I love mornings even though I am NOT a morning person.
Have you ever had a bad teaching day?
An unpleasant parent conference?
A student who had a meltdown?
A coworker who had a meltdown?
Maybe YOU had a meltdown?
Well, every new day is a fresh start—it’s a do-over for adults. And we all need that. How you start your day, the routine that begins the day has a big impact on the rest of it. Think of it as setting the tone for your entire day. That’s why making over your morning is so important.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Let’s use the snooze button as an example. You set an early alarm to make sure you have time for exercise, meditation, journaling, lesson planning or ________(fill in the blank). You have every intention of getting up and doing whatever you’re setting out to do when you set the alarm in the first place.
Some mornings – hopefully, most mornings – you get up when the alarm chimes and follow your plans. Then there are those days when you just can’t make yourself get up. You dread getting up and facing it all again.
Think about how the rest of those days went. Did you notice a difference in how you felt? How much did you got done in the mornings when you got up with your first alarm? Were you able to do all the things you set out to do? Did you feel energized and happy? How did those days compare to the ones when you hit the snooze button over and over again?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the mornings when you got up as soon as the alarm went off went a lot smoother. I bet you accomplished what you have planned to do, too. Chances are that sleeping through the snooze button didn’t just affect your morning, but the entire rest of your day. You set the tone for how your day is going to go first thing in the morning. That’s what the old saying about getting up on the wrong side of the bed is about.
A few simple changes can change your entire outlook. Six months ago I was struggling, tired, out of energy and was stressed every day. That stress translated to my students and sabotaged my lessons. It’s hard to motivate students to have a great day when you are the cranky teacher.
The first thing I did was to lay out all my outfits (including socks and shoes) on Sunday night. The entire week, each day on a separate hanger. No thinking or trying on clothes in the morning, no deciding what I “felt” like wearing. I decided that on Sunday when I was wide awake.
Next, I planned my breakfasts and lunches for the week. I have a protein smoothie for breakfast every morning. I am not a breakfast person (that goes with not being a morning person I think) But skipping breakfast is a path to destruction. My favorite is a scoop of strawberry protein powder, 2 handfuls of baby spinach, a handful of blueberries and about 24 ounces of water. Cram it all in a bullet and grind it up and drink on the way to work.
For lunch I have a salad of some kind (during the hot months, soup during the cool months) —three days of lunch are prepared on Sunday. On Wednesday night I prepare two more. I also pack some snacks in baggies to take with me in the morning. Each baggie has almonds, cheese sticks, and grapes/apple. Right now I am sampling a lot of mason jar salads. The quart jar holds too much salad, I just can’t eat that much in 20 minutes. The Pint jar is too small….so I use the pint jar and add a little baggie of fun to it.
My lesson plans for school are prepared for the following week every Thursday, including all the printing that needs to be done. Yes, things happen that throw me off schedule, but it is easier to deal with the unexpected when you are over-prepared. This also means that when a student is out sick and parents want the work for the following week I can pull it out easily and drop it at the office, instead of running around at the last minute.
Having the lesson plans and all the printing finished early means when I arrive to work, I have time to breathe, check my mailbox, return a few calls or just relax before the day begins. When I get home, I am relaxed, knowing that the next day is prepared.