Last week we talked about the benefits of getting a head start in the mornings.
If you’re like me and not a morning person, that may seem like a daunting task.
I also shared what I consider to be the key to making it work: find what you love to do – what you would love to do without multi-tasking – giving it your whole attention. Then make plans to do just that in the amount of time you have.
Let’s start at the end first: make plans to do just that.
This may seem simple, but I’m sure you know how hard it can be to implement.
- It would be a good idea to get a load of laundry going first thing.
- Maybe the floor could use a fast sweep.
- Is there a load of laundry from the day before still waiting to be folded?
- It wouldn’t take too long to unload the dishwasher.
- Then there’s the meat to thaw for dinner.
On and on the opportunities go to whittle the time away.
While all of these tasks are good – and necessary – they are all things that can be accomplished after the first moments of the day are finished, and quite possibly by other people.
So once you’ve determined to stay focused on the limited time at the beginning of your day, how will you spend it?
Fill the moments of your early mornings with things you love.
Everyone is unique and will have different preferences, but here’s a list of 13 suggested ways to invest your time that will help you cultivate inspired mornings. If you love it and look forward to it, it will be much easier to get up earlier, enjoy the uninterrupted time, and prepare yourself to be ready to give to others once the day begins.
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1. Bible Study & Prayer: Starting the day by feeding your soul is the very best way to spend the solitary moments you have each morning. By seeking to be filled yourself, you will better be able to pour into others throughout the day.
2. Journaling: While not for everyone, some people find journaling or writing to be mentally strengthening. When we spend most of our day on task-oriented activities, it’s easy to neglect areas of growing our minds. Over time this can leave us feeling dull and with an empty tank.
3. Reading: If writing isn’t for you, what about reading? There’s a whole world available to us through books! Be inspired, encouraged, challenged, strengthened, entertained, stirred…whatever fills you, it’s available.
4. Drawing, painting, calligraphy, or another artistic pursuit: For those with small children, the early morning hours may be the only opportunity you have for artistic pursuits. If you don’t currently have one, what about trying something out?
5. Investment in Friendships: For many, refreshment and encouragement comes through interaction, and regardless of our bent, we all benefit from great relationships. Just because it’s early in the day doesn’t mean you can’t invest in them.
With the technology we have at our fingertips, the possibilities are nearly endless. You can send an email or text. Do you have a friend who would enjoy an early morning video chat or even a phone call?
Quiet mornings are a great time to write out a few old-fashioned notes to drop in the mailbox that can send encouragement or thanksgiving to a special friend.
6. Music: Music can be a powerful motivator and soul-refresher. If you’re a slow starter in the mornings, you could simply sit and enjoy listening. You could also use it in the background along with another morning activity. Create a few favorite playlists and tailor them for specific times.
7. Exercise: While most people wouldn’t consider exercise a strong motivation for getting up in the morning, once you get into the habit for a while, you’ll find that your body begins to crave it.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being, and people who exercise in the mornings tend to stick with it better than those who put it off until later in the day. Once the day is underway, it’s easy for unexpected things to displace your plans to work out and many people find it hard to muster the motivation to exercise after a tiring day.
8. Gratitude: Being grateful is such an important part of our spiritual health. Beginning the day by considering ways you’re grateful sets the tone of your heart for the morning, and hopefully for the entire day.
9. Tea/Coffee: This one likely doesn’t have to be mentioned, but it can be a delicious motivator to get up each morning. Looking forward to a favorite cup that is reserved just for mornings makes them a little more enjoyable, and can easily be combined with other morning activities.
10. Candles: If you’re up before daylight (or even not) candles are a pleasant way to start a quiet morning. Find a few favorites and plan to use them as part of your morning routine.11. Essential oils: If you own a diffuser, blending a few favorite oils to infuse into the air each morning can create a special fragrance that you associate with your morning moments. The combination of peppermint, lemon, and rosemary is an invigorating blend that I enjoy many mornings, and with its properties of mental stimulation, rosemary makes a great choice for combining with mental activities.
12. Gardening: If gardening is your thing, how about working on it first thing each morning? When I had a few little ones, this is how I spent spring mornings for a few years. Getting my hands into the dirt is so refreshing to me and being out in the fresh air doesn’t hurt either. A little time each day can make a huge impact over a few week’s time.
13. Watch the sun rise: When did you last watch the sun rise? Sitting in the crisp morning air, steaming mug in hand, gentle silence, or maybe a majestic playlist of music…it really can be something to look forward to.
The first time I did this regularly was about 12 years ago. Because we lived way out in the country, I felt like I was nearly the only person in the world who was awake – and it seemed so early. Everything was quiet and still, and as the eastern sky began to lighten, I waited and watched in anticipation as the sun began to peek above the horizon. Then that moment that it nearly burst into sight and showered everything in bright light was simply breath-taking!
Maybe it won’t happen every day, but making time to watch a few sunrises each year is certainly something special to look forward to.
Regardless of what inspires you, finding things that you love and look forward to is the key to making your mornings meaningful. Pick a few from the list, or choose some different things, and make your morning moments a springboard for a beautiful day!
Do you have anything to add to the list?
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