My favorite thing about the start of a new school year is that feeling that “this year can be different.” It’s a holdover from when I was a kid and believed that maybe this year, I would keep my 64 pack of crayolas in order, that I’d remember to put my name on my paper, and that with the whole year ahead of me, there was still a chance for straight As.
As a grown up, my fantasies are different. This school year, I have hopes of waking up to a clean kitchen sink and clothes already laid out, of paying my bills on time, of having a meal calendar and actually using it. Only time will tell, but if the past is any predictor of the future, life will be back to “normal” in about a month.
That won’t stop me from trying, though.
I’ve been working in a couple of new habits for my mornings and a couple in the evenings, and some of these are just old habits that I set aside for the summer. For example:
Morning Habit #1: Making My Bed
This is a very old habit that was on summer vacation. But now that I’m back to the daily grind, I feel like I need a vacation, and one of the best ways to feel like I’m on vacation in my own home is to come home in the afternoon to a freshly made bed. I have really lovely bedding and lots of pillows, so it really is like going to sleep in a hotel room (that is, when the floor is picked up). Now, if only I could get the bathroom tamed, I’d be living in a spa resort!
Morning Habit #2: Flossing
It took years of pestering from my dentist, but fear of bad breath is what finally got me to pick up this habit as a New Years resolution a few years ago. I don’t do it every morning, but I do it pretty regularly, and my mouth feels so good after I’m done.
Morning Habit #3: Reading
No, not a novel. I have several daily readers that I use for meditation. Sometimes it’s as simple as reading the daily scripture readings from the lectionary (check out the Catholic app Laudate – free for iPhone). I also have Meditations For Women Who Love Too Much, Jesus Calling, and some other daily readers. Usually I just do one page, right before I make my bed. I use my bed-making time to meditate on whatever the theme is. If I wake up really bright eyed and bushy tailed, I read before my shower and meditate then (but usually I can’t function without my shower first).
Morning Habit #4: Breakfast
This is a new one. I’ve never been a breakfast eater. But I function much better at work when I have a full stomach and am not counting the minutes till lunch, or worse, snacking on cookies and seriously over-sweetened coffee at 10 am. It has to be sweet and simple and fast. Instant oatmeal last week, english muffins, yogurt, and Kind bars this week. Kind bars deserve their own post.
I can’t say I’ve done all of this perfectly every day since school started. I let it go on the weekend. But I can say that in spite of the insane amount of work I have and the stress of having a new routine and less sleep in the morning, these habits are helping me maintain a more manageable life.
Next week I’ll share some of my evening habits. Those have been just as helpful.