Self Care for Mamas: Morning Practice

Once I became a mom, I found myself on an unexpected journey of personal growth. I’d read every book I could find, learning from one teacher after another about how I could become my best self and live my best life.

Over and over again, I’d hear these teachers talk about their morning practices, how they chose to deliberately begin each day with a specific routine that helped them live with intention.

I’ll admit that I shook my head with disbelief. Clearly, these wise souls didn’t understand my life. I was a mom, with little kids. First of all, I needed all the sleep I could get, waking up an hour earlier to make time for a morning practice, just wasn’t going to happen. Secondly, my children were unpredictable. Whenever I thought I might begin my day by writing or exercising, someone would inevitably wake up early, throwing my plans out the window. As far as I was concerned, a morning practice was simply impossible.

My personal development quest continued and I’d explore idea after idea, keeping those that worked for me and letting others fade away, except for that of a morning practice.

Even though it had never worked for me, I found I couldn’t let it go.

Perhaps it was frustration with my daily routine. I’ve never been a morning person, but as a mom, sleeping in isn’t an option. Yet waking up and leaping into my day, always feels so hard. For one reason or another, I began this year experimenting with my own version of a morning practice.

I begin with the idea that I still have young children and an understanding that my morning practice is likely to be interrupted. I also embrace the idea that my intention is not to do it all, but to begin my day with at least one deliberate activity that will help me enter my day from a place of love. From there, I allow myself to choose at least one activity that feels sacred to me.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Gratitude Journal I’ve been a worrier for much of my life, so taking time to focus on everything I love about my life, is significant for me. The gratitude journal is an easy one to complete any day, because it doesn’t take much time. I simply date each entry, write “I am thankful…” and then list at least five parts of my life I appreciate. I also try to allow myself to feel grateful as I write, so it lifts my spirit. I try to look for new ideas each day, but there are definitely some repeats in there and some days come more easily than others. If I’m really in a rush, I find that simply making a running gratitude list in my mind as I get ready for the day, also helps me begin the day with love.
  • Free Writing Journal If you’re familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you’ll recognize this as morning pages. I’ve never been able to do this every day, but it does help whenever I make time. I date each entry and write whatever thoughts come up for me. There is no specific goal for this (I’ve removed myself from Cameron’s challenge to complete three pages) beyond writing until I feel complete. This helps me to let go of the thoughts and feelings I too often hold inside, and I frequently find that the answers I’ve been seeking tend to come to me as I write. Whenever I make the choice to write freely and to write until I feel complete, I inevitably end each session feeling more hopeful than I did when I began.
  • Golden Hour I first learned of this practice here. Again, this isn’t an everyday practice for me, but the intention is to take time to reconnect with my goals and dreams, and what matters most to me. When I choose the golden hour for my morning practice, I re-write my goals each time, as writing is so powerful for me. I find that this deliberate practice allows me to reconsider my goals, making sure they still fit who I am and what I want. I also find that throughout my day, I’m much more intentional about the choices I make, trying to make more choices that align with who I want to be and how I want to live.
  • Inspirational Reading I love books, but if I don’t make time for reading nonfiction, it doesn’t happen. I love going to the library and picking up books that capture my attention or going to local thrift stores and adding inspiring books to my collection. When I choose to read for my morning practice, I try to set aside at least 30 minutes to read without distraction. Whereas I used to be focused on how much I could read in one sitting, I’m trying to focus more on walking away with a new idea to keep in mind throughout the day ahead.
  • Walking Outside I’ve never been a fan of exercise, but I do love to walk outdoors. I have to get up early for this one, so that my husband is still home with the kids, but I always come back feeling energized and eager for the day ahead. There are so many inspiring calls or classes online that I’d love to listen to, but I rarely have time to sit down and listen without distractions. I’ve created an inspirational recordings folder on my computer, so I simply move a few over to my phone each week and then listen in as I walk. I find it to be a nourishing practice for my body, mind, and spirit.

Although I have certain activities that help me begin each day with intention, not every day is a success.

Some days begin with a child needing me and the day seems to snowball from there, and it might be afternoon or evening before I realize I completely missed my morning practice. Depending on the day, I may or may not choose to take some time for one of these activities in the afternoon or evening. No matter what time of day my morning practice actually occurs, I do find that my days tend to flow more smoothly when I make the time to renew my spirit, as I’m able to handle whatever comes my way with more love and understanding.Today, I invite you to take a little time for you. What nourishes your body, mind, or spirit? What might help you begin each day as if it were on purpose? 

How will you choose to enter each day with love?

Becky McCleery is an inspired mama, writer and teacher. She spends her days caring for and growing with her three children. Beyond family, she loves connecting with kindred spirits and helping inspired authors share their message and serve more readers, so they can spark a movement that makes a difference.

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