, and all it takes is about 30 minutes of preparation, one time only.
So, here are the questions you're going to ask yourself to prepare for creating a happy morning. Can you list at least 3 responses to each of the questions below? Five responses or more are even better!
1. What do you like best about mornings (even if you're not a morning person)?
2. What activity do you super love love love that you're hardly ever able to fit into your day (maybe you just wish you could read a fascinating book for a few minutes)?
3. What completely new at-home activity have you been meaning to try for years, but never got around to it (a craft, a recipe, a beauty treatment, bonsai, explore your feminine sexuality . . . )?
4. What totally silly physical activity are you way too depressed to even think about doing right now, but some part of you smiles to think of how crazy it would be to jump out of bed in the morning and do it? (Think jumping around with earphones while listening to your favorite high school party song -- on one hand, no way, you feel way too awful to do that, but you've been feeling awful for so long that you're ready to try any fool thing in order to feel better.)
Okay. Have you answered the four questions above? You now have a little list of items for each of the four questions. Now, you are ready to create a magical start to your day that will powerfully shift those dreadful morning mental and emotional states.
Just one more pre-planning step: Circle all of the possible activities that take 15 minutes or fewer to perform. Or, see how you could break some of those activities into baby steps, and fit something fun into about 15 minutes.
1. For your first try at this, decide to set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. (Get to bed a little bit early if necessary. It's really worth a try!)
2. Set your alarm to a favorite, uplifting song, and not a buzz-tone from your alarm clock or phone. Make the song something that has a lot of girl-power to it. (And definitely nothing that reminds you, in any way, of your ex-husband, or any ex for that matter!) Are you thinking, "I have *no* idea what kind of music I'd like to wake up to"? Check out this girl power playlist from Pop Sugar (that has many of my own favorites).
3. On your nightstand, or next to your pillow, scribble a little note of your wake-up activity for the following day. (You pick two responses from the four questions above. For example, if you love to see the sunrise, then check out tomorrow's sunrise time, rise five minutes before sunrise, go outside, and see it. Or, if the sunrise is not visible from your house, pull up one of my favorite sunrise videos on your phone.)
4. Just choose two things from any of the four questions above and have them ready to go. If you're going to dance it out for three minutes, have your song cued up. If you're going to read a few pages of a book you've been dying to dive into, have the book in bed with you. If you're going to try that relaxing facial mask, throw the ingredients together the night before. Here are some great recipes.
Make it a gift to yourself to have whatever it is prepared the night before.
You'll feel as if someone is really taking care of you. And, it's true. That person is you! Keep it simple, but know that preparing your tomorrow is a key way to love yourself up!
And, it's morning:
5. Alarm goes off (with cool, inspiring song). Do the first activity on your note-to-self next to your bed. Do it, even though for the first 30 to 60 seconds you are groaning, your eyes are rolling, and you do. not. feel. like. it.
6. Check in with yourself. How do you feel? If you feel great, then ignore activity #2 and move ahead with your day. Yay! If you're still feeling like a very sad grumpasaurus, move on to activity #2. Yes, I know, you still may not feel like doing it at all. But it's just 15 minutes more (or maybe fewer). By the time you finish that one, there's a 99% chance that you are set up for a happier day. Don't you want to find out if that promise is true? Then try activity #2 on your note-to-self.
7. If you do this for a week, swapping out various activities from your list, you'll find out which ones really make you feel wonderful. Keep those on your "magic mornings" list, but also add new stuff you'd like to try to your list. And, please let me know how it goes!
.8. Bonus goofiness. I dare you to try this one: Before you get out of bed, pretend you're a beautiful, powerful, in-demand diva (because, you are, but you might not know it yet). Say aloud five times, "I am a goddess, and I now create my day!" If this sounds totally preposterous, at least you'll laugh before your feet hit the floor.