Start Your Day The TCOY Way

Spending one minute each day to focus on Taking Care Of You, which I call the TCOY 1 Minute Focus, goes hand-in-hand with my other favorite idea...Start your day the TCOY way.

Here are my favorite ways to start the day on a positive note by taking care of well as a few new ideas that I found on 24 Ways to Brighten Your Morning at Reader' and intend to try!

Find the best sleep/wake routine for you. I am a night owl. However, for years I forced myself to go to bed at night at a certain time and to wake at a certain time in the morning...usually at the very latest minute to still allow time for getting ready to leave the house. This resulted in laying in bed at night for a long time, waiting for my mind to stop running from thought to thought and finally settle down enough to go to sleep. It also led to me fighting myself in the morning as even a few minutes of sleeping in led to rushed mornings.

Thank you Steve Pavlina for writing How to Become An Early Riser because that is where I found the strategy that works for me. "The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week)", says Steve. That is what worked for me as well.

Only recently and by accident did I learn tip #1 (Go to sleep with your blinds or curtains halfway open) on the Reader's Digest article. To have the sunlight from the window directly opposite my side of the bed streaming down on me is truly a wonderful way to wake up. I agree with the article, "...the natural light of the rising sun will send a signal to your brain to slow its production of melatonin and bump up its production of adrenaline, a signal that it's time to wake up."

Do your minimum personal care routine every day.
Here is my minimum, 'nothing-fancy' personal care routine:

* Brush my teeth
* Apply Day Solution (for sunscreen), moisturizer (for moisturization and free radical protection) and lip balm (again with sunscreen)
* Brush my hair; leaving it down or put into a ponytail

Here are more ideas from 24 Ways to Brighten Your Morning:

2. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. This way, you don't have to jump out of bed and rush through your morning. You can begin your morning by lying in bed, slowly waking up. (I actually wake 45 minutes earlier to give me time for a slow start and to have alone time in the morning!)

3. Stretch every extremity for 15 seconds. Try this even before you open your eyes. Lift your arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, then your arm. Then move on to the other arm. Then your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of the bed. You've just limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced the flow of blood through your body, providing an extra shot of oxygen to all your tissues. (I think this is a wonderful idea and have saved it for future use. Right now, both of our kids sneak into our bed every single night and there is no room for straightening out, let alone stretching.)

8. Cuddle with your kids. Few things are more stressful in the morning than waking up an overtired fifth grader or a snoring high schooler. Yet this is one of the few times you can catch your child still vulnerable. Sit on his bed and gently smooth his hair as you softly waken him. Or, if you're dealing with a very young child, lie beside him and gently hug him awake. Such a moment will send a quiet surge of joy through your entire day and will become all too rare in all too short a time. (I hate waking my kids, especially my son as he is Oscar the Grouch when he wakes up. However, the task is a whole lot more pleasant when I appreciate the beauty that is a sleeping child. I stroke their hair, face, arms, back, etc. as I quietly talk them into getting up. It definitely creates a positive interaction through touch in an otherwise unpleasant task.)

14. Check your morning calendar. This is the large calendar or white board you've hung in a prominent position in your kitchen. On it, you write everything you need to know for that particular day, from kids' activities to whether the guy is coming to service the furnace to whether it's time to pay bills. Check it out carefully while you sip that first cup of coffee or morning tea; it will help you structure your day in your mind and avoid the stressful effects of forgetting something important. (Through FLYing for over 8 years by following FlyLady's method, checking my calendar at night and in the morning is already routine.)

16. Drink eight ounces of water. You've been fasting all night and you wake each morning dehydrated. (Excellent reason to do this! This is a new idea for me and I'm willing to give it a go.)

17. Create a checklist for your kids. If you don't have kids, skip this one. But if you do, this is a biggie. To cut down on morning chaos, hang a white board in the hallway or kitchen and list all the things that must be done before the kids can leave: brush teeth, eat breakfast, get backpack together, make bed, and so on. Have them check off or erase each item once it's completed. You can do the same thing with lists printed out from your computer. Set a consequence: If all items aren't checked off 5 minutes before you need to leave, there's no TV, PlayStation, dessert, or computer time that night. (This is a real sanity saver for me. My kids have been following a Morning Routine chart since they were 3 years old. Though they still get sidetracked in the morning, at least I don't have to remember to remind them of what to do while getting ready myself. They just check their list...which is updated as they grow.)

18. Keep a wicker basket for yourself and each child by the front or back door. Into it go your keys, wallet, purse, and the child's backpack, papers, gloves, hats, etc. This will prevent that frantic last-minute scouring of the house as you look for lost items. (Another awesome idea I'd highly recommend. We have what I call out-the-door baskets for putting bigger stuff that routinely goes out with us, like backpacks and my purse, and for the irregular stuff that I might forget to take with me if it wasn't there in plain sight, like something I need to take when I go to a friend's house for a visit, etc. On the opposite wall of our entry, I have a cabinet meant for DVD's that holds our keys, cell phones, phone chargers and some decorative items.)

21. Prepare an emergency outfit in your closet. Include socks, jewelry, hose, etc., so on those mornings when you sleep through the alarm or simply need an extra 10 minutes, you can just pluck it off the hanger and go. (Again, with FLYing and developing an Evening Routine, I don't have much need for this one. However, there are times when I get sidetracked while putting together the outfit, so it doesn't get done, and wouldn't ya know the next morning I accidentally sleep in or, occasionally, I just don't feel like wearing what I chose the night before. I might put one together and see if it would be helpful sometime.)

24. Kiss all the people you love in your house (including the dog and cat) before you leave. Connecting with the ones you love soothes stress and provides you with a positive start to your day, as well as keeping you focused on what's really important says therapist Barbara Bartlein, L.C.S.W., author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? 125 Strategies for a Happy Marriage. (Dog and cat? Eww. Anyways, the rest is good for the human members of our family. Before leaving home base to go out into the world, I think it's very important to connect with those you love. Besides starting your day on a happier note, I also am one of those kind of people that think "You never know what could happen" and I want my last interaction with the person to be of love.)

For every one of us, there is some sort of time spent between waking up and beginning our 'work' for the day. Regardless of whether that work is as a stay-at-home parent who performs 20 jobs per day or as an adult that goes out into the world and contributes to whatever, it makes no difference. We all go from the resting state to our daytime productive state with time flowing in the middle.

Our mornings affect the entire rest of our day. Find a way to start it off by Taking Care Of You and you will be amazed at the positive effect on your life.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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Positively Present said...

Great post! :)

Recent blog:=- words to live by: awake is the new sleep

Suzanne Sergis said...

Thanks for stopping in and, as always, thanks for your support! :-)

By the way, I felt super proud of you as I read about how you handled the call to the hospital positively! I don't know much about H1N1 but I hope your Mom is already on her way towards recovery!

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