Monday, November 20, 2017

One Thing You Should Have in Your Morning Routine

I have spent the past month really focused on improving my morning routine. I've never been much of a morning person. I've always needed a little bit of time to myself before I interact with anyone else. Now that I have Baby Fox in my life, that's not always an option and that's how I discovered that I needed a morning routine that would start my day on a positive note. I set about to make a change and along the way, I discovered one thing that everyone should have in their morning routine.

Typically, I try to avoid terms like "everyone" and "everybody" on the blog because I don't believe in over generalizing. This is one time that I'm making an exception. This one thing is something that everyone should have in their morning routine - especially if you want to find more enjoyment in your mornings. (I'm not going to say love mornings because as a night owl, I still don't love mornings but I don't hate them either.)

I spent a month trying out different combinations to see what would work for me. I attempted to get up early before the baby to get that alone time I mentioned. The baby only seemed to wake earlier on the days that I was trying to get up before him. When I did succeed at getting up before him, all I could think about was the sleep I was missing out on. So, "get up before the baby" was quickly crossed off the list of things to include in my morning routine.

After that first attempt, I gave up on changing my morning routine and just went with the flow. This didn't work because there was no organization or predictability. There was nothing for me to enjoy about the morning (aside from cute baby snuggles of course). So, I decided to look for patterns. And that's where I found the gold. I made mental notes of the mornings that went great and reflected on what made it great in order to make my routine better.

In the end, I settled on a routine that includes Baby Fox and makes us both happy. I kept the routine simple and included things that we both enjoy. We get up and start with a nursing session. Then, Baby Fox chills in his rocker while I let the dogs out and feed them. Then, I work on getting breakfast ready and we enjoy our food together. We follow this up with a play session and a morning nap. It's simple, but enjoyable which I've found is the key to making a routine successful.

So, what is the one thing that you should include in your morning routine?

It's a very simple answer - something that you enjoy. I highly recommend finding one item you enjoy and include it in your morning routine. For me, it's my cup of coffee or tea and breakfast with Baby Fox. Baby Fox finds enjoyment in his morning play session, so we both have at least one item that we love in our routine together. What's something you love that you could include in your morning routine?

If that question stumps you, then I've got a solution! From December 1-10, I'm hosting a free Craft Your Magical Routine event in the community. We'll be talking about routines and how you can change yours to make it more enjoyable, which can lead to a more productive day overall! If you'd like to join the event, simply sign up here and you'll get all of the goodies and updates along the way!

Will you be joining us for this one time only special event? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Five Ways to Improve Your Morning

Mornings are tough. Let's get a little background for that statement. I've always been a bit of a night owl, so when I say mornings are tough, I'm giving you my personal opinion. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you're a natural born early bird and love mornings. Either way, I hope that you find one of these ideas makes your morning just a little more magical.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. I do make a small amount of money off of these links, but they don't hurt you in any way!*

Before I share my ideas for making your morning better, I'm going to drop a truth bomb. Baby Fox still isn't sleeping through the night. Our pediatrician (and several other sources) tell me that he should be able to do an 8 hour or longer stretch at this point. He's not (4-5 hours is the current average). And I've learned to accept that. Lack of sleep has made my mornings quite rough for the past nine months. The tips I'm about to share have helped me to turn them around a bit.

1. Drink the coffee.
This is me giving you permission to drink the coffee (or tea if that's your preference). I've read mixed things about whether or not coffee is good for you. I'm a strong believer that most things in moderation are okay. So, if you need a little coffee in the morning, enjoy it without the guilt. There are way worse things out there that you could be doing!

2. Do something you enjoy.
Find something you enjoy and include it in your morning. For me, this is listening to a podcast while I drink my morning coffee. There are so many other things you could include in your morning. Hobbies, music, and a warm shower are just a few that come to mind.

3. Keep it simple.
The last thing I want in the morning is a bunch of complicated tasks to remember. I like to keep things simple so that I can wake up and get going for the day. Keep things simple and make sure that you meet your needs while including a want here or there.

4. Get up and move.
Movement helps get the blood flowing and is a great way to wake your body up. You don't have to do a full blown workout in the morning, but I do recommend doing a few stretches or walking back and forth across the house a few times. I tend to get my movement in by carrying Baby Fox around the house.

5. Create a magical routine that works for you.
Routines are great because they trigger our body to prepare for the day or night ahead. I recently read The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families* and loved the morning routine they set up in the book. Then, I attempted to do the miracle morning and discovered it just wasn't for me - at least not right now. However, I did start to adjust my mornings to make them more enjoyable for Baby Fox and me. Instead of following the example in the book, I did some reflecting and built my own magical routine that works for me. Then, I created a workbook so that you can do the same! And today, I'm giving you the chance to download it for free!

All you have to do is click on the picture above and follow the directions to get the download! The workbook is filled with templates to fill in your routines, questions to make you think, and even an accountability tracker to use as you practice your new routine! It will also get you on my email list and you'll be able to ask me any questions you want about establishing a routine that works for you.
I'd love to hear about your mornings in the comments below! What do you struggle with? What's your favorite thing to do in the morning?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Book Club: Self Care

I recently took over the book club for Shield Sister Sanctuary. I changed the format a bit and created a different kind of book club - one where everyone feels welcome to participate every month.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. I make a small amount of money from your purchases through these links.*

Last month, I took over the book club for Shield Sister Sanctuary. I decided to approach it in an entirely new way. Instead of focusing on a book each month, we'll be focusing on a topic. Each person gets to pick their own book within this topic. I'm hoping this allows for more flexibility and people can choose books that they're actually interested in reading. (Or that are collecting dust on their shelves, whichever the case may be.)

Each month, there will be a different topic for book club. Participants will pick their book based on this theme. I'll be providing a list of suggestions (this post!), but everyone is open to pick any book that they feel will fit within the theme. Throughout the month, I'll post questions related to the theme and at the end of the month, we'll have a discussion on the theme. Everyone will come together and a share a bit of what they learned from their book. The themes for the remainder of the year are listed below. You can hop over to the group to view our discussion on time management from October.

The theme for November is self care. I've rounded up a collection of books that I think will help you on your self care journey. Remember, you can pick from the books listed below or you can find a completely different book that fits the theme! This book club is all about picking books that appeal to you, rather than to a large group!

You can click on the cover of each of these books to go to the Amazon page for it. This way you can learn more about the book or purchase it for yourself! (These are affiliate links and I do make a small portion of the sale.)

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
The Self Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha
What book would you pick from this list? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Then, hop on over to the Shield Sister Sanctuary and join our self care discussion in November!