Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Lesson in Gratitude

In late Summer I began to feel very drained.  Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and most days physically.  I couldn't seem to figure out a way through it.  Then I came across Abundant Mama.  I have found that I can relate to what she writes, how she writes, and the deeper level it goes to.

I wanted so much to give the early to rise challenge a try.  I first tried Andy Andrews, but failed miserably by the second day.  I tried the Abundant Mama one, but failed miserably as well.  What was I doing wrong?  Why couldn't I get myself out of bed early, hopefully before my son, and at least get myself ready for the day?  This is when the drain seemed to be at it's strongest.

So, I stepped back for a moment to try to figure things out.  I knew I needed to get myself into some type of normal rhythm and routine.  I dug deeper.  Using Abundant Mama's ideas on creating a bedtime routine and morning routine, I slowly began to get back on track.  I also began to feel less drained with each day.

Odd, I never thought about having a bedtime routine for myself.  We have one for my son and has since the day he was born.  I think as adults we just keep going and going, then at the end of the day we crash.  It is always, just one more thing and then I will go to bed.  We forget to let ourselves unwind and unplug.

I began my bedtime routine in the begging of September.  I started with this first, because for me it seemed the easiest to do.  I had decided that I would create a morning one after I settled into something that felt right and worked for my bedtime one.

Here is where the lesson in gratitude comes into play.  I usually would say my prayers before falling asleep and would include some of the things I was thankful for from the day.  Nothing wrong with this, but I needed to do more.  I needed to dig deeper into me and deeper into my day.  I needed a change of perspective and focus.

I began to journal every night (part of my bedtime routine).  I started with listing five things I was grateful for from the day and then a to do list for the next day.  As time went by things began to change.  They changed with what I wrote in my journal and even more so, they changed with me. After a couple of weeks I went from writing a list of five things to ten.  Now, I start at the beginning of the day, review it in my head and write as I go along the things I am grateful for.  Sure there is repetition, but it doesn't change the fact that I am grateful to have them while they last.

I also noticed a change in my to do list.  It used to be specific items or task for the next day like vacuum, dust, run errands.  The list still includes those, but they also include things I need to remember to do like breath, slow down, listen, patience.  They are things that I struggled with in the day or where I felt at my lowest point.

The change in me was even bigger.  I began to feel ready for bed, slept better, and woke ready the day.  I was even beginning to feel less drained.  It was time to start a morning routine, my rise early me time.  I figured most mornings I was mostly awake just after my hubby got up, so I might as well just get up and get ready for the day.

The initial shock of getting up early didn't seem too bad and I adjusted to it quite quickly.  Unless it is the weekend and on a few other occasions, I get up when my alarm goes off at 5:30.  What was different this time that made me stick to it?

I had created a morning routine.  I would get up, get myself ready (you know, wash face, brush teeth, etc.), read through emails and facebook, get prepped for the day any thing I hadn't prepped the night before, have some down time, and do some yoga meditation.  This is my routine Monday through Friday.  Honestly, I am thinking of doing it on the weekends now as well.

I love my little routines and they help me feel more ready to go. They give me a sense of peace and calm.  They also allow me to be more flexible, go through the day with more intention, and to be able to slow down when needed.  While I do need to tweak a few things with both routines, I am feeling grateful for finally getting into gear and just doing it.

Early to rise and ready for bed.  My day begins the night before allowing me to be ready for the next day.  Take the time to plan things out, write them down, and give yourself the you time you need.  Focusing on the grateful things from the day can go a long way in improving all areas of your life as well.