Time management is a constant challenge to master for me. On the super low days (depression) it’s difficult to muster the energy to do even the basic of tasks (i.e. shower, get dressed for the day…), and then on the super high days (mania) it’s difficult to not get side-tracked while working on a task, or over-focusing too much on one task – completely dismissing everything else in the day because I am consumed with finishing what I started. I think this is likely something we can all relate to, right? 😉
I’ve set a goal for myself to learn how to master time management this year. Fortunately, prior to the new year I had began learning how to develop a morning routine – something that I commit to doing, no matter what, no matter where I am, so I can start the day healthy and organized. This is something that I’ve heard from many success guru’s over the years that most every successful person in the world has a routine they do every morning.
The first thing I learned was the importance of:
A) be realistic with yourself, only choose tasks that you feel you can do – even on the bad days,
B) don’t be an overachiever – you have to set yourself up for success and don’t try to build and do this morning routine all at once… it’s recommended that you include these three items in your morning routine and add on others that you feel are important for you in the day:
- Drink Water
- Healthy Breakfast
I’ve added on:
- Gratitude Journal
- Read Scriptures
- Bullet Journal
When I began to learn how to build and maintain a morning routine, it was recommended that I start with the water.
Every night when I go to bed I set a glass of water by my bedside so I can make sure to drink it very first thing when I wake up. I did this for 7 days straight before adding the 2nd task (exercise). Now, with the exercise, it is NOT recommended that you go full on 1 hour workout. You are training yourself to build a successful healthy habit, so they say to only do 7 minutes, nothing more. Do this for 3 days in a row successfully before adding the third item, and so on.
So my morning looks like this:
I literally slide out of bed (Clark likes to watch this happen – I have the roughest time waking up every morning, lol 🥴🥱😜), I drink my water and sit down on the floor and write in my gratitude journal and read my Personal Contract Agreement (new year resolution-commitments to myself). I then read 5-10 verses in my scriptures and then get up to go and sit on the couch in the front room in the sunshine while I write in my Bullet Journal what I plan to do for the day. I have a separate notepad where I like to write first, all my successes from the day before, just so I can reinstill in my mind that I am accomplishing things, even if they are just small – I am making progress in my life (fill my mind with as much positivity as possible! 💪💕).
I then do my exercise. The exercise I’ve chosen is 10 tummy crunches, 5 push-ups and some light stretching. I chose do this because I felt it was the easiest thing I could not fail at – but still get my mind building a healthy exercise morning habit. The idea is that I’ll build on this as I feel I can guarantee myself I won’t fail. With this morning routine, you’re always looking for ways to set yourself up for guaranteed success, so start SMALL and REALISTIC. After my morning exercise I make myself a breakfast shake.
I can’t tell you enough how HELPFUL this morning routine has been for me. I have been in active search for ways to help my mind be balanced and stable since I had to stop taking my medication back in September (my body is unfortunately allergic or has had a negative reaction to meds). I’m so grateful for the 4 years where I was able to take advantage of the help they gave me. I sincerely believe they helped save my life; my sanity and helped me get back on track to a healthy mind. I will always recommend that those who can take medication, please do so. Sometimes they can even just serve as a rescue remedy in an emergency. But ALWAYS work with a doctor when you get on them, and when you need to get off of medication. I’m learning right now ways that those who cannot take medication, it’s not an option for them, how you can still find solutions to managing your mental health. I highly recommend building a morning routine. What it does for me is the following:
1) On depressed days/weeks, it helps remind me that I am getting things done. I’m not a failure. If even all I do is the morning routine, I am functioning in life and keeping my word to myself. I’m setting goals, making commitments and building consistency. Those are healthy things!
2) On manic days/weeks, it helps me keep focus. When I write in my bullet journal, I am setting limits and learning from past days what I can realistically accomplish in a day. Am I being too ambitious? I will write down fewer tasks… Even if I end up merging tasks on to the next day, it’s OK! All the important things always end up getting done.
3) It’s helping me learn how to be realistic with myself. My focus is always on how can I make myself successful and what does realistic look like for me? Fewer tasks in the day? One BIG item, 2 smaller tasks, and reserve the last few hours in the day for fun – OR – do I need to take the day to go and serve a friend? It all gets written down in the journal.
4) It helps lighten the load on my mind. I have a bad habit of running through endless lists in my mind, which can easily make me feel overwhelmed and I risk burning out. By keeping a journal of my tasks and goals, and endless creative ideas, I don’t have to carry those reminders in my mind, it’s all written down and I will review it every morning. The extra notepad I keep with my bullet journal, I use it to write down all the previous days successes, it serves like an affirmation to myself that I am doing well in life and helps give a boost to my self-esteem.
So while I don’t take medication to keep my mind stable, the morning routine has taken its place and it’s something I have to do. So far it’s doing its job well. I am so grateful for it. 🙂
If you do a morning routine already, what does yours look like?
If you decide to try creating one for yourself, PLEASE let me know! I would love to hear how it helps you too 🙂
Much love to you my friends, I hope my sharing of what’s helped me – somehow helps you too! 💚