As a mom to 3 daughters - who all experience anxiety - We have had our fair share of rough mornings over the past 16 years. We've had plenty of failures and tears and fits thrown, and I'm not just talking about the kids. I've ended up in tears or screaming into a pillow many mornings because I simply didn't know how to manage the stresses of all 3 girls getting up ready and off to school where they are stressed, worried, scared, or just sleepy. Luckily for you, I have learned a TON over those years and I want to share it with you!
Throughout my mindfulness journey and education I 've learned how much using our senses can affect our energy and our emotions. With this in mind, I thought about bringing more complete sensory experiences into the rougher times of the day - getting ready for school and bedtime. So today I want to share how I touch on using all 5 senses to help set a positive and inspiring tone for my girls to get their day started off on the right foot!
First, before we get started on the 5 senses, I wholeheartedly believe that energy is contagious and our kids and partners will feel what we feel! So first and foremost, we must take care of our selves and our energy in order to even get started! That may mean going to bed a little earlier to make sure you get enough rest so you wake up feeling good and are in a good head space. It might also mean getting up a little earlier so that you can have some time to wake up, meditate, have your coffee, scroll Instagram, whatever you want to do with your time! Just so you dont have to go straight into parenting mode!
Ok, the 5 senses:
The first thing I do is turn on all the lights! This does a few things, it really wakes you up when the light comes on. But also, if they are in a spot on the house where they can see the light pouring from the kitchen ,they will know that you are up and life is starting to bustle around the house. That is the start of that contagious energy! Now, if they are a really heavy sleeper, they might not notice anything and that is fine! The next thing I do is make sure the kitchen is tidy. Now, that doesn't mean I completely clean my kitchen in the morning! Oh no, that just isn't happening. Tidy just means it's not a complete mess. They may not notice it, but having things just basically put away is pleasing to the eye and easier to see what's going on. It also makes me feel pretty good to have the kitchen pulled together in the morning.
Do you have any vivid memories from childhood around smells? I do! I can telling you how comforting it was to smell my dad making pancakes as I rolled out of bed or my moms casseroles baking in the oven when I came home. Just something about the smells of baked food wafting out of the kitchen is the best! But let's be realistic! Not every morning is going to include baking and that's ok! I love to use candles! I light them right away when I wake up and the kitchen smells amazing even if we are just having toast or cereal! Sometimes we even get the yummy vanilla or cinnamon roll smelling candles and it's really incredible how much it makes our kitchen smell like something has been baking! Sneaky me! Another alternative is essential oil diffusers and there are tons of great options there as well! Citrus smells are uplifting and energizing and lavender and rose and chamomile are usually calming and soothing. So choose whatever you need!
There is nothing better than a soundtrack to set the tone! Some of my best memories are accompanied by music! Now the trick to this is realizing that what wakes you up and gets you motivated and shaking your booty is going to be different from what gets your kids up and motivated and booty-shaking! So take that into account as you select your music! There are so many good playlists on Spotify like Have a Great Day, Road Trip Songs, Song to Scream in the Car, etc that we love to follow, but we also made our own and you can listen to it here! The really fun and exciting (for me) thing is that lately our girls are really into classic rock like Boston, Journey, and Fleetwood Mac! We've also found that good old 50's and 60's is usually a favorite of everyone as well!
So like I said before, not every morning has to have a bunch of baked goods or fancy cooking involved, but some yummy food can make some very happy bellies! So think outside the box! Maybe you can make some smoothie popsicles or yogurt parfaits. Or throw some whipped cream or powdered sugar on top of strawberries! That feels pretty fancy and doesn't take much effort! Even a new cereal can be exciting around here! Think back to when you were a kid and what got you excited to see on the plate in the mornings? Maybe do a throwback morning and make your kid your favorite childhood breakfast!
And of course, the most important, HUGS! As soon as they come down, in their groggy, sleepy state, grab a big hug nad hold on for at least 3 seconds. Science shows that the oxytocin that is released when we get hugs greatly increases when we hold our hug for 3+ seconds. So hold on tight and enjoy that moment. Also, when you have a teenager and the hugs may be fewer and farther between, I find that this time of day is when they are most snuggly and accepting of the extra long hugs!
I hope that you found some value in this! Please let me know if you try it! It took me years to figure all this out and I'm glad I can share it with others! I hope it helps! I would love to hear from you! Also let me know if you have any methods that you use to set an inspiring and motivational tone for the morning!